LL.M. Class of 2012
Erick Antonio Acuna Pereda (Peru)
Mr. Acuña obtained his law degree (with honors) in 2010 from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. In 2011, he earned a scholarship from the Human Rights Centre of the University of Chile for the Post Graduate Diploma in Human Rights and Women: Judicial Strategies for Incidence. Mr. Acuña worked for three years at the Institute of Democracy and Human Rights of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (Idehpucp), where he developed academic reports, publications, and projects with institutions like Oxford University, the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education and the College of the Americas, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, among others. He also worked as a teacher’s assistant in international law courses and the Human Rights Master’s Program at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru Law School. During his undergraduate studies, Mr. Acuña participated in the National Human Rights Moot Court Competition (first place team) and the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition (semi-finalist team). In addition, he worked as an intern at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. He is currently a researcher for the Peruvian Working Group of the Ibero-American Network of Experts on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Xiomara Cecilia Balanta Moreno (Colombia)
Ms. Balanta is a lawyer and a full-time research professor at the University of San Buenaventura Law School in Cali, Colombia. She is also a researcher with The Racial Discrimination and Afro-Colombians’ Rights Watch of the University of Los Andes, Colombia. She obtained a Master’s in Human Rights and Democracy in Latin America at the Universidad Andina Simon Bolívar, Ecuador. Ms. Balanta is recognized as an activist against racial discrimination in Cali, having worked with the Center for Justice and Action against Racism, Cimarron National Movement, and the Foundation Santamaría for Transexual Women in Cali. Ms. Balanta is a recipient of a scholarship for the LL.M. program from Racial Discrimination Watch and the Ford Foundation.
Marianna Belalba Barreto (Venezuela)
Ms. Belalba earned her J.D. from the Andrés Bello Catholic University in 2007, followed by a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Human Rights in 2008. She participated in the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition at American University in 2006, coached the team in 2007, and judged the Francisco Suarez, S.J. Competition in 2007. She received the Outstanding Performance in Extra-curricular Activities Award in 2006. Ms. Belalba worked as a volunteer at the Jesuit Refugee Services in Guasdualito, Venezuela in 2006, where she provided legal assistance to refugees and asylum seekers in Venezuela, promoted awareness of human rights and the right to asylum, and researched refugees’ access to work in the region. She participated in the Specialized Summer Program at the Academy of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, American University, Washington D.C, in 2007, before joining the NGO “Espacio Publico” as the Coordinator for the Promotion, Defence, and Public Action Program until 2011. Ms. Belalba’s work at “Espacio Publico” focused on freedom of expression and the right to information in Venezuela, and included organizing workshops, presenting petitions in the Inter-American Human Rights System, and providing legal assistance to victims of human rights abuses.
Adriana Caicedo Trujillo (Colombia)
Ms. Caicedo Trujillo earned her J.D. from the Pontifical Xavierian University, Colombia. During her studies, she interned for one year in the Human Rights Office of the Colombian Presidency, where she analyzed cases litigated before the Universal and Inter-American System of Human Rights. In June 2007 and 2011, Ms. Caicedo Trujillo received two scholarships to attend the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Washington, D.C. She also participated in the Francisco Suarez, S.J. Moot Court Competition on International Law and Human Rights (2006) and the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition at American University (2007), and has since served as a Judge of these competitions. From 2008 until 2010, she worked in a local NGO “Fundación País Libre,” giving legal advice to victims of kidnapping and forced disappearance. Ms. Caicedo also worked as an assistant professor at the Pontifical Xavierian University. From September 2010 to 2011, she worked as a Rómulo Gallegos Fellow in the Executive Secretariat of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, D.C.
Antonio Rafael Campos Olivero (Guatemala)
Mr. Campos earned his law degree from the University of Landivar, Guatemala, in 2010. He has worked for several government and non-governmental agencies as a lawyer and legal consultant, and has served as a pro bono lawyer for marginalized populations in Guatemala City. He has also worked as a legal consultant on several post-civil war human rights cases in Guatemala, including assisting indigenous war victims with accessing reparations.
Bahareh Ebrahimi (Iran)
Ms. Ebrahimi earned her LL.B. degree from Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran, in 2005 and was admitted to the Iran Central Bar. She worked with two private law firms (Mehdi Zadeh) and earned her LL.M. in international law from University of Tehran in 2008. Ms. Ebrahimi worked as a legal advisor for a private bank (Saderat) in Tehran from 2009 to 2011.
