Class of 2010
Ziad.A. Abdel Tawab (Egypt)
Mr. Abdel Tawab has obtained two law degrees in Commercial Law from Paris I University, Pantheon Sorbonne, France and one in Egyptian law from Cairo University, Egypt. He has also been awarded a Master of Science degree on the theories and practices of human rights specializing in the history and philosophy of human rights law at Pierre Mendes France (Grenoble II) University, France (2006). Mr. Abdel Tawab served in several national and international research institutes focusing his research studies on the role of the judiciary in the democratization process of Egypt. He worked for the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) as a Human Rights Officer stationed in Darfur in 2006-2007. From 2008-2009 he aided in the establishment and acted as Programs Officer for the International Advocacy Program at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS). As Programs Officer he carried out the duties of legal consultancy, capacity building/training, research, dissemination of information, and logistical assistance to 20 national NGOs drawn from 11 different countries throughout the Arab region. He also performed extensive advocacy at the United Nations Human Rights Council and the African Commission for Human and People Rights.
Paula Sofia Cuellar Cuellar (El Salvador)
Ms. Cuellar earned her B.A. degree from the Central American University “José Simeón Cañas” in 2003. Since 2005, she has been working full-time at the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of El Salvador and part-time at the Central American University “José Simeón Cañas” as a researcher for the law department. Since 2008, Ms. Cuellar has taught human rights and constitutional law in the same university and has acted as a consultant for some NGO´s on labor law. Ms. Cuellar has been involved in activism on transitional justice issues and has collaborated with restorative justice initiatives in her country to create awareness on the necessity of addressing past human rights violations.
Joel Alexis De León Quintero (Panama)
Mr. De Leon obtained his degree in Law and Political Science with honors from the University of Panama. He has undertaken graduate studies in Criminology at the University of Panama; Procedural Law at Universidad Latina de Panama and in Higher Education at Universidad Especializada de las Americas. Mr. De Leon has worked as an assistant to the Electoral Attorney General, Judicial Secretary to the Electoral Attorney of the First Judicial Circuit, Judicial Secretary to the Second Attorney of Anticorruption and Investigator of Internal Affairs and Environmental Crimes in the Policía Técnica Judicial. He has also served as Judicial Assistant to the Accounts Attorney General. Since 2005, Mr. De Leon has served as a part-time college professor at Universidad Especializada de las Americas (UDELAS), and at Universidad Latina de Panamá. Mr. De Leon has additionally worked on several projects related to human rights institutions, such as the participation of minorities, including people with disabilities, civil rights, environment and democracy. Mr. De Leon has also trained and promoted mechanisms to avoid domestic violence in programs sponsored by nongovernmental institutions, as well as resocialization programs for young offenders.
Maniccavasagar Ganesharajah (Sri Lanka)
Mr. Ganesharajah obtained law degrees from Law College, Sri Lanka in 1998 and University of Colombo, Bandaranayake Centre for International Studies. Mr. Ganesharajah worked in the Attorney General’s Department in Sri Lanka before joining the judiciary as a Magistrate in 2004. While working in the AG’s chambers and the Judiciary, Mr. Ganesharajah dealt with various human rights issues. In appreciation for his work, Mr. Ganesharajah was awarded a fellowship by the University of Notingham (U.K). As a magistrate he dealt with issues related to missing persons, torture, abduction and unlawful killings by the security forces and L.T.T.E ( Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam ) and paramilitaries including the famous case involving the killing of 17 workers of ACF which has attracted wide attention from human rights organizations.
John Mutua Imanene (Kenya)
Mr. Imanene earned his law degree (honors) from the University of Nairobi in 2006 and a diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law in 2007. Mr. Imanene has worked for 19 years with the Kenya Police rising the ranks to Chief Inspector of Police with Criminal Investigations Department (CID). He has also worked with Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) as a Senior Human Rights Officer/Investigator. Mr. Imanene was the lead investigator of extra-judicial killings and forceful disappearances in Kenya leading to a KNHCR report which found the Kenyan security forces to have been complicit in the extra-judicial killings of over 500 civilians. These findings were subsequently corroborated by the findings of the UN Special Rapportuer on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions Prof. Philip Alston. The two repots were presented to the 11th session of UN Human Rights Council where the Government of Kenya, represented by five cabinet ministers, acknowledged government complicity in the killings which started in 2000. As a result the Government undertook to reform the judiciary, the police force and the entire criminal justice system. Mr.Imanene has faced serious threats in Kenya as a result of his human rights work and is currently seeking asylum in the US with his family.
