When your life falls apart, when everything you’ve ever worked for slips away through no fault of your own, your true strength is revealed.
World Refugee Day is a chance for us all to reflect on the lives that have been affected by conflict, along with providing inspiration and hope in their journeys.
For Majd Moubayed, a Syrian refugee from Damascus, the conflict in her homeland threatened her future. Today, Majd is coming to the end of her internship at Microsoft’s Corporate and Legal Affairs team, as an intellectual property lawyer in the Digital Cybercrime Unit (DCU).
Having previously graduated in law from the University of Damascus – Majd opted to pursue her studies in France in 2009 obtaining master’s degrees from the University of Paris in International & European law as well as on International privacy law & international trade law.
Majd’s ambitious dream was to return to Syria and to play her part in improving the Syrian legal system, as well as setting up an international law firm there. But everything changed with the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in March 2011.
Unable to stand on the sidelines, Majd soon became actively involved in support of the revolution sharing her opinions on social networks and participating in political demonstrations and other peaceful activities in France against the Syrian regime.
“In June 2014, after I received my second master’s degree, I was forced to deal with the reality of not being able to return to Syria”, she explains. “Requesting asylum in France was my only choice and it was at this moment, that I truly felt that I had lost everything… I had lost my country, my dreams, and my ambitions”.
Majd goes on to explain how difficult this period was for her not knowing what to do with her life. Putting her professional life on hold, she worked for a while in a restaurant to earn her living until she finally got herself back on track starting an internship with a law firm specialising in immigration law. “Life goes on despite enormous difficulties” she affirms defiantly.
So how did Majd find her way to Microsoft? Her journey began by participating in an event last year called “Being a Syrian legal counsel in France” – a networking event between Syrian lawyers and other lawyers in France..
As luck would have it, the event was also attended by Helena Pons-Charlet from the DCU at , who inspired by some of the Syrian stories, promptly proposed two six-month internships with Microsoft’s legal team in Paris Microsoft . After a successful application, Majd joined the France team in October 2016 on the internship programme, following on from another colleague Leen (also from Damascus).
Since joining, Majd has found working at Microsoft to be a rich and diverse experience: “I have learned a lot and am still learning thanks to a great professional and personal experience”.
In terms of specific learnings since joining the company, and as her internship draws to an end, Majd calls out how much she has learned on intellectual property, data protection, cybersecurity as well as Microsoft agreements and contracts particularly following a week spent with the company’sUK team. Majd adds that “Above all I learned more about myself and my capacity, I improve my strengths and I work on my weak points”.
“I now know what I want to do with my life. I have discovered that I would like to be an in-house lawyer rather than work in a law firm. I have also discovered my passion for technology and cybersecurity”.