Old Boy Omar Harduwar (2016), pictured front centre, has joined forces with a group of fellow University of Queensland Law students to tackle wildlife trafficking. As part of a new international university course, The University of Queensland Law School has partnered with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to develop university modules on wildlife, forest, and fisheries crime. The group joined their counterparts from the Universities of Vienna and Zurich to trade knowledge and ideas and meet some of the endangered animals they’d be working to save. Below is a recollection of Omar’s experience so far.

International law is certainly an area of our degree that interests many budding lawyers, but often something we very rarely can interact with in our studies and careers in general. So, when the opportunity arose to research, present and prepare a paper on transnational organised crime in Vienna, it seemed like a no-brainer to me.

After a few introductory sessions, trawling through endless sources and getting tips on presentation techniques, the seven of us jetted off to Vienna to present our findings in front of colleagues from the other side of the world. Not knowing what to expect, a lot of us were quite nervous.

The nerves quickly melted away when we met the other students from the University of Vienna and University of Zurich at a local bar for a meet and greet. There was definitely a feeling from that first beer that the week was going to be one we would not forget – both academically and for the friendships we would forge in such a short period of time.

The week combined the perfect mix of student presentations, informal outings and listening to guest lecturers from the likes of the UN Organisation on Drugs and Crime and Austrian Customs. We were immensely fortunate to have access to some of the leading professionals in the field and being able to ask them questions that related to our individual topics was definitely a highlight.

I think the overwhelming consensus was that the highlight was a visit to the Schönbrunn Zoo – the oldest in the world. We were given a tour of the big ticket animals and gained invaluable insight into how Schönbrunn also has a big role in conservation and rehabilitation of wildlife.

Our trip to Austria was undoubtedly an adventure I will never forget. We managed to achieve so much in a single teaching week; we met new people from across the world, learnt from leaders in the field and enjoyed the wonderful sights and scenes of beautiful Vienna.

Omar has also recently co-authored a paper that was published in the Reuter’s Criminal Law Journal. The paper looked at reform of s320A in the Queensland Criminal Code which relates to Torture.