Ihasan Aljaber (Iraq)
Ihasan Aljaber obtained his LL.B. from Shat Al-Arab University School of Law in 1998. He has been practicing law in Iraq since 1998, with a focus on refugee law and human rights law. From 2011 to 2013, he worked as a Protection Associate in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in southern Iraq. His time at the UNHCR introduced him to the agency’s work on refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons and stateless persons. Since 2013, he has been working as a Human Rights Officer in the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), tasked with monitoring and reporting on human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL) in southern Iraq. Both positions have exposed him to the complexities of human rights law and IHL as implemented in his home country.
Catherine Anite (Uganda)
Catherine Anite received her LL.B. in law from Makerere University in 2009, and a post graduate diploma in legal practice from the Law Development Centre, Kampala in 2010. Her focus as a human rights advocate is in freedom of expression and freedom of the media. From 2012 to 2015 she was Chief Legal Officer at the Human Rights Network for Journalists in Uganda, where she represented journalists, pursued policy analysis, and spearheaded advocacy campaigns on behalf of journalists and other media practitioners. Ms. Anite was selected by Advocats Sans Frontiers and the East Afrcan Law Society to participate in a human rights defenders project in East Africa and the Great Lakes Region, and served as a senior judge at the International Media Law Moot Court at the University of Oxford. In 2014 Ms. Anite received a Mandela Washington Fellowship from the U.S. State Department.
Soheir Asaad (a Palestinian citizen of Israel)
Soheir Asaad received her LL.B. from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has practiced law since 2013. She worked as an adviser on women’s rights issues within the office of Haneen Zoabi, a member of parliament, with a focus on Palestinian women citizens of Israel and employment, violence against women, and political representation. Previously she worked in Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, where her work included citizens’ rights to peaceful protest, defending Palestinian political leaders against political persecution, challenging laws that violate freedom of expression, pursuing accountability for state violence, and detainees’ rights. She will study at Notre Dame to further her research into questions concerning human rights, international law, and the co-optation of the rule of law by modern states as a means of controlling unprivileged groups. Ms. Asaad is also a Palestinian political and social feminist activist in several youth and women movements. Ms. Asaad is the recipient of a scholarship from the prestigious 2015-2016 Fulbright Foreign Student Program.
Rina Badal (South Sudan)
Ms. Rina Badal earned her LL.B. from the University of Khartoum, Sudan, in 2002, and passed the Sudan Legal Profession Examination in 2007. She worked as a teaching assistant for several years before joining the Sudan Ministry of Justice in 2010 as a legal counsel. After the separation of South Sudan, Ms. Badal was briefly employed by the Ministry of Justice in Juba, South Sudan, and then joined the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in 2013 as an Associate Legal Officer at UNMISS Legal Affairs Unit. In this capacity, she is continuously involved in legal research and analysis, drafting and reviewing a wide range of documents and assisting in providing legal opinion and advice to the Mission in support of the UNMISS mandate which is currently focused on protecting civilians, monitoring and investigating human rights, creating the conditions for delivery of humanitarian assistance and supporting the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.
Regina Castro Traulsen (Mexico)
Mrs. Castro Traulsen obtained her law degree from Universidad Iberoamericana in 2009, graduating with honors. She also holds a Diploma in Civil and Commercial Procedural Law and in the Writ of Amparo from Universidad Panamericana, where she graduated top of her class in both post graduate programs. She also completed the certification required in Mexico’s Federal Judicial System to draft constitutional resolutions. Her previous professional experience consists of working as a legal intern and as a lawyer in civil and family litigation. Since 2012 she has been a law clerk in Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice. Mrs. Castro Traulsen is the recipient of a scholarship from the prestigious 2015-2016 Fulbright – García Robles Foreign Student Program.
Julio Copo Terrés (Mexico)
Mr. Copo Terrés earned his law degree from Universidad Iberoamericana in 2010, and is currently a candidate for a master's degree in administrative law at Universidad Panamericana. While in law school, Mr. Copo Terrés volunteered with TECHO, a Latin American, youth-led non-profit organization seeking to overcome urban poverty; he later became legal director for Mexico as well as implementer and general manager for Panama for this NGO. Since 2011, in addition to working as an administrative and life sciences lawyer in Basham, Ringe and Correa, Mr. Copo Terrés was administrative coordinator for Basham Foundation and is currently vice chairman for the Mexican Bar Foundation for the promotion and rendering of legal pro bono services.
