Middle East Studies

At Harvard Law, MES alumnus Julian Jiggetts '16 works on social justice issues

Where in the world are you - and what are you working on?

I’m currently in Cambridge, Massachusetts studying at Harvard Law School. In addition to classes I’ve been lucky enough to get involved in a group called the Harvard Defenders, working as a student attorney representing low-income clients in criminal hearings. I’ve also gotten involved in Harvard’s Islamic Legal Studies Program and have been able to research and study different applications of sharī’a law across the Middle East.

How have you found that your education at Brown, and specifically your MES concentration, has informed your work and the way you approach it? 

Brown helped me to realize that there is very rarely one side to an issue or problem, and that one of the most effective ways to problem solve is to look at an issue from a perspective different from your own. That couldn’t be more relevant than in today’s climate, when the importance of diversity in thought and opinion seems to be consistently challenged. Especially as an MES concentrator with close friends and experiences in the Middle East, much of the rhetoric surrounding immigration has encouraged me to learn how I can help people to understand their rights and feel equipped to exercise them.

Now a graduate with experience in the "real world," what advice would you have for current students at Brown and specifically at Brown MES?

Take time to explore! Invest yourself in interesting classes and engage in what you’re passionate about (or might be!). Getting involved in diverse experiences and academic fields is a great way to help you get to where you want to be. For me as an MES concentrator, that meant exploring different aspects of Middle East history, language, culture, and using that as a lens through which I approached my study. Crucial to that was studying abroad! My advice would be to pick a country and culture that fascinates you and spend a summer or semester there!

What might be next for you?

I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store! I’ll be spending my summer in Boston doing corporate litigation and transactional work, and hope to continue getting involved in social justice lawyering around the community.