Leke Batalli (Kosovo)
Leke Batalli received his law degree at the University of Prishtina in Kosovo. During his studies he participated in international competitions, including the Philip C. Jessup Public International Law Moot Court. He has proven himself as a young leader in Kosovo, serving as the Vice President of the Youth Council of the U.S Embassy in Kosovo. In addition, he has worked as a research assistant at the most prominent think-tank in Kosovo, the Group for Legal and Political Studies. For the last six months he was working for one of the members of the Parliament at the German Parliament, as a recipient of the German Parliamentary Scholarship. He is the recipient of a scholarship from the prestigious 2017-2018 Fulbright Foreign Student Program.
Hugo Carrillo Vega (Mexico)
Hugo Carrillo Vega obtained his LL.B. from Universidad de Monterrey Law School in 2015, and obtained his master’s degree in Business Law at the Universidad de Monterrey and Panthéon-Assas University in 2017. Since 2011 he has been practicing administrative and human rights litigation, and also specializes in public tenders and the enforcement of administrative contract. He is now chief of administrative and human rights in the law firm where he practices, taking part in trials throughout Mexico. He has challenged diverse laws in Mexico and his trials have created jurisprudence that recognize and strengthen human rights in Mexico. His latest cases have been heard by the Supreme Court.
Agostina Noelia Cichero (Argentina)
Agostina Cichero obtained her law degree from University of Buenos Aires in 2014, graduating with honors. She also holds a Diploma in Design and Evaluation of Public Policies from Pompeu Fabra University. While in law school, she participated in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Competition, as well as the Jean Pictet International Humanitarian Law Competition, and attended Columbia Law School as part of an exchange program. In 2016 she started working as legal adviser to the Secretary of Human Rights of the Province of Buenos Aires, focusing on the development of public policies on prisoners’ rights. She is also a Junior Lecturer and researcher at University of Buenos Aires, and the recipient of a scholarship from the prestigious 2017-2018 Fulbright Foreign Student Program.
Mitchell DeBeer (South Africa)
Mitchell DeBeer obtained his LL.B. degree in 2014 from the University of the Witwatersrand, graduating at the top of his class. As a student he volunteered at human rights legal organizations in his hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa and sat on the editorial board of a student law journal. Thereafter he completed practical training to become an attorney in a commercial firm. In 2016 he was a law clerk for Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Most recently he has worked for a Cape Town-based NGO litigating cases regarding the right to well-located affordable housing, and campaigning for an end to spatial injustice in the City.
Laura Cristina Dib Ayesta (Venezuela)
Laura Cristina Dib Ayesta earned both her law and bachelor of liberal studies degrees from the Universidad Metropolitana (UNIMET) in 2016. During college, she interned at the firm Consultores Jurídicos Ayala, Dillon, Fernández, Linares & Chavero and after graduating worked as a junior lawyer there, where she prepared individual complaints and requests for precautionary measures before international treaty bodies in some of the most emblematic cases of human rights violations in Venezuela. As a student, she presided over the Society of International Law at the UNIMET and co-founded an organization called Apoyo UNIMET to assist and defend students arbitrarily detained during the demonstrations against the government. In 2017, she did an internship at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, working for the Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression.
Montana Duangprapa (Thailand)
Montana Duangprapa earned her LL.B. in Law from Thammasat University in Thailand in 2005, an M.A. in Environmental Security and Governance from the University for Peace, Costa Rica in 2013, and an M.A. in Global Politics from the Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines, in 2014. Montana has served as a legal officer at the ENLAWTHAI Foundation (EnLAW) in Bangkok, providing legal aid, and has fought environmental rights abuses through legal advocacy, counseling for human rights defenders and communities, and capacity building for young public interest lawyers. She also volunteers and assists with legal support for others human rights activists, researchers, and the Human Rights Lawyer Project of Thai Volunteer Service Foundation. Montana is currently alumni for Asia Peacebuilders Scholarship (APS).
Nizar El Fakih (Venezuela)
Nizar El Fakih earned his law degree from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB), Caracas, Venezuela in 2010, and holds an LL.M. in Public Law (2014) and an LL.M. in Constitutional Law (2015) from the same university. While in law school he helped organize students to oppose governmental policies of repression and censorship, and in 2010 joined the UCAB Center for Human Rights, focusing on use of the judicial system as a political apparatus for repression. In 2015, he founded a human rights NGO, Proiuris, based in Caracas. He has been a consultant to several human rights organizations and committees of the Venezuelan Parliament on various issues relating to human rights. He was the co-recipient of the Amnesty International Award 2015 and received the special mention of the 2015 Annual Human Rights Award of the Government of Canada. He has litigated before the Inter-American and the Universal System of Human Rights. Mr. El Fakih is a 2017-18 Rita Bahr Scholar.
José González (Guatemala)
José González obtained his law degree from the Rafael Landivar University. In 2010 and 2011 served an internship at the Guatemalan offices of Lawyers Without Borders Canada (LWBC), and from 2012 to 2017 worked for the Bufete Jurídico de Derechos Humanos, a Human Rights Law Firm based in Guatemala. Throughout the years he has been involved within the firm in the domestic and international litigation of cases related to gross human rights violations committed during armed conflict, freedom of speech, and the legal defense of human rights defenders, activists, lawyers, and indigenous and community leaders in Guatemala.