Alia Fardi (Syria)
Mrs. Fardi completed her Law Degree in 2008 at Damascus Law University. During her years of study she volunteered with the Syrian Red Crescent to further the promotion of human rights. After graduation, she worked with the Syria Tourism Police Project in Damascus, where she assisted in training projects, and then with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR, where she was a Refugee Status Determination Officer in Syria and Egypt. Her duties included adjudicating the application of human rights law in the assessment of asylum seeker claims and assisting asylum seekers and refugees who were triggered for exclusion because of potential contributions to international or serious crimes. Recently, she volunteered for Lawyers without Borders Canada in their defense of victims of human rights violations in the Middle East.
Audace Gatavu (Burundi)
Audace Gatavu obtained his law degree from the University of Burundi in 2009. He began his human rights career in the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Bujumbura as an intern and worked for local organizations in promoting and protecting human rights in Burundi. In 2012, he joined the Burundi Bar Association and worked as a pro bono human rights lawyer. He was named a 2012 JusticeMakers Fellow, one of a worldwide "community of the best and brightest agents in the field of legal reform." Mr. Gatavu completed a research fellowship at the International Center For Not-For Profit Law (ICNL) in Washington, DC on the legal enabling environment for civil society in Burundi and frequently participates in regional and international conferences on shaping civic space. He is a co-founder of the Burundi Young Lawyers Association.
Linda Manaka Infante Suruta (Venezuela)
Ms. Infante, of the Baniva peoples of Venezuela, earned her law degree Summa Cum Laude from the Universidad de Carabobo. She continued her studies in human rights at the Deusto University in Spain, and in criminal law at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. Ms. Infante has a particular interest in the rights of indigenous peoples, representing victims of human rights abuses before national courts and international human rights mechanisms, including both the Inter-American and United Nations systems. She has worked with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland; the United Nations Development Programme in Venezuela as an Adviser in Justice and Human Rights; and the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), where as a legal coordinator Ms. Infante participated in the investigation and prosecution of complex cases of organized crime. She has taught law at both the Universidad de Carabobo and the Universidad Central de Venezuela. Ms. Infante is the recipient of a scholarship from the prestigious 2015-2016 Fulbright Foreign Student Program.
Karolina Kiskyte (Lithuania)
Ms. Kiskyte obtained her LL.M. from the University of Vilnius in 2014, researching the penal regulation of human trafficking in Lithuania, its characteristics and future prospects. During her internship at the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius she assisted diplomatic efforts to combat against trafficking in persons. Ms. Kiskyte participated in the Erasmus Socrates Program and studied European Union law at the University of Umea in Sweden. She was an active member and the director for public relations of the European Law Students Association in Vilnius, where she organized many conferences and other events focused on criminal law issues. Ms. Kiskyte was an intern in the Vilnius Regional Prosecutor’s office, and has worked as an assistant atorney of criminal law.
Raman Maroz (Belarus)
Raman Maroz obtained a university diploma in Political Science and European Studies from Montesquieu University – Bordeaux IV and his law degree from Belarusian State University, graduating with honors. Additionally, he studied human rights law at the European Youth Centre (Strasbourg, France) and the Institute for Human Rights of the Åbo Akademi University (Turku, Finland). His previous professional experience includes lecturing on law at several educational institutions. Since 2014, he has worked at the Constitutional Court of Belarus, reviewing the conformity of national legal acts to international obligations, taking part in activities of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) and drafting a national report for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Raman Maroz is the recipient of a scholarship from the prestigious 2015-2016 Fulbright Foreign Student Program.
Kevin Mialoundama (Congo)
Kevin Fabrice Mialoundama received his degree in private law from the Universite Marien Ngouabi, the only public university in Congo, in 2011. During his studies he joined a student association with members from different backgrounds, serving as a secretary in charge of communication and outreach. He has worked with many lawyers on different projects around human rights-related issues as they occur in Congo and elsewhere. Mr. Mialoundama is committed to studying international human rights law to support the promotion and respect of human rights alongside government and civil society actors at the national and international level. Mr Mialoundama is also a member of the Young African Leaders Initiative Network, a platform of young people from different sub-saharan african countries who, under the supervision of the US government, shape strategies designed to develop youth leadership and meet the challenges that young people are facing. He is the recipient of a scholarship from the prestigious 2015-2016 Fulbright Foreign Student Program.
