Dorian Jamal Cool (Class of 1995), International Law

Dorian Jamal Cool (Grade School Class of 1995) recently graduated from law school at University of San Francisco, where he qualified for the honors International and Comparative Law certificate. Jamal is particularly passionate about international criminal law in the context of societies transitioning from mass atrocity events, and looks forward to a career in both litigation and policy formation in this rapidly evolving legal area. 

Jamal returned to law school in his mid-twenties after founding and running a small software company. Although he initially planned to pursue business law, his first summer of law school in Europe (at Trinity University in Dublin and Charles University in Prague) piqued his interest in international law. Being in the middle of the EU, he found himself working with peoples who have quarreled for centuries and yet are working to create international legal mechanisms to deal with issues of governance. As a former Waldorf student living in Ireland with its history of myth, poetry and storytelling and in Bohemia, and Moravia, “a hotbed of German romantic philosophy”, he found this work especially compelling. He observed many connections between the way he learned at SFWS and the flexible and creative way that he had to approach the evolving field of EU law. 

After a year of focusing on international law in his coursework, Jamal travelled to Cambodia for a summer internship. In Cambodia, he studied the genocide by the Khmer Rouge and worked with a law firm representing the victims during Phase II of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, a joint effort between the United Nations and Cambodia. He returned again after his third year and worked at the Office of the International Civil Party Lead Co-Lawyer. With influences including the French colonial and United Nations systems of justice, Jamal was exposed to a fusion of legal systems that have come together to govern these criminal proceedings. Upon returning to the US he spent a year researching and authoring two papers concerning the transition in theory and practice from the Nuremburg trials after World War II through the Yugoslav and Rwandan tribunals to prosecutions focused on details and specific crimes in Cambodia. 

Since graduating from law school Jamal has been working with the Sam Mazza Foundation in the Bay Area, as well as building his portfolio on international criminal law. He sees this as a rapidly evolving legal area because so many different regions and cultures have to agree on standards and process. “It’s an interesting field because the traditional model is based on the Nuremberg trials, which we’ve been trying to modify, but it’s not really working. There is a lot of interest now in regional or national solutions. Countries don’t want us to go in and arrest their leaders and take them to The Hague, but instead they want to do it themselves. Unfortunately, most countries who have suffered these events don’t have the skill or resources left to prosecute criminal regimes effectively. There is room for international advisors and cross-pollination. There is a lot of movement.” 

Jamal expresses appreciation for the ways that hisWaldorf education taught him how to think. He learned different skills from each of his teachers. “I remember Allegra Alessandri, my middle school teacher, responding to my question of, ‘Why do you read the Bible if you are not a Christian?’ with the answer, ‘Because sometimes you have to understand how other people think.’ That has helped me in Cambodia even though I didn’t understand it at the time. When everyone speaks different languages and is influenced by different cultures, this lesson provided skills for the peacemaking compromises I was assisting. 

“At Waldorf we learn so many different things by looking at different perspectives – Norse, Greek, Roman, Indian. It is great introductory empirical analysis of all the different ways to approach questions. I give Waldorf a lot of credit for instilling in me the importance of creative and inventive thought — knowing to ask ‘is this the right question?’ rather than ‘is this the right answer?’ Rarely is there THE answer, and thinking that there is often makes one overlook a fundamental piece of the overall context.”