American University Washington College of Law Welcomes 2013-14 Humphrey Fellows

Eleven 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.

“The Humphrey Fellowship Program provides a great opportunity for foreign trained professionals working in the legal field to experience cultural exchange and professional development,” said Fernanda Katz Ellenberg, international programs coordinator at AUWCL, “They also become a close knit group and we all look forward to learning from them.”

American University Washington College of Law is one of nearly 20 major U.S. universities hosting the Humphrey Fellows Program.

“We are privileged to be one of only two law schools to host this program, and are thrilled to have once again been named a host campus for the next five years," said Professor Padideh Ala'i, director of the Program at AUWCL.

During the 11 months of the program, the fellows enhance their professional legal expertise, take academic classes, will interact with international organizations, local non-governmental organizations, and law firms. They also immerse themselves in local culture, meet local residents, and collaborate with the surrounding communities.

Read more about the 2013-14 Humphrey Fellows below:

Marcio Antonio Rocha is a federal judge from the Federal Court of Appeal of 4th Region in Brazil, whose research will focus on how the United States deals with corruption. He hopes this knowledge will help him to be a better judge, and to work toward developing a better level of trust between the state and its citizens.

“When you have a state that is corrupt, any growth that would benefit the country is lost on corruption."

-Marcio Antonia Rocha

Paulo Ilich Bacca is a Colombian lawyer specializing in the rights of indigenous peoples. He has advised indigenous and environmental organizations in Latin America and worked as a human rights consultant for international cooperation agencies and as a researcher for well-known university centers in Australia, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, and the United States.

Seung Gyu Bak is an inspector for the Korean National Police University. Upon completion of his fellowship, he hopes the knowledge gained during his year in the United States helps him to support South Korea in better serving its citizens by considering international law in the policy process and enforcement.

Pirbhu Lal is  an advocacy and research specialist for Thardeep Rural Development Program (TRDP). Lal plans to work on advocacy, education, and research in order to create change in Pakistan for the rights of religious minorities and children, and to help eliminate caste-based discrimination. 

Diliana Ivanova Markova is a senior expert in the International Standards and Regulation Department with the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria. Markova is passionate about human rights advocacy, and hopes to use advocacy, empowerment, and human rights training to see that Bulgaria moves in the right direction when it comes to human rights.

Padma Prasad Pandey is a joint government attorney for the Office of the Attorney General in Nepal. Pandey is interested in policymaking and problem-solving in the field of law and human rights, and is passionate about restructuring legal framework and rebuilding institutions so that constitutionalism, rule of law, and human rights succeed in his home of Nepal.

Florin Bogdanel Priboi is a Ph.D. student in Communication Sciences at the National School of Political and Administrative Sciences and serves as a Parliamentary expert for the Romanian Parliament-Chamber of Deputies. Priboi is focused on Roma minority political rights, and will use his time as a Humphrey Fellow to research solutions on the underrepresentation of Roma minority in politics.

Fabián Sánchez Matus is founder and former executive director for i(dh)eas, Strategic Human Rights Litigation, A.C. Sánchez is interested in constructing a conversation between Mexican human rights organizations, the United States government and influential and decision-making sectors in the United States in order to fortify Democratic Rule of Law in Mexico, an idea that revolves around the need for civil society action.

Suleman Sultan Rana is the senior superintendent of police in the Punjab province of Pakistan. He is presently working for Counter terrorism Department Punjab as SSP Operations.Rana is particularly interested in human trafficking and hopes the experience will strengthen his knowledge on the subject and his ability to prevent and combat human trafficking in his country.

“I personally feel human trafficking needs to be taken care of through policy and prevention. I hope to learn a lot from America and what they’ve done to combat this problem.”

-Suleman Sultan Rana

Melanie Williams is a senior legal officer at the Financial Services Commission of Jamaica (FSC), where she specializes in legislative reform on pensions, insurance, collective investment schemes, and insolvency. As a Humphrey Fellow, Melanie will focus on pensions reform to increase the participation in pension arrangements by the working population in Jamaica.

Gaotong Zhang is a deputy consultant to the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), Zhang drafts and revises proposed laws and regulations, as well as CFDA rules and provisions. During the time as a Humphrey Fellow, Zhang hopes to focus on the legal issues of healthcare products, specifically the liability and remedy of adverse events involving these products as these laws are currently being prepared for revision in China.

Learn more about the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program.