Meet the 2015-16 Humphrey Fellows
Legal scholars and professionals from around the world arrived in Washington, D.C. in August to participate in the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program coordinated by the International Legal Studies Program at American University Washington College of Law.
The program, sponsored by the State Department, provides these international fellows with non-degree academic study and professional experiences in the United States. Participants are selected based on their potential for leadership and commitment to public service.
Learn more about the 2015-16 Humphrey Fellows below and read what they have to say about the program.
WASEEM AHMAD - PAKISTAN
Waseem is working in the humanitarian sector to protect and promote the rights of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Pakistan. As a Protection Officer at the Danish Refugee Council, Ahmed works to strengthen the protective environment for refugees in Pakistan and to find durable solutions. He has worked with asylum seekers, refugees, returnees, and IDPs in areas such as protection, community services, community organization, assessment, education, reconstruction, rehabilitation, livelihood, relief/emergency, and early recovery. Previously, Ahmad has worked for INTERSOS with flood-affected communities and for the Center of Excellence for Rural Development with conflict IDPs in Pakistan. He has an MBA in Human Resource Management from the Institute of the Management Sciences Peshawar. Ahmad hopes that the opportunities provided by the fellowship will enable him to better manage the needs of uprooted people in Pakistan.
SHIRIN BATSHON - ISRAEL
"At a certaom point, you ask yourself, “What’s next? What do I want to do?” Working at NGOs, there are many obstacles that you are going through. What brought me to the Humphrey Program is that tit offers you a year during which you can expand your knowledge. You have the time and space to think about the work you have done, to think about your next goals, and I feel that this is a gift."
Shirin is a Palestinian lawyer and a feminist activist. She holds a bachelor's of law from Tel Aviv University and masters of law in public and international law from Tel Aviv University and Northwestern University. In Israel, Batshon worked as the head of the family law clinic at the College of Law and Business in Ramat Gan and was a co-founder of a women's law office in Haifa, which represents cases of domestic violence, family law, labor law, and rights of victims of crimes. Previously, Batshon was the head of the Legal Department of a feminist Palestinian organization in Haifa, during which she represented women in hundreds of cases in the field of family law. Her work helped set important precedents concerning Palestinian women's rights at the High Court of Justice in Israel. Batshon wrote articles on the issue of family law and women's rights, participated in lectures, public seminars and conferences. She is interested in gender studies and minority rights.
RENATA BRESSAN - BRAZIL
Renata is a state public prosecutor in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As a member of GAECO, an elite group of public prosecutors established to combat organized crimes, she was responsible for conducting money laundering investigations against drug dealers and corrupt members of the police force (2009-2013). Currently, she investigates and prosecutes homicides and other types of violent criminal cases, in addition to directing police investigations in specific cases. Bressan also worked as a representative of the State Prosecutor's Office at the Rio de Janeiro Witness Protection Program for the past four years, during which she served as the Chair of its Board of Deliberation. She believes that the Brazilian Protection Programs need greater structure and coordination with other public departments to ensure witnesses a decent life.
VIKTORIA KHAITINA - BELARUS
"My area of focus is financial law and tax law, I would like deepen my knowledge in chosen profile during the Humphrey program. I am mostly interested in issues that pertain to the tax system and tax secrecy."
Viktoria is an attorney and a member of the Belarus Bar Association. She holds both a bachelor's and a master's of law from the Belarusian State University. She has worked on drafting commercial contracts and representing the interests of companies in court. Khaitina is currently working on her thesis "International Regulation of Tax Secrecy" analyzing the international legal regime of tax secrecy and the adequacy of the Belarusian law in this sphere. Khaitina is a lecturer at the Belarusian State University and a member of the working group on drafting the new law "On the legal profession in the Republic of Belarus," where she introduced language in providing legal services for foreign businesses. She actively engages in civil society activities and participates in seminars and conferences. She has also authored several publications covering the issues of tax administration in Belarus.
MARUFU MANDEVERE - ZIMBABWE
Marufu holds a bachelor's degree in law from the University of Zimbabwe. Upon completion of his education, he worked for Mbidzo, Muchadehama & Makoni Legal Practitioners. In 2012, along with other young lawyers, Mandevere formed Kadzere, Hungwe and Mandevere Legal Practitioners and became the managing partner of the firm. Mandevere is devoted to human rights, labor and commercial Law. He is often nominated for different Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyer of the year awards. Mandevere has consistently defended human rights activists in his home country and most notably he stopped the demolition of illegal residents in Chitungwiza, a dormitory town outside the capital Harare. He is a member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and works with many other civic organizations. Mandevere hopes to strengthen his advocacy skills in court and advance human rights and the rule of law back home.