Reyam Ali Mostafa El-Molla (Egypt)
Ms. El-Molla received her LL.B. degree, English Section, from Ain-Shams University in 2008 and was admitted to the Egyptian Bar Association in 2010. Ms. El-Molla worked as a lawyer for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), an independent Egyptian human rights organization that promotes and defends the personal rights and freedoms of individuals. Later, Ms. El-Molla interned with the International Advocacy program at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS). Ms. El-Molla has also been actively involved with CISV, an international, volunteer, non-profit NGO that promotes for peace education and cross cultural friendship.
Mahmoud Hazzaa (Egypt)
Mr. Hazzaa earned his law degree at Ain-Shams University in 2007. He was an associate in leading law firms in the Middle East in the fields of international commercial arbitration and corporate consultation for two years, where he gained broad legal experience with special focus on environmental law, labor law, oil, and gas. Mr. Hazzaa then joined Africa Middle East Refugee Assistance (AMERA), an NGO that provides legal and psycho-social assistance to asylum seekers and refugees. As an advocate for persons seeking legal residence status, Mr. Hazzaa assisted in the first case brought before Egyptian courts to contest the deportation order of refugees from Darfur. With the substantive knowledge he gained at AMERA, Mr. Hazzaa became a consultant for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) regarding the Southern Sudanese referendum. His responsibilities at the IOM entailed extensive work with the Southern Sudanese communities in Egypt and training of referendum officials on the law and safeguards of the referendum process, as well as assisting as a liaison between the Egyptian, Northern Sudanese, and Southern Sudanese authorities. Most recently, in May 2011, Mr. Hazzaa volunteered with the Egyptian Initiative For the Prevention of Corruption, where he helped research campaign finance law reform.
Ida Mary Nakiganda (Uganda)
Ms. Nakiganda earned her LL.B. from Makerere University, Uganda, in 2001. She succesfully completed her Diploma in Legal Practice in 2002 and became an advocate of the High Court of Uganda in 2005. Ms. Nakiganda has been an employee of the Uganda Human Rights Commission for eight years, advancing from research assistant to Director of Complaints, Investigations and Legal Services (CIL). Ms. Nakiganda’s specializations include investigation of human rights violations and resolution of human rights complaints through alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and tribunal processes. She has also been actively involved in projects at the Commission aimed at enhancing access to justice for women, children and persons with disabilities through the provision of legal aid services to grassroot communities.
Sarah Nasrullah (Pakistan)
Ms. Nasrullah earned her B.A./LL.B. degree from Lahore University of Management and Sciences (Pakistan) in 2008 and was admitted to the Punjab Bar Council in 2009. She spent the following year working as a transactional lawyer before switching to litigation, where she primarily worked on constitutional cases. Ms. Nasrullah also worked part time as a teacher’s assistant at Lahore University for commercial law, civil procedure, and legal writing. Ms. Nasrullah’s research experience includes working as a research associate for the Asian Development Bank’s “Access to Justice” Program, where she helped compile a policy document explaining the need for consumer protection legislation in Pakistan, and assisting a Queen’s University PhD candidate research the efficacy of Pakistan’s Protection of Women Act. Ms. Nasrullah is the recipient of a scholarship for the LL.M. program from the Fulbright Foreign Student Program.
Aline Niyonteze (Rwanda)
Ms. Aline earned her LL.B. from Kigali Independent University (U.L.K.), Rwanda. After graduation, Ms. Aline worked for a USAID funded project supporting justice reform in Rwanda. She then joined the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Rwanda, working in the Legal Advisory Service for Human Rights. Her responsibilities included receiving petitions from citizens regarding human rights violations and directing their grievances to the competent authorities. She also advised her department on different legal steps the administration could take to support and facilitate the resolution of grievances brought by citizens before the Ministry of Justice. Ms. Aline has been a member of the Rwandan Association of Women’s and Children’s Rights, and the Rwandan Association of Young Lawyers. After graduation, she plans to return to Rwanda and continue working for the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Justice.
