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Young scholar set to fly the Unisa flag high on international platform

Mutondi Mulaudzi is a young and emerging scholar in the Department of Public, Constitutional and International Law at Unisa.  Since joining the university, she has demonstrated a keen research interest.

Before Unisa, Mulaudzi was an intern at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner, an Open Society Foundation Fellow, and a Bertha Justice Fellow. Recently, Mulaudzi was selected to participate in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Judicial Fellowship Programme. Sharing her sentiments, she says: “I feel so honoured and privileged to have been selected amongst so many great scholars of law from around the globe. It goes without saying that this is going to be an experience I will never forget. I am super excited and still pinching myself a little because I almost can’t believe it.”

Mutondi Mulaudzi

While Mulaudzi can’t believe that she is recognised as one of the best scholars in law globally, Professor Olaotse John Kole, Acting Executive Dean of the College of Law, says: “The College of Law is extremely impressed with the strides she has made since joining the institution and we felt that she would be an excellent candidate for the fellowship.” He explains that the college was particularly impressed with her achievements in community engagement and academic citizenship in 2021.

Mulaudzi has participated in legal scholarship and activism through her collaborations with public interest organisations by consulting, writing, and advising on emerging legal developments in South Africa. She was also appointed as an assistant editor for the Southern African Public Law Journal and since joining she has tirelessly worked on and improved the journal. In 2022, she developed and launched the Public Law Corner, which is a blog of the journal. She has also made strides in her PhD and is dedicated to human rights and the development of international human rights law.

What is the ICJ Judicial Fellowship Programme?

Kole explains that the ICJ invited applications from eligible universities around the world for the 2022-2023 Judicial Fellowship Programme (formerly known as the University Traineeship Programme). The programme was established in 1999 to enable recent law graduates to gain professional experience working at the ICJ. It aims to improve participants’ understanding of public international law and of the court’s procedures by actively involving them in the work of the court and allowing them to build on their experience under the supervision of a judge.

The court normally accepts up to 15 participants per year from various universities across the world. Mulaudzi was nominated by the College of Law to apply for this programme and the court selected her to participate in its Judicial Fellows Programme for 2022-2023. The ICJ expects universities to submit nominations of candidates who have shown excellent results in their legal studies and who have demonstrated an interest in public international law through their studies, publications and/or work experience. 

Kole says: “The College of Law is very proud that Mulaudzi was selected to participate in this prestigious programme. We are confident that she will gain knowledge and enhance her professional skills from this wonderful opportunity.” He added that he hopes that Mulaudzi will gain great insight into the workings of the court and that she can apply her experience in her research, teaching and community engagement projects. “The insight she will gain is unmatched and we look forward to seeing how she will grow after her participation in the fellowship,” explains Kole.

Asked what she hopes to learn from the opportunity, Mulaudzi says: “I have a great passion for human rights and justice. Being at the ICJ will afford me the opportunity to see what this looks like on a global scale. The experience I gain will undoubtedly influence my research. It will also have an impact on my teaching and the practical knowledge I will impart to my students.”

Kole asserts that Mulaudzi deserves the fellowship, “She continues to make the College of Law proud through her achievements. We cannot wait for her to wave the Unisa flag in the Hague.” Mulaudzi agrees. “I intend to fly the Unisa flag the best way I know how: By killing it. By working hard and doing good work, I will leave a good impression of both me and the institution,” she concludes.

*By Tshimangadzo Mphaphuli, Senior Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2022/05/05