I have a huge, unrelenting crush on Amal Clooney. Not only that, I have an enormous crush on her life. I want to be her.
My feelings were confirmed when I got to see her speak in person a few weeks ago. She walked onto the stage in a bright red power suit, confident and worldly. She told us about her work helping young victims of sexual slavery and Isis abuses; it moved me to tears, but she still was able to make me laugh while answering audience questions about her life.
Amal Clooney was born in Beirut, Lebanon before her family fled to Britain to escape the Lebanese civil war. She received a bachelor’s degree in law from Oxford University and a master’s degree at the NYU School of Law. During her master’s work, she also studied under Sonia Sotomayor, the future first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. Through her law career, Clooney has worked for several high-profile law firms, focusing on international law and the protection of human rights. She has defended people like the former Ukrainian prime minister, the former dictator of Libya, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. She has also worked to bring Isis fighters and perpetrators of human rights abuses to justice.
In her speech, Clooney spoke about the importance of bringing international war criminals to trial for their wrongdoings, instead of just killing them off. She also told us about her difficult work with young girls who escaped from sex slavery. I was awed by the strength of these girls, who want to speak out for justice even after experiencing horrific trauma. I was also inspired by Amal Clooney’s dedication to protecting oppressed groups; she sometimes risks her own safety to work in war-torn countries. Clooney’s words probably have such an effect on me because I’m also interested in human rights and international law, but hearing her speak would be captivating for anyone. She is a powerful force, incredibly hardworking and driven, a guardian of justice on the world stage. Her name is certainly fitting: Amal means “hope.”