Pokuaa Ngo-Bakam (South Africa)
Ms. Ngo-Bakam obtained her law degree in 2012 at the University of the Witwatersrand. She also holds a B.A. in International Relations and Law, and a post-graduate Diploma in Law from the same university. In the course of her education she interned at the South African Human Rights Commission and worked as legal adviser at the Wits Law Clinic where she advised and represented indigent clients. Ms. Ngo-Bakam was also selected as a youth representative by the Elders (Chaired by Kofi Annan) to attended the CNN, Time, and Fortune Global Forum where she spoke on issues affecting Africa. Because of her keen interest in human rights and constitutional law, she was appointed as a legal research clerk at the Constitutional Court of South Africa where she clerked for Justice Jafta and Acting Justice Tshiqi.
Nwe Nwe Lwin (Myanmar)
Nwe Nwe Lwin obtained her LL.B. from City University of Hong Kong School of Law in 2013 with a semester exchange study at Monash University, Australia. She worked as a legal consultant and a co-trainer specializing in participatory law making and human rights with non-governmental organizations in Burma, and led migrant education and protection projects at Suwannimit Foundation near the Thailand-Burma border. She also undertook an academic research project examining the implementation gaps of existing labor law and the structures impacting Burmese agricultural migrant workers in Thailand. Ms. Lwin is the recipient of a scholarship from the prestigious 2015-2016 Fulbright Foreign Student Program.
Nadiehezka Palencia Tejedor (Colombia)
Ms. Palencia obtained her law degree at the University of Cartagena in 2011. Her dissertation concerned international criminal law as it relates to paramilitary crimes in Colombia, and led to volunteering as a lecturer at a national organization involved with human rights defense. Since 2013, she has worked with her government’s project for transitional justice with The Unit for Restitution of Lands and The Unit for Attention and Reparation to Victims, both of which are dedicated to reparations of victims affected by the domestic conflict. Her commitment to gender and racial discrimination issues earned her the opportunity to study abroad on a scholarship from the Racial Discrimination Watch. This organization is an initiative supported by two entities, namely the Universidad de los Andes and Dejusticia, a leading human rights organization based in Bogota.
Marcella Ribeiro D’Avila Lins Torres (Brazil)
Ms. Torres earned her B.A. with distinction from the Federal University of Paraíba in 2014. She represented her school at the XVII Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court, winning second place. During law school, she developed educational human rights activities in ‘favelas’, assisted public defenders with judicial demands aimed at enforcing the right to health and adequate housing, and did voluntary social work in Colombia. She was financed by the Brazilian government to research the right to development in the Inter-American Human Rights System and was part of the Study and Research Center on Environmentally Displaced People. After graduation, she completed a Professional Visit at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and did an internship at the Colombian NGO and think tank, Dejusticia.
Luis Enrique Rosas Luengas (Mexico)
Mr. Rosas earned his law degree from the Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas A.C. (CIDE) in 2013. From 2009 to 2012 he worked on strategic human rights litigation at the law school's public litigation clinic, and was selected to intern at the Supreme Court of Mexico in 2012. That same year, along with other colleagues, he founded “Semillas de Justicia,” an NGO focused on strategic human rights litigation. He served as a research assistant at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University during 2013. In 2014 he served as a staff attorney at the Federal Commission of Antitrust law in Mexico leading research against economic cartels. In 2015, he worked as an intern at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Mr. Rosas is a 2015-16 Rita Bahr Scholar.
Sandhya Sitoula (Nepal)
Ms. Sitoula received her LL.B. from the Kathmandu School of Law in 2008, and an LL.M. in Human Rights and Gender Justice from the same institution. She was granted a Humphrey Fulbright fellowship in 2013-14 and was placed at the University of Minnesota Law School where she studied trafficking in persons, prevention and policy. As the Legal Fellowship Program Coordinator at South Asia Women's Fund, a regional level organization, she worked with women lawyers to identify areas of critical work and engagement. She has done internships at Advocates for Human Rights at Minnesota and Safe Horizon, a New York-based NGO working on the issue of domestic violence. She is currently a Program Coordinator at the Center for Legal Research and Resource Development in Kathmandu, coordinating all field activities related to the Combating Trafficking of Persons Project, conducting research to raise awareness of trafficking issues, and leading training sessions for organizational field staff.
