Today’s interview is with Mohammad Qadamshah, an intern with the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress.
Describe your Background
I am from Afghanistan. My family is originally from Mazar-i-Sharif, Balkh province. They have always encouraged me to pursue higher levels of education. I completed my primary education in Iran. I returned to Afghanistan to continue my education because Afghan students were barred from Iranian schools in 2003. I then joined the Sharia Law faculty of Balkh University. I completed my B.A. in Sharia Law and during my studies participated in the 2012 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court competition in Washington D.C. Upon graduating in 2012, I started working as a regional coordinator for LESPA (Legal Education Support Program for Afghanistan—funded by the U.S. Department of State).
The trip to Washington D.C was a turning point in my life—I was offered a scholarship to pursue a Master of Laws (LL.M.) at the University of Washington, School of Law. In June 2014 I completed my LL.M. in Asian and Comparative Law with a major focus on comparative constitutional law. Moreover, I had the chance to be trained as a mediator at the University of Washington mediation clinic.
How would you describe your job to other people?
It is really a new experience. I am learning new things not only about Afghanistan, but also about different legal jurisdictions. Here I have the opportunity to work on different requests and issues such as immigration and national military service. Sometimes it is very hard to find a law in a jurisdiction. While the legal information services back home are not that good, it has exposed me to how all this goes on.
Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?
Actually for a fresh graduate, especially coming from Afghanistan, it is an excellent opportunity to work in one of the world’s largest libraries and be among highly qualified legal specialists and analysts. Every day is a new experience for me. You can find information about different jurisdictions very easily. This is also an enormous opportunity for me to learn from my colleagues, particularly on issues I’m interested in such as government and electoral systems. This is indeed what I was expecting from the Law Library of Congress.
What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?
From the very first moment I found the people here are really friendly and collaborative. Whenever I have a question they have always been open to giving me time. More importantly, it is a place that motivates a person to do more and build on whatever he/she has done or achieved.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
One thing that I think none of my co-workers know about me is that I am married and have three daughters—Mahnaz, Gulnaz, and Farahnaz. The first two are twins, three years of age, and the last one only one year old.