Salvador Leyva (Mexico)
Salvador Leyva earned his law degree from the Universidad Marista de Mérida, Yucatán, México, in 2014. During law school, he worked as a legal intern within the Poder Judicial de la Federación, Poder Judicial del Estado, y Procuraduría General del Estado. He also was a member of Equipo Indignación, Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos. In 2014 he did a professional visit at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. In 2015 he was the attorney of La 72, Hogar-Refugio para Personas Migrantes in Tabasco, Mexico, where he handled cases related to asylum seekers and crime victims. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, Mr. Leyva was a Rómulo Gallegos Fellow at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in the Admissibility Group.
Yeukai Nyasha Debra Mahleza (South Africa)
Yeukai Nyasha Debra Mahleza received her LL.B. from the University of Limpopo in 2014. She served her articles with Legal-aid South Africa, where she litigated in both criminal and civil cases and was admitted as an Attorney in 2016. In mid-2016 she joined the Constitutional Court of South Africa as a Law Researcher to the Chief Justice of South Africa, where she has dealt with cases relating to social justice, public interest and judicial independence, and has done extensive research in particular cases including assisting the Chief Justice with international human rights work.
Julie Kemunto Matoke (Kenya)
Julie Kemunto Matoke received her LL.B. in law from Kabarak University in 2013, a post graduate diploma in legal practice from The Kenya School of Law in 2014, and was admitted to the bar in 2016. Her focus as a human rights advocate is in forced migration (refugees and stateless persons). Her previous professional experience consists of working with various law firms and a local non-governmental organization in Kenya that is a partner of the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR). Ms. Matoke was awarded The Earnest Fellowship on Human Rights protection where she had an opportunity to be a senior research fellow on discrimination and refugees. Julie is the recipient of a scholarship from the prestigious 2017-2018 Fulbright Foreign Student Program.
Anastassiya Valeryenva Miller (Kazakhstan)
Anastassiya Valeryenva Miller obtained her law degree from Kazakh Institute of Jurisprudence and the International Relations in 2007, graduating with honors. She focuses on strategic litigation nationally and internationally, and is a human rights trainer and specialist in the area of public control. Since 2006 she has worked with The Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law (KIBHR) as a lawyer, and since 2011 has been head of the regional branches of that NGO. She is a member of the national preventive mechanism, monitoring closed facilities and preparing reports and analytics concerning torture in her country. In 2015 she held an internship in Germany at the Institut für Ostrecht, conducting research on various human rights issues in Post-Soviet union countries and drafting conclusions for the court.
Monalisa graduated from National Law University, Delhi in 2013. She works on the intersection of gender and labor rights in India, focusing on unorganized women workers engaged in global production processes, understanding ‘skill’ as interpreted for women workers, and ground-based research to understand inequalities in the workplace. She works with communities to create sustainable models of community based legal aid clinics, holding gold medals in legal aid and community outreach and alternative dispute resolution. Other areas of interest include access to social security, social protection in an era that has moved away from the welfare state models, and understanding accountability of non-state actors in the global production process including application of international human rights standards to domestic work places. During law school Monalisa headed a UNDP-Government of India "Access to Justice" project.
Natasha Nyirongo (Malawi)
Natasha Nyirongo obtained her LL.B at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa in 2012. She worked for a South African law firm for a year thereafter. Her focus areas are refugee law, women, disability and child rights. She has worked on a project with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refuges (UNHCR) as an Eligibility Exemption Officer. She is employed by the Ministry of Justice as Senior State Advocate where she has been focal in establishing the Human Rights Section. She has heavily participated in the amendment of the Malawi Constitution in respect to child age. She is intensively involved in the drafting of State party reports and defending them at United Nations and African Commission level.
Viviana Ordoñez Salaza (Colombia)
Viviana Ordoñez Salazar obtained her law degree from the Pontifical Javeriana University in 2011. Her focus as a human rights advocate is in freedom of expression and access to public information. From 2015 to 2017, she worked at the Office of the Special Rapporteur of Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights as a lawyer responsible for drafting technical concepts on precautionary measures and monitoring the situation of freedom of expression in the countries members of the Organization of American States (OAS). From 2013 to 2015 she worked as legal adviser at the Colombian NGO "Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa (FLIP)". She also completed an internship at the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia. (MAPP/OAS). Ms. Ordoñez is a 2017-18 Rita Bahr Scholar.
Mary Pergola Parent (United States)
Mary Pergola Parent earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and Theatre from the University of Notre Dame. She worked for years in the Television News and Film Industries. Intrigued by documentaries and news stories of injustice, she pursued a law degree and earned her J.D., magna cum laude from Ave Maria School of Law. Currently, Mary teaches Law and Film: Images of Justice in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre. She explores the competing concepts of justice in movies, documentaries and newscasts. Her work explores jurisprudential themes, and the fictional portrayal of civil rights, human dignity, and murder. She spotlights the various perspectives of what is considered crime and punishment in different societies and cultures around the world.