Michael Talbot (United States)
Mr. Talbot received his J.D. from the University of South Carolina as well as a B.A. from the Catholic University of America and an M.A. from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. From 2007-2010, he served with the U.S. Peace Corps in The Gambia, West Africa, working in public health and community development. In 2012, he was a summer fellow at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where he defended low-income clients undergoing eviction and foreclosure. He currently works as a research associate for Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs and volunteers as a mediator for the Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program at the Center for Community Justice in Elkhart, Indiana. He is a member of the South Carolina Bar.
Johanna Villegas Perez (Ecuador)
Ms. Villegas obtained her law degree summa cum laude from San Francisco de Quito University in 2013. As an undergraduate she represented her school at the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition and at the “Yachay” Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Competition. Additionally, in 2014 she obtained a master’s degree in international relations at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO). She has been involved in human rights topics as an intern for the National Democratic Institute and as a consultant for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Ecuador and for the Ministry of Justice, Human Rights and Religious Affairs. Since July 2013 she has worked as an attorney for the Legal Aid Clinic at San Francisco de Quito University. Ms. Villegas is a 2015-16 Rita Bahr Scholar.
The J.S.D. Program
Fatimah Alshehaby (Saudi Arabia)
Fatimah Alshehaby received her B.L. in 2010 from King Abdul-Aziz University, and her LL.M. from SUCL, Syracuse, New York in 2015. She has worked for Jazan University as a teaching assistant in international law, and was honored by CALI for excellent achievement in the study of the American Legal System. As a human rights activist in Saudi Arabia, her focus is on women's and children’s rights. Her current doctoral research centers on human rights violations and the emergence of terrorism in the Middle East. She will investigate political and civil rights, and economic and social rights, in the Middle East and the problems which resulted from the emergence of terrorism during the Arab Spring.
Pablo Gonzalez Dominguez (Mexico)
Mr. Gonzalez earned his LL.B. from Universidad Panamericana in 2009 (Aguascalientes, Mexico), and his LL.M. with Certification in International Human Rights Law from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2011 (Washington, D.C.). While studying his first law degree Pablo studied a Specialization in Advanced Social, Economic and Political Studies by the Phoenix Institute in 2007 (Notre Dame, Indiana). In Notre Dame he has worked as Research Assistant at the Center for Civil and Human Rights in projects focused on comparative constitutional studies, international law, and human rights. During the last year and a half he was a Visiting Scholar at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (San José, Costa Rica), and at the Legal Research Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Mexico City, Mexico). His doctoral studies focus on the implementation of international human rights norms and standards by municipal judiciaries, with a regional focus on Latin America.
Andres Lopez (Colombia)
Mr. López earned his LL.B from the Universidad del Rosario in 2009 (Bogotá, Colombia) and his LL.M. in International Legal Studies with certification in International Human Rights Law from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2013. After his first law degree Andrés studied a Specialization in Administrative Law in Colombia at the Universidad del Rosario, graduating in 2011. Mr. López worked in a boutique Law firm in Bogotá where he devoted himself to research and litigation in Colombian administrative and constitutional law. He also worked at the International Legal Affairs Office of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs where he collaborated in the treaty negotiation and ratification process, and taught “International Public Law” at the Universidad del Rosario Law School. His doctoral studies focus on the relationship between business and human rights as a mechanism of poverty reduction in developing countries.
Pier Paolo Pigozzi Sandoval (Ecuador)
Mr. Pigozzi earned his LL.B from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (2006) and his LL.M. in International Human Rights Law, magna cum laude, from Notre Dame Law School (2010). Mr. Pigozzi has worked with refugees in Ecuador at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and at the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and conducted several workshops and conferences on international refugee law, human rights, and constitutional law. He has, in addition, lectured on the refugee definition within the Cartagena Declaration at Universidad San Francisco (Quito). His J.S.D. research area is the transformation of the Latin America tradition on human rights in the recent constitutional modifications of that region.
Samuel Tilahun Tessema (Ethiopia)
Mr. Tessema earned his LL.B degree from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, in 2006 and his LLM in Human Rights and Democratization in Africa from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, in 2008. He also received a diploma in the International Protection of Human Rights from the Institute for Human Rights of the Abo Akademi University, Finland, in 2010. From 2006 to 2007 he worked as a Graduate Assistant at the School of Law of Mekelle University where he also worked as a Lecturer from January to August 2009. In September 2009 he joined the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights as a Professional Legal Assistant and from 2010 till August 2014 he has been working as a Legal Officer assisting the African Commission’s Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities.