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A Career in Law

Organized by: Hulya Kosematoglu

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Since 2011, there has been a Civil War in Syria, a neighbor of Turkey. The refugees that ran away from the war zone found protection in Turkey. As a result, I saw poor Syrians everywhere I went, and there were tons of controversies going on about these people, who were left without a home. This affected me and I started asking questions about the rights of these people. Who were these people? Why were they here? What are we supposed to do? What is the right thing to do? After doing some research I saw that Turkey is following a different policy with the Syrians. Turkey signed the Convention on the Status of Refugees in 1951 but this convention had geographic limitations. The Turkish government was only required to grants refugee status and the right to asylum to “people, who have become refugees as a result of events occurring in Europe.” That is why Turkey was allowed to follow a different path with Syrians by recognizing them as “guests” and not as “refugees.” This one word difference has a life threatening meaning on these people. They cannot register with UNHCR and the Turkish Government has the right to make the decision to deport Syrians at any time. This new policy and the protection principles Turkey follows concerning these people made me curious and eager to learn more.

Last summer, after seeing all my work my family took me to see a Syrian Refugee Camp at Nezip. At this camp I saw and met people, who were lacking both hope and identity. I met children, who weren’t able to go to school and get an education because they couldn’t prove their age. These people had to give up their dreams. In this camp my personality and my ideals changed forever. In the past, I always wanted to be a lawyer because I was interested in human rights, and justice but at that moment it was more than that. I wanted to help these people by understanding their legal rights. I want to pursue a career in law because I want to help Syrians and other refugees like them understand their rights. As a lawyer, I want to work towards protecting these rights and give these people a better future. As a result, I decided to found a volunteer summer program, called “Give a Hand” to further my understanding in human rights, specifically rights of the war refugees. I talked to the rector of the Hasan Kalyoncu University, a university near that Syrian refugee camp in Nezip. I convinced the board of the university to give lectures about the rights of the war refugees during the program. This summer students from all around the world and I are going to able to attend these lectures and volunteer at the refugee camp, improving their living conditions and helping them understand their rights as much as we can. I want to bring students to this camp because I want to raise awareness in the world about this subject starting one step at a time.

Even though I am ambitious to be a lawyer I need more information about this career and requirements for it. That is why this summer I applied to a summer program by Envision, called Law and Trail. Intensive Law & Trial, in collaboration with Stanford Law School, provides high-achieving high school students with an exciting and interactive experience exploring the field of law, as well as being introduced to the many law careers available. This generous program gave me 750USD of scholarship but I need more financial assistance. I'm a dedicated student and leader, and have taken many different steps to further my education -- this being one of them. If you donate, not only are you investing in America, you are investing in the future, you are taking a chance on young girl who really needs someone to take a chance on her. I would be humbled if you could help me reach my goal.

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Hulya Kosematoglu

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