TILUNGILE NTOMBIYOZALO NTSHALINTSHALI - SWAZILAND
Tilungile is a legal officer in the Office of Swaziland's Ombudsman for Financial Services, formerly Insurance and Retirement Funds Adjudicator, where she works to resolve complaints received against financial services providers. Her office has increased consumer awareness and protection, and ensured compliance on the side of financial services providers. Through its free access and simplified procedures, it plays an important role in promoting financial inclusion. Ntshalintshali also holds the position of acting secretary for the Financial Services Regulatory Authority Appeals Tribunal. Ntshalintshali holds a bachelor's degree in law from the University of Swaziland, and an LL.M. from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Her previous work at a pensions law firm prepared her for dispensing justice in the financial services. Her objective is to increase her proficiency in alternative dispute resolution, with an emphasis on financial services and finance law, and to strengthen her enforcement skills in the financial services industry.
RAMIRO ORIAS - BOLIVIA
"I hoped to be here, not only in Washington, D.C., but also at American University, because I knew of the large human rights focus at the Washington College of Law; so I am very happy to be selected and be here."
Ramiro is a lawyer and human rights defender, and has over 20 years of experience in working to promote access to justice, penal reform, human rights, and international law, including public advocacy campaigns in Bolivia. As Fundación CONSTRUIR founder and director, he has promoted and led public policy campaigns to increase access to justice for indigenous peoples and has worked to increase understanding, acceptance, and support for the process of penal justice reform in Bolivia. He has also coordinated a project of pre-trial detention citizen monitoring. Orias's main areas of interest are judicial reform and human rights in the region. During the Fellowship, he hopes to gain a better understanding of the U.S. criminal justice system and of the regional and international litigation mechanisms, specifically the Inter-American Human Rights System.
CAROLINA SOLEDAD RUDNICK VIZCARRA - CHILE
Carolina was most recently the executive coordinator of the intergovernmental Committee Against Trafficking in Persons of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Chile. Under her leadership, Chile designed and implemented the first national plan of action against human trafficking and advanced Chile's qualification from Tier 2 to Tier 1 in the TIP Report 2014. This award-winning lawyer, lecturer, litigator, and artist, holds a bachelor's degree in law, postgraduate studies in ethics from the Universidad de Concepcion of Chile, and an MSc in criminal justice policy from the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom. She is particularly interested in human trafficking root causes and in creating effective preventive strategies to combat modern slavery in all its forms. She hopes that the knowledge and skills gained during the fellowship will strengthen her ability to lead and advocate for policies, programs, and services to advance Chile and underdeveloped countries' well-being.
ELSHADAY KIFLE WOLDEYESUS - ETHIOPIA
Elshaday was the head of the Centre for Human Rights (Centre) at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, for the past three years. In this capacity, she oversaw the Centre's postgraduate degree program in interdisciplinary human rights studies, the research on human rights related issues, and the Centre's legal aid services to urban and rural communities in three different regions. Before joining the Centre, Woldeyesus worked in different nongovernmental organizations and was a researcher on the political participation of women at the Africa Programme of the UN mandated University for Peace (UPEACE). Woldeyesus studied sociology and specialized in gender and peace building studies. As an academic actively interested in promoting the rights of women, during her fellowship, Woldeyesus hopes to improve her skills in using the law to promote social change and strengthen the capacity of grassroots movements for rights and equality.
LE YUXIN - CHINA
Le is a human rights lawyer interested in juvenile rights in China. After obtaining a master's degree in law at the Xiamen University in China, she became a Juvenile Court judge and has worked at the High People's Court in Fujian Province, Shanghai ChangNing District People's Court, and the Shanghai High People's Court. She also received certification of Psychological Consultation during her career. As a judge presiding over juvenile cases, Le had the opportunity to observe and aid in law reforms in Minor's Rights Protection in China. After 11 years working in the court system, she developed a broader and deeper understanding of the Chinese judicial system and decided to leave the court and become a practicing attorney. During the fellowship, she hopes to strengthen her knowledge on children's and human rights, and the juvenile system in the United States.