Judge, International Criminal Court.
Former Commissioner and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, African Commission on
Human and Peoples' Rights.
Former Professor of Law, University of Benin.

Reini Alapini-Gansou

I would characterize my personality as "stubbornly resilient." My professional life has grown out of this resilient nature and the help I received from others along the way, but it was not a small task. When I was young, my biggest challenge was how to achieve my goals while my parents were unable to contribute financially to my education. Slowly, I succeeded. This long journey of challenges started from my secondary school throughout the university before I became a lawyer and now a judge. I relied on my hard work, dedication, and inspiration from others. Today, I can look back and say with pride that I have done my part for my community and Africa. As a judge at an International Court, and with the same determination and conscientiousness, I will do my best for the world. Everyone can come to the summit when you believe in your capacity. As I look at my experiences, I can say that I have put in a lot of work, but I was never afraid to ask for help if needed. I never gave up even when I failed; I always started again. I know that professional working women are often overwhelmed. But I learned from my experience as former Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa that networking is vital for keeping one connected, focused, and visible. You must find the right networks and contribute to it as much as you draw out of it.

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Institute for African Women in Law (c) All rights reserved.