Pola Cebulak

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Pola is an Assistant Professor in European Law at the Transnational Legal Studies Department of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She holds the JUDILL Jean Monnet Chair on Judges vs Illiberalism: Legal Mobilization for the Rule of Law. Her current research focus is on illiberal backlash against international courts and organizations and legal mobilization in resistance to it. Pola’s research has always revolved around the question of interaction of different legal orders in the global arena and the legitimacy of international institutions acting outside of their core competences. In the past, her research and publications have revolved around the relationship between European Union (EU) and international law, the Court of Justice of the EU and national courts as well as international courts adjudicating on politically salient issues, such as rule of law or territorial disputes.

After completing her school education in Poland (Kołobrzeg and Koszalin), Pola studied law at the Humboldt University in Berlin (2005-2010). She completed the German First State Exam with 10,36 points among the top 10% of her graduation cohort. In 2008-2009, she obtained an Undergraduate Diploma in Legal Studies at King’s College London. During her studies she also worked as a trainee at the Court of Justice of the EU, the Polish Embassy in Berlin and Clifford Chance LLP in Frankfurt. In 2010-2014, Pola was a PhD student in a double-degree Erasmus Mundus program at Université libre de Bruxelles and the University of Geneva (Global Studies Institute), with a fellowship of the European Commission. As a visiting scholar, she also followed classes in the United States (Boston University and Harvard Law School). After defending her PhD in December 2014, she stayed in Geneva working as Lecturer and Postdoctoral Researcher at the Global Studies Institute at the University of Geneva and Chair of Public International and European Law at the University of Fribourg. She has been coordinating courses on EU law in the Bachelor in International Relations and Masters in European Studies as well as the Swiss PhD School for European and International Law. In 2016-2018, she worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher  at iCourts at the Faculty of Law of the University of Copenhagen, teaching International Human Rights Law at MA level. For five years (2018-2023), Pola was a tenured Assistant Professor in European Law at the European Studies Department of the University of Amsterdam, where she coordinated the BA law major and the entire Bachelor in European Studies.

Pola has been teaching courses in European and international law in German, English, French and Dutch. Apart from her native Polish, she has been also learning Croatian, Japanese and Spanish.

Pola maintains an international academic and policy network based on her career mobility. She is a Global Fellow at iCourts, the Centre of Excellence for International Courts at the Faculty of Law in Copenhagen and associated fellow at the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance in Amsterdam. In 2020-2012, she has been a fellow in the Emile Noël Program at New York University, Law School and in the Re:constitution Fellowship. In November 2022, she was visiting at the University of Kobe with the Jean Monnet Network European Transoceanic Encounters and Exchanges. In spring 2024, she will be an Embassy Science Fellow at the Dutch Mission to the United Nations, World Trade Organisation and other international organisations in Geneva.

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