Matthew J. Jowanna (United States of America)
Mr. Jowanna obtained his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in 1989, majoring in Broadcasting and Mass Communications, from the University of South Florida and his Juris Doctor (J.D.) (Summa Cum Laude), degree in 1994 from Nova Southeastern University. Before attending law school, Mr. Jowanna worked for several Tampa Bay area radio and television stations as an announcer, news anchor, editor, producer, reporter and writer. While in law school, Mr. Jowanna was a staff member and author of the Nova Law Review and received numerous awards. Mr. Jowanna served as a law clerk to the Honorable Karl B. Grube, Pinellas County Judge, and was a Certified Legal Intern with the Office of the State Attorney for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he prosecuted cases before both bench and jury. Since 1994, Mr. Jowanna’s legal practice has been dedicated to civil litigation, trials and appeals – including civil rights litigation and international law. Mr. Jowanna is a member of the Florida Bar and is also admitted in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
Emilia Klepacka (United Kingdom)
Ms. Klepacka graduated with a law degree from Cambridge University in 2004. In addition to working on the successful re-launch of The Cambridge Forum during her studies, she worked as a legal intern in London and New York and assisted government missions to the UN (2003). She worked as Director of the World Youth Alliance in Brussels from September 2004 to October 2007, organizing conferences and trainings related to human rights and diplomacy and engaging in important bioethics debates at the EU. Her successful work achievements include the promotion of a European Parliament Resolution against egg-cell trade which raised awareness about exploitation of vulnerable women through trade in human tissue and cells (adopted March 2005). Ms Klepacka assisted Members of the European Parliament by drafting briefings, speeches, articles and report amendments. She has travelled within Europe, North America and Mexico, training young people in understanding human dignity and integral development. She is UK Coordinator of the Phoenix Institute for the Study of Western Institutions following work as a teaching assistant at the Institute’s summer programme on transitional justice and the rule of law (2007). More recently, Ms Klepacka worked in public affairs advocacy in London, initiating various projects under the direction of human and civil rights specialists Lord Brennan of Bibury QC and Lord Alton of Liverpool.
Ritu Limbu (Nepal)
Ms. Limbu earned her Bachelor of Arts (B.A) degree in Sikkim, India from University of North Bengal in 2002; masters degree in Sociology from Tribhuvan University in Nepal in 2004 and a law degree (LL.B) in 2007 from Nepal Law Campus, Tribhuvan University. As a law student, Ms. Limbu worked as an intern (September 2004- February 2005) at Advocacy Forum, an NGO in Kathmandu, Nepal, monitoring and documenting juvenile detention in different detention centers. From December 2006 to March 2008, she worked as an intern with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in Nepal dealing with cases of disappearance during the conflict and observation and trial of serious human rights violation cases in the Supreme Court. From October 2008 to May 2009, she worked in Women Rehabilitation Center (WOREC) as a Program Officer in Biratnagar district, Nepal and was responsible mainly for advocacy and empowerment of rural women. Presently, Ms. Limbu is working as a program assistant with ICJ in Nepal to assist in research on human rights accountability mechanisms and witness protection in South Asia and organizing workshops.
Oluwatosin Olabisi Nguher (Nigeria)
Ms. Nguher obtained her law degree (LL.B), from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria in 2002. She worked with a law firm in Lagos, Nigeria and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), Banjul, Gambia as an intern from November 2006 to November 2007. In August 2007, she attended the International Human Rights Academy in the Netherlands. In December 2007, she joined Access Bank in Gambia as company secretary. In July 2008, she returned to the ACHPR as a legal officer for protection. Ms. Nguher has assisted the Special Rapporteur for the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons and migrants in Africa, as commissioner and as special rapporteur under this ACHPR mechanism. She has travelled to various African countries to promote the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the continent. Ms. Nguher organized a conference on Strategic Partnering between the ACHPR and its various partners, in Kampala, Uganda in October 2008 and serviced the 44th and 45th Ordinary Sessions of the ACHPR, among other duties at the ACHPR.
Souhila Nibouche (Algeria)
Ms. Nibouche, a Fulbright recipient, has a degree in physics from USTHB of Bab Ezzouar in Algiers, Algeria and a degree in legal and administrative studies from the University of Jijel, Algeria. She earned her legal certificate from the University of Constantine, Algeria in 2005. Originally trained as a physics teacher, Souhila has clerked at the Court of Justice in Jijel, Algeria.
