John (Chang Yong) Gee
Seoul, South Korea - International Bridges to Justice
This summer, I worked with International Bridges to Justice (IBJ), a legal non-profit situated in Geneva, Switzerland. IBJ works to provide better legal rights to everyone across the globe with three main objectives in mind: that every citizen can get competent legal representation, to protect everyone from cruel and unusual punishment, and to ensure that everyone gets a fair trial. IBJ has numerous offices all around the world from Syria to China to Zimbabwe. This summer, I was assigned to work specifically with the Cambodia office. Originally, according to my plans and my project proposal, I planned on working closely with Mr. Ouk Vandeth, the country manager of Cambodia. Mr. Vandeth has been with IBJ since 2007 and has been in charge of running the operations of Cambodia. Initially, my summer project was going to revolve around helping Mr. Vandeth launch an app in tandem with Change++ at Vanderbilt. The app was going to be a sort of Tinder for the justice system. A platform where clients and lawyers could reach out to one another and help the However, the first week into the summer, Mr. Ozanian, my supervisor informed me that IBJ was going in a different direction with the app. He let me know that with COVID, Cambodia’s focus and resources had to be funneled towards ensuring that the Cambodia office could stay afloat and receive the necessary funds to operate effectively. In turn, he requested that my efforts be shifted towards grant proposals. I was initially put in charge of cross referencing and analyzing spreadsheets and documents to make sure that Mr. Ozanian’s information and Cambodia’s information was matching. Once that was done, I helped in drafting and editing the draft proposal. The draft proposal, if approved, will ensure that Cambodia’s office will receive the adequate funding necessary for them to operate seamlessly. At the end of the summer, I found myself having focused more on the logistical aspects of Cambodia’s project rather than working on the app as I had originally anticipated. This change combined with working from home and dealing with the time difference certainly made for a very different experience than what I had planned for. However, all in all, I still found the summer to be meaningful and productive.