Dorottya Pedryc (Hungary)
Dorottya Pedryc studied law at Pázmány Péter Catholic University (PPCU, Budapest), graduating with summa cum laude in 2014. During her studies she spent a semester studying American freedom of religion at Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland). Since graduation, she has worked for Office of the Ombudsman (Hungary) as a legal advisor, promoting and protecting the interest of future generations. She has also been conducting doctoral research in the contemporary challenges of refugee law. Between 2014 and 2016 she taught European Law at PPCU and was a visiting scholar at KU Leuven (Leuven, Belgium). There she conducted research on the principle of non-refoulement and lectured at Human Rights Clinic. Recently she volunteered at the Thai-Burmese border working for the legal empowerment of Karenni refugees.
Abdul Naser Rahmani (Afghanistan)
Abdul Naser Rahmani received his law degree from American University in Kabul, graduating as valedictorian. He worked as administrative officer of the law department for American University and taught legal writing at that institution. He participated in the Vis Middle East International Commercial Arbitration Pre-Moot in Jordan, and Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Vis Moot) in Hong Kong, serving as coach for the AUAF Vis moot team the following year. He received the first position in the Model United Nations in the history of AUAF. He has written a justification paper for the amendment of law to the power and structure of the Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of the Constitution (ICOIC) or Constitutional Commission.
Jessica Ramirez Moreno (Mexico)
Jessica Ramirez Moreno obtained her law degree in 2015 from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (ITESO), and earned a master's degree in Governance and Human Rights from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. During Law School. She interned at a family court in Guadalajara, the Federal Tribunal of Administrative Justice of Mexico, and private law firms. In 2016, she completed a professional visit at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. She was an advisor to the Constituent Assembly of Mexico City during the drafting of the first constitution of the country’s capital, focusing on issues related to discrimination and the rights of women, migrants, indigenous communities, the LGBTI community, and other minority groups. She was a volunteer in Veracruz and Jalisco providing humanitarian assistance to migrants and refugees in Mexico, mostly people fleeing violence from Central America.
Salim Sango Aliyu (Cameroon)
Salim Sango Aliyu obtained his LL.B. degree in Law with Honors at the University of Buea, Cameroon, in 2016. In 2015, he served as Academic Officer of the Law Society, and did pro bono services with the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, where he began as a Research Intern, volunteer, then later became Associate Human Rights Officer and Executive Secretary in charge of Volunteer Program and Coordination. His activities were mostly centered around the study of cases brought before the African Court on Human and People's Rights; organizing human rights and career orientation conferences in partnership with the Pan African Institute for Democracy - West Africa and the Buea Council. He also offered legal consultative services to media outlets and served as a legal assistant for law firms in Douala and Buea, assisting attorneys in drafting legal documents and providing basic legal advises to clients.
Jolane T. Lauzon (Canada)
Jolane T. Lauzon holds an LL.B in civil law and a B.A. in international relations and international law from the University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM), and is a member of the Québec Bar Association. She participated in the International Clinic for the Defense of Human Rights (CIDDHU) as an intern, working on the rights of migrants in Dominican Republic. She has worked as an intern for the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington DC, managing a project on women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. She has also participated at the Inter-American Moot Court Competition, as a student and then as an assistant-coach, focusing on LGBT rights. Since 2015 she has worked for the Department of Justice of Canada, in Montréal and in Ottawa. She is currently organizing a conference on the participation of Canada in the Inter-American Human Rights System.
Michael Talbot (United States)
Michael 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 Associate Director, Master of Global Affairs 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.
Gabriela Talancón Villegas (Mexico)
Gabriela Talancón Villegas received her law degree from the University of Monterrey in 2016, graduating magna cum laude. She represented her university at the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court and at the Sergio García Ramírez Competition, where she was awarded best speaker. During law school, she worked at Nuevo León’s Human Rights Commission, and she served as a research assistant for the Indigenous Universities Program at CEEAD, A.C. She is passionate about social empowerment; she lived with an indigenous community in Peru and volunteered a year in Argentina. She interned at the International Association of Woman Judges in Washington D.C., assisting with women’s rights research. Prior to Notre Dame, Ms. Talancón worked at Cómo Vamos, Nuevo León, an NGO that evaluates the progress of local administrations in priority issues, such as social development and security.
Miriam Wangari Wachira (Kenya)
Miriam Wangari Wachira earned her law degree from the University of Nairobi in 2005 and an MBA in International Business Management from University of East London in 2008. She was admitted to the Kenyan bar upon acquiring a diploma in law from the Kenya School of Law in 2010. She is a legal aid and child right’s advocate and has been working in different child rights organizations like the CRADLE, GOAL Kenya and Pendekezo Letu. She was awarded 1st runners up pro bono lawyer of the year award by the Law Society of Kenya at the 2016 ECOSOS (Economic, social and cultural rights) pro bono lawyer of the year award. She is a member of a taskforce appointed by the chief justice of Kenya to look into all issues affecting children in the judiciary.