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CGJ Summer Intern Update: Olga Pazilova

I have been interning in Sofia, Bulgaria, with the Rule of Law Institute for several weeks now and it has been an amazing learning experience. I have had the chance to work with international clients, research laws and cases, attend legal events, and hear cases in the Supreme Court of Bulgaria.

But the most unforgettable and valuable experience was an annual conference held by the Rule of Law institute that I attended last weekend. This year’s conference was held in the beautiful city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city and the European Capital of Culture of 2019. The topic was “Rule of Law and the Truth,” and the main agenda was to discuss and share opinions on how Christian truth should move the behavior of legal professionals in their practice.

The best part was that I didn’t just attend the conference; I was one of the speakers. The panel included a lot of great speakers, including judges, lawyers, professors from Bulgaria, a pastor from Canada, and attorneys from the United States. It was a huge honor to be on a panel with so many knowledgeable and experienced speakers.

Because I am Russian, my supervisor wanted me to incorporate some examples of Russian legislation in my speech, as he thought it would be interesting to give the audience a view on the subject from an international prospective.

In my presentation I discussed how in most legal cases determining who is right or wrong and which party has a truth on its side is never “cut and dried.” Usually, each side has some truth in their argument that is usually supported by law, and it is up to the court to decide which argument is stronger. As an example I talked about a few cases from the European Court of Human Rights brought against the Russian government where the applicants claimed to be discriminated based on their religion. I examined both sides of the argument and explained how the government’s actions could be justified in certain situations.

My speech received a great feedback and engaged the audience in further discussion. I was told I presented a very interesting and unusual point of view on that subject. It definitely gave me a great boost of confidence since I don’t have a lot of experience with public speaking.

The overall experience was great. I saw a beautiful historical city, met legal professionals from other countries, heard different views on this interesting subject, presented my own point of view, and practiced my public speaking skills.

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student intern.  The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.