Law School Welcomes 2011-2012 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows

Michelle Gudo just arrived in the United States from Harare, Zimbabwe. Despite a busy first week of orientation at American University, Washington College of Law, and in Washington, Gudo says she already knows that she is embarking on a once in a lifetime opportunity.

For the next 10 months, Gudo and 10 other fellows from around the world will participate in the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program run out of the law school’s International Legal Studies Program.  The program, sponsored by the State Department, provides these 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. 

American University has hosted the program since 1980.  For just under a decade, the Washington College of Law has welcomed lawyers, judges, and advocates from countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Eurasia.

Humphrey Fellows (left to right) Front Row 1: Yussef Auf, Katryn Cadiente, Edna Carvalho, Shadha Nasser, Moin Ghani
Back Row: Maria Soledad Granados Zambrano, Samar Elshayeb, M. Uzeyir Karabiyik, Monica Carballo, Michelle Gudo (Photo: Hilary Schwab)

“As always this program has brought together again an amazing and inspiring group of professionals," says Melanija Radnovic, who coordinates the program. "Each class of participants is enthusiastic about the opportunity. They are all looking forward to a busy and exciting year."

Gudo comes to the program after working as a provincial magistrate and later as a legal program officer for a non-governmental organization, Women in Law in Southern Africa (WLSA).  Gudo developed an interest in human rights, women’s rights, and gender-based violence after working with women in her country who are often unaware of their legal rights.

According to Gudo, taking courses in the United States allows her to enhance her academic knowledge into practical skills while working toward the “development of Zimbabwe as a whole.”  

Another participant, Monica Carballo, left her family in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to take part in the Humphrey Program.  A judge interested in family and children’s rights in her home country, Monica hopes that the program will create professional openings for her once she returns.

“The judicial system is changing in Bolivia,” says Carballo, speaking of new judicial elections to take place there in October. “I have no idea what will happen to the judicial system at home, but still, American LL.M. courses mean a lot in Bolivia.”

Yussef Auf, a judge from Port Said, Egypt, is interested in many types of law.  With an interest in eventually working in the Supreme Court system in Egypt, Auf wants to “discover himself” and define his true legal interests while improving his English.

(Picture left to right: Michelle Gudo, Yussef Auf, and Monica Carballo. Photo by Hilary Schwab.)

“In law, every word is important,” says Auf. “I also hope to make a deep mutual understanding between Americans, Arabs, Egyptians.  It is a different culture. I will need time.”

The fellows began their three week orientation on Aug. 1.  During their first few weeks they attend meet-and-greets, open bank accounts, find housing, and do some sightseeing. Throughout the rest of the year they will take courses, have the opportunity to attend networking events, and make connections with faculty, students, and area professionals.   

AU is one of just 19 universities that host the program, administered by the Institute of International Education. 

The 2011-2012 Humphrey Fellows are:

Yussef Auf, Egypt

Fathima Shaheeda Barrie, Sri Lanka

Edna Batalha de Carvalho,  Angola

Katryn Cadiente, Philippines

Elda Monica Carballo, Bolivia

Samar Elshayeb, Jordan

Moin Ghani, Bangladesh

Maria Soledad Granados Zambrano, Chile

Muhammet Karabiyik, Turkey

Shadha Nasser, Yemen

Michelle Gudo, Zimbabwe