Valeria Vázquez Guevara is a Ph.D. candidate at Melbourne Law School, and a member of the Institute for International Law and the Humanities, both at the University of Melbourne.
Valeria’s research is concerned with how law, through its particular forms, ‘works’ after violent conflict, and what sort of post-conflict society it shapes, especially in the global South. Her thesis aims to understand the relationship between truth commissions and (modern) international law, and how this relationship informs the problem of ‘living together' after violent conflict. The analysis focuses on four truth commissions: Uganda (1974), Argentina (1983), Chile (1990), and El Salvador (1992). This research draws on fieldwork in Latin America, and it is primarily informed by the theory and histories of international law, especially Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL), legal theory and cultural studies. Valeria’s research builds on her personal and professional experiences in the non-profit sector in Spain and the Basque Country, El Salvador, and South Africa.
Valeria holds an M.A. in Peace Studies from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame (USA), an M.A. in Sociology of Law from the International Institute for the Sociology of Law (Spain), and an LL.B. from the University of Granada’s Faculty of Law (Spain).
Although over five years have passed since I completed my master’s at the IISL, the ‘Oñati experience’ remains as one of the most influential in my life.
At the IISL, I not only made long-lasting friendships (I also met my husband there!), but I also received world-class training in socio-legal research and critical legal thinking. The ‘Oñati experience’ offers a unique and valuable space for young researchers and professionals to think hard and deeply about social problems they care about, and contribute to address them through rigorous socio-legal analysis.
Personally, the intellectual environment that the IISL fosters, helped me to able to ask questions about how law and its institutions operates in the aftermath of violent conflict. Now that I’m in the final year of my PhD, I can say that without the friendships, training and close mentorship that I received at the IISL, I would have not found an exciting field of research, and enjoy the research process as much as I do.
Over the years, the IISL staff and librarians (Susana, Ainhoa, Rakel, Ainhoa, Elvira, Mantoni and Malen) as well as most of my former professors have become friends and close mentors (shout-out to Adam Czarnota and Joxerramon Bengoetxea!).
I can say that the IISL is always, and will always be, an intellectual home to come back!