Application of volunteers

42nd, 43rd and 44th editions - 2021

Every year, many people offer their services for participation in the organization of the Jean-Pictet Competition. The Competition's Steering Group examines the offers of service and invites volunteers to complete the team, made up of members of the Committee for the Jean-Pictet Competition and representatives of organizations supporting the Competition.
The Competition covers the travel costs (train or airplane, economy class) and accommodation costs for volunteers during the Competition. Volunteers do not receive any salary, allowance or per diem.

Be aware that, in the last years, the number of applications received was several times greater than the number of successful candidates.
The Steering Group seeks to establish a balance of volunteers' profiles: gender, age, nationality, languages, professional profile, etc. In addition, applications from people involved in humanitarian field and/or in the promotion of the Competition are particularly appreciated. The Steering Group also intends to strike a balance between those who have already participated as volunteers, to facilitate the continuity of the spirit of the Competition, and those who never had this opportunity, to allow the greatest number of participants to attend. Finally, in accordance with established practice, 2023 participants are not eligible to participate in 2024 - a gap year is required between participation as a team member and return as a volunteer.
In addition, financial constraints lead us to examine in priority applications that do not entail large travel expenses, be it due to short travelling distance due to your being close to the location of the Competition or to sponsorship of the participation. Applicants willing to cover their travel costs will be particularly looked at, since we want to spend as much money as possible in supporting teams; in any case, we will pay for the full board accommodation during the Competition.

Four types of roles are sought:

1. Members of the jury (about fifteen persons sought for each edition)

Judges evaluate the teams in the first phase and the semi-finals. Being a member of the jury requires:

  • - an excellent level in international humanitarian law, if possible with particular expertise (humanitarian, military, governmental, judicial...);
  • - to inform us of any conflict of interest, real or perceived, with a team or institution sending a team, thus allowing us to not assign you in the same group as this team;
  • - to play roles in the simulation, while evaluating the teams;
  • - to demonstrate rigor, impartiality and integrity in the evaluation of teams;
  • - to follow the instructions given by the organization in the simulation;
  • - in the week following the end of the Competition, to finalize a report on two or three teams, following the template made available by the Administrator of the Competition.
Apply if you love international humanitarian law and are willing to spend several consecutive days listening to and interacting with teams. Do not apply if law bores you or if you hate doing several things at once.

2. Tutors (ten to fifteen persons sought for each edition)

Tutors assist the teams on all non-legal aspects (see Rules 12 and 16 of the Competition Rules). Being a tutor requires:

  • - listening and observation skills, allowing one to perceive all the aspects of the dynamics of the tests;
  • - an ability to manage debriefings with teams, possibly with a high emotional load and dissension within the teams;
  • - to be prepared to renounce without regret any discussion with the teams on the legal aspects of the tests;
  • - to be able to accept that the performance of the teams is theirs, not yours, while doing everything possible to help the participants to progress;
  • - to inform us of any conflict of interest, real or perceived, with teams or institutions, thus allowing us not to assign these teams to you;
  • - within one week of the end of the Competition, to finalize a report on the four teams assigned to you, following the template provided by the Administrator of the Competition.
Apply if you are more interested in learning than in international law itself, ready to attend events during the day and conduct debriefings during the evenings, possibly up to a late hour. Do not apply if you are a nerd of law or if you prefer to talk rather than listen. Note that you must provide proof of your experience in coaching people. Having participated in the Competition is not enough  on the other hand, experience of leading a team in a professional context is an asset - even if, as a Picteist, you are no longer in the field of law at the moment.

3. "Petits-Bras" (two to four persons sought for each edition)

In the terminology of the Competition, "Petits-Bras" organize the rooms, ensure the correct orientation of the participants and have the heavy task of distributing the documents to the teams. Being "Petit-Bras" requires:
  • - a high degree of accuracy on the timing of distribution of the documents and the documents to be distributed;
  • - an ability to anticipate logistical problems and to interact clearly and positively with other persons involved in the organization;
  • - an ability to establish good contacts with the members of the organizing team and the participants;
  • - an ability to manage stress in “peak” times;
  • - a special attachment to punctuality and confidentiality;
  • to inform us of any conflict of interest, real or perceived, with teams or institutions, thus allowing us not to assign these teams to you.
Apply if you like to work with high peaks, with moments of stress cut off from calmer periods. Do not apply if you are disorganized, ever late or cannot manage your stress.

4. Members of the "kitchen" (about six persons sought for each edition)

In the terminology of the Competition, the members of the kitchen are the persons who prepare the case and all the documents necessary for the tests. Being a member of the kitchen requires:

  • - an excellent level of knowledge in international humanitarian law, and more generally public international law and other relevant branches, both from a theoretical and a practical point of view;
  • - a perfect command of English or French, preferably with a knowledge of the other language sufficient to enable you to understand a legal text, for the 42nd and 43rd editions;
  • - extreme rigor in writing and proofreading documents and in the management of documents; - a total absence of conflict of interest, real or perceived, with a team or the institution of origin of a team;
  • - absolute respect for confidentiality;
  • - to be ready to work under pressure up to twelve or fifteen hours a day, with total availability, in an atmosphere that can be noisy, joyful or intense, depending on the moment - largely renouncing to meet the contestants until the last day of the Competition;
  • - to work within a team and be able to put aside the emotional aspects that may affect the work; to participate in some virtual meetings in the weeks preceding the Competition, in order to organize the work of the kitchen.
Apply if you are willing to give all your energy for a week in an unforgettable atmosphere. Do not apply if you like to sleep a lot or party during the evenings, or if you planned to finish your PhD just during the week of the competition.

Important: if you are an ICRC staff, it is essential to contact the focal point for the academic circles in Geneva to find out how to participate, either as an official representative of the ICRC, or as part of your annual leave without ICRC funding.