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University of Haifa honors Itzik Dessie, former Israel-US Civil Liberties Rights Law Program Fellow, with distinguished alumni award 

Itzik Dessie, a former New Israel Fund Law Fellow in the Israel-US Civil Liberties Rights Law Program at the WCL Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, was recently honored by the University of Haifa as one of forty distinguished alumni making a leading contribution to Israeli society. The award was bestowed as part of the University’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

Itzik was one of the first Ethiopian-Israelis to be accepted to study law at an Israeli university. After completing his law degree at the University of Haifa, he accepted a clerkship with the prestigious law firm of Haim Zadok, a former Minister of Justice.

Upon completing his clerkship, Itzik opened his own law firm and was immediately inundated with Ethiopian immigrants in need of legal help. Most of his potential clients were unable to afford the cost of his professional services. This experience prompted Itzik to open Tebeka -- the Center for Legal Aid and Advocacy for the Ethiopian-Israeli Community -- where he currently serves as Executive Director. Tebeka is the only legal aid organization founded and run by Ethiopian attorneys and professionals serving Israel’s Ethiopian community.

Itzik previously served as Chairman of the Nezigut, a forum of representatives of Ethiopian Israeli grassroots organizations and community advocates. He earned an LLM in 2008 from American University Washington College of Law.

Learn more about the Center's Israel-US Civil Liberties Law Program.