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An Interview with Haviva Yesgat, Foreign Law Intern

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Today’s interview is with Haviva Yesgat, a foreign law intern working with Foreign Law Specialist Tariq Ahmad at the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress.

Haviva Yesgat standing in the great hall of the Library of Congress.
Haviva Yesgat is a foreign Law intern at the Law Library of Congress. Photo by Kelly McKenna

Describe your background.

I am a first-generation Canadian born and raised in Montréal, Québec, Canada. My family is originally from Ethiopia. Due to my upbringing I have the privilege of speaking four languages fluently: English, French, Amharic and Hebrew.  

What is your academic/professional history?

 In 2016, I earned a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, where I majored in marketing and minored in communication studies. During my time at McGill University I had the opportunity to take political science courses in Florence, Italy, at Università degli Studi di Firenze. After the completion of my first undergraduate degree I decided to pursue further studies in law at Université de Montréal, where I recently earned my Bachelor of Laws. In addition to learning about the Canadian legal landscape, I was able to spend a summer semester studying at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. This provided me with a unique opportunity to learn about international and comparative law. In the fall I will commence my studies in preparation for the Québec bar examination.  

How would you describe your job to other people?

Working as an intern for the Global Legal Research Directorate entails many different responsibilities. The Law Library of Congress receives requests from the United States Congress, federal agencies, public organizations, and individuals. Under the supervision of Tariq Ahmad, I draft reports regarding various legal issues. My work has focused primarily on Canada and particular countries in South Asia. Tasks and legal topics can therefore vary from day to day, which keeps my job very exciting! As an intern I am also provided with an opportunity to contribute to the Law Library’s blog, In Custodia Legis, and the Global Legal Monitor. 

Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?

The Law Library of Congress offers an exceptional opportunity to interact with a diverse group of legal experts. Working here allows me to learn about different legal jurisdictions through both independent research and conversations with like-minded individuals. I strongly believe that such a collaborative and intellectual environment will help shape me into a more qualified jurist. Moreover, as an avid reader, I could not pass on the opportunity to work at the world’s largest library! Living in Washington, D.C., for the duration of my internship offers abundant opportunities. The city is home to fascinating museums and monuments. Working on Capitol Hill also enables me to attend important congressional hearings.  

What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?

I have been able to witness the wealth of valuable and quality resources available to legal specialists and other staff at the Law Library. As an intern I was even able to visit the Library of Congress’s African and Middle Eastern division to explore my personal interests. A reference specialist, Fentahun Tiruneh, and the Hebraic specialist, Dr. Ann Brener, cordially showed me many of the rare and impressive Ethiopian and Hebraic works housed at the Library of Congress.  

What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?

I’ve always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon. It’s the next item on my bucket list!

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