Perseo Quiroz Rendown (Mexico)
Mr. Quiroz obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in law from the Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas A.C. (CIDE), in Mexico City. He was admitted to practice law in February 2008. For the last two years, Mr. Quiroz worked for Sin Fronteras I.A.P., where he led the Human Rights Defense area, litigating strategic cases in migratory and refugee law before Mexican courts. Before joining Sin Fronteras, Mr. Quiroz was an associate at Chadbourne & Parke S.C., where he specialized in international commercial arbitration and civil and commercial litigation. Additionally, Mr. Quiroz was a faculty member of Panamericana University’s School of Law and coached the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition team. Mr. Quiroz is the recipient of a scholarhsip for the LL.M. program from the Fulbright Foreign Student Program.
Macarena Rodriguez Atero (Chile)
Mrs. Rodriguez obtained her law degree from the Catholic University of Chile in Santiago. After finishing her studies, she worked for five years as an assistant at a legal aid clinic based in one of the oldest and most overcrowded prisons in Santiago. Since 2003, she has been in charge of the Legal Aid Clinics at Alberto Hurtado University in Santiago. During her seven years at the university, she has created legal aid clinics for economically disadvantaged people, including immigrants, the homeless, sex workers, and other minority groups. An area of great interest to her is the situation faced by immigrants in Chile, particularly the fundamental rights of undocumented immigrants. In 2009, together with the Open Society Foundation, Mrs. Rodriguez established an office for access to public information in order to promote awareness and use of this important right that allows civil society to monitor government acts and prevent corruption. She is a member of the Global Alliance for Justice Education (GAJE).
Priscila Cynthia Rodriguez Bribiesca (Mexico)
Ms. Rodriguez, earned her law degree from Marist University in Mexico City in 2001. For nine years, she worked with the Mexican Center for Environment Law (CEMDA), leading the Strategic Litigation Program and defending social and environmental rights litigation against infrastructure projects such as dams, highways, and toxic landfills. In 2007, Ms. Rodriguez was selected to participate in Columbia University’s Human Rights Advocate Program (HRAP). She also served as a legal consultant for the World Bank “Assistance Project for Carbon Financing.” In 2008, Ms. Rodriguez interned at the Center for Justice and Inter-American Law (CEJIL) in Washington, D.C. She also attended the Women Leaders in Management Leadership Program at the Center for Development and Population Activities’ (CEDPA) in Washington D.C. In 2009, Ms. Rodriguez worked with the Mexican Congress and a select group of lawyers to create the Federal Law on Class Actions in Mexico. In 2010, Ms. Rodriguez founded the NGO “SAKBE, Communication & Defense for Change.” She directs SAKBE’s Strategic Defense Program based in Washington, D.C., developing strategies to litigate high impact cases before the Inter-American System of Human Rights in order to change policies and practices violating the rights of vulnerable groups in Mexico. Her publications include “Strategic Litigation in Mexico,” published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and “Access to Environmental Information” in Mexico’s Right To Know Reforms: Civil Society Perspectives, published by the University of California’s Woodrow Wilson Center.
Lerato Thulo (South Africa)
Ms. Thulo completed his Bachelor of Art degree in 2005, majoring in both law and politics. She thereafter received an LL.B. in 2007. Ms. Thulo worked with a corporate firm where she was exposed to public interest litigation concerning civil and political rights and socio-economic rights. She thereafter spent six months with the Legal Aid Board doing criminal defence work for juvenile offenders. In 2010, she served as a judicial clerk at the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Ms. Thulo is an admitted attorney and currently works as an associate specializing in labor law. Ms. Thulo is the recipient of a scholarship for the LL.M. program from the Constitutional Court Trust of South Africa.
Georgina Vargas Vera (Mexico)
Ms. Vargas obtained her law degree from León Iberoamerican University in 2009. During her studies she was member of the University Program of Human Rights. In 2008, she worked with imprisoned persons in Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, concerning violations of their civil and political rights. She later worked with the NGO “Hermanas Mirabal” where she addressed domestic violence and women’s rights. In 2010, Ms. Vargas interned at the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) in San Jose, Costa Rica, where she focused on the situation in Honduras and the fulfillment of the precautionary measures granted by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. After returning to Mexico, Ms. Vargas worked on gender issues at an NGO called “Victoria Diez” and helped prepare information for a shadow report for presentation to the CEDAW Committee. She also addressed femicide in Mexico and gave presentations about femicde and the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Yiyi Wang (China)
Ms. Wang recieved her law degree from Lanzhou University of Technology in Gansu, China in 2011. During law school, she interned at the Fang Yu Xi Tao Law Firm of Lanzhou. Prior to that, she interned at the Zhong Lun Law Firm where she focused on cross-border transaction cases.