Attending the 5th Asia Pro Bono Conference as a student was a wonderful learning opportunity. As a university student, the general learning process is conducted through textbooks and lectures. It is not often that students have opportunities to learn first- hand or are given the opportunity to be exposed to the progressive work that is making a difference in the world. From the moment I arrived at the conference, there was a feeling of excitement for the days ahead. It was particularly engaging because many of us were asked to actively participate by volunteering for the event. Involving the attendees in this manner gave the attendees a sense of ownership in the process. The organisers made it clear that whether it’s a conference, or a community, if you instill a sense of ownership, people will be more involved and engaged.
From this experience I learned from experts which included attorneys, professors and others, but was also inspired to learn more about what’s going on and what the solutions maybe in other countries. Meeting people from across the region and worldwide including Australia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, and listening to their stories of the issues they are dealing with in their own countries encourages me to want to understand and know more. After being a part of this movement, I return to my country not with an idea of separation from the world but with a feeling of global unity. We are a world made up of human beings who have universal human rights, not independent entities that are on their own.
It is important to keep this movement alive. As I continue my studies and work towards a career in law, this experience has helped me realize the importance of Pro Bono work. I hope to share my experiences with others and encourage them too. I would like to return as a professional when I finish my studies.
I think that this conference is important for the Asia Pro Bono Movement. The conference allowed for networking and building connections with others which is vital to the expansion of the movement in my opinion. The conference offered new ideas and innovative ways of examining important issues. We each have are own stories and they are part of what leads us all in the direction that we take in life, along the way we can find places to share our stories. The Asia Pro Bono conference was one of those places. I am grateful to those who shared their stories and thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this movement.
By Chrissy Clark, Law Student: Missouri Western State University, USA