Zoha Shahid

Zoha Shahid, a student at the School of International Law in Islamabad, Pakistan, recently participated in this year’s Jean Pictet Competition which was held in Georgia. In this blog entry, she recounts her experience as well as that of her team, and their key learnings.

When dream became a reality

They say you can’t express the “Pictet experience” in words – we have come to find this to be very true. As we sit here to write about our experience, a thousand memories rush back to us which can’t be expressed in words. We have nevertheless tried to encapsulate a life-changing experience in this piece.

When we applied for the Jean Pictet Competition, none of us had expected that one day we will be sitting amongst 48 highly knowledgeable teams from five continents. This dream became a reality when on 30th November 2016 we were chosen as one of the teams that would travel to Borjomi. With the support from the ICRC in Pakistan, we paid our registration fee for the Competition and geared up for what would be an opportunity of a lifetime.

The teams were tested on different aspects of IHL, Human Rights Law and Public International Law.©ICRC


Inspiring people from various walks of life

Arriving in Georgia was a completely different experience and a few minutes into the bus ride to Borjomi we had already started making friends. The Opening Ceremony felt surreal as we found ourselves among inspiring people from various walks of life – all driven by the common aim of serving humanity.

The next few days were packed with training sessions on the working of the ICRC, on cyber-attacks and IHL, among other themes. Our tutors introduced us to mock tests and other aspects of preparing for the Competition. Simulation exercises were organized to test us on different aspects of IHL, Human Rights Law and Public International Law. Each simulation – as part of which we would either represent the ICRC, different Ministries, or law firms – was more challenging than the previous one. It kept us on our toes throughout, in anticipation of what would follow.

We were ecstatic to have made it to the last day of the competition. The team from Buenos Aires was announced winners as the Competition came to a close. Exploring Borjomi had been fun too as we hiked all the way up to the Hot Springs. Before we realized, it was time to leave. The week had flown right by us and we were now part of a whole new Pictet family. It is this uniqueness of the Pictet experience that we will cherish always.