Rangu Nyamurundira (Zimbabwe)
Mr. Nyamurundira earned his Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) Honours degree from the University of Zimbabwe in 2003. He initially worked for a private law firm, Messrs Coglan Welsh and Guest in Harare (2003), before turning to human rights work by joining Justice for Children Trust as a project lawyer in 2004 where he advocated for the rights of children, including litigation and conducting public education workshops on children rights. In 2005 he joined Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) as Project Manager for the Public Interest Litigation Project and the Prisoners’ Rights Project. At ZLHR he has been involved in providing legal services and capacity building trainings to victims of human rights violations, including human rights defenders, members/supporters of opposition political parties, prisoners and ordinary Zimbabweans who have suffered gross violations at a time of civil, political unrest and economic collapse in Zimbabwe. He worked in 2006 at the Uganda Human Rights Network in Uganda as a fellow under the Norwegian FredKorpset exchange programme during which he set up a project on socio-economic rights and promoted the rights of the minority Batwa pigmies of western Uganda. He has also undertaken various courses on economic, social and cultural rights with the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria in South Africa (2007).
Pier Paolo Pigozzi (Ecuador)
Mr. Pigozzi earned his law degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. During his studies, he participated in two international moot court competitions on International Human Rights Law and worked at the Human Rights Clinic of the University as Coordinator of the Department of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Mr. Pigozzi has worked with Colombian refugees in Ecuador at the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was the Coordinator of the Eligibility Area and Legal Advisor of the National Directorate of Refugees. His main duties were to assess cases and make reports on asylum appeals on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as to work in Operational Emergency Committees to provide support in border zones during large-scale displacements of Colombian asylum seekers. At the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees, he was in charge of the Protection Unit at Ibarra UNHCR Field Office at the northern border of Ecuador, where he supervised the legal protection activities such as refugee status determination, local integration and access to rights, participated in the meetings of the Ecuadorian Refugee Eligibility Commissions and provided legal support to government officials. Mr. Pigozzi has conducted several workshops and conferences on International Refugee Law, human rights, and Constitutional Law. He has lectured on the refugee definition within the Cartagena Declaration at Universidad San Francisco de Quito and on constitutional law at the Ibarra campus of the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. He has also been advising the Presidency of the Constitutional Court of Ecuador about human rights and constitutional law.
Yara Refaat Mohamed Sallam (Egypt)
Ms. Sallam earned two degrees of law (LL.B) – a Licence of Law from Cairo University in Egypt and Maîtrise of Commercial Law from Paris I University Pantheon Sorbonne in France in 2007. She worked as a research assistant at the Institute of Research for Development focusing on women’s rights; a researcher on Freedom of Religion and Belief at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights where she documented court rulings, legislation and government policies relevant to freedom of religion and belief, as well as instances of religious discrimination and other violations of religious freedom in Egypt. She also conducted on-site investigations into incidents of sectarian tension and violence.
Anahita Shahrokhi (Iran)
Ms. Shahrokhi obtained her law degree (LL.B) from Tehran University Law School in 2005 and her masters degree in Public Law at Tehran University Law School in 2008. She was admitted to the bar in 2005 and worked as a lawyer at a private law firm (Sholesaadi). As a law student, Ms. Shahrokhi was actively involved in human rights activism including being a member of Protection of Children’s Rights Society where she assisted the Society’s attorneys in a number of cases involving child abuse and protection of their rights; the ‘Shush Children’s House’ as a teacher for the street and working children who faced multiple abuses. She was also involved in the “one million signatures campaign” through which a large group of Iranian women promoted women’s rights.
Ola Hani Shtiwi (Israel)
Shtiwi earned her J.D. from the University of Haifa in 2002, and worked in private law firms until 2005. In 2005 she joined Kayan, a Palestinian feminist organization based in Haifa, where she worked as the coordinator of the legal department. The legal department gave legal aid to Palestinian women living in Israel in personal status, labor and social welfare issues. In 2006, she started co-coordinating the Women’s Budget Forum, an organization that worked on gender budgeting and gender mainstreaming.
Anya Monica Victoria Delgado (Mexico)
Ms. Victoria earned her Law degree from Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City (2006.). She has attend the “Human Rights and Women” diploma course at the Human Rights Center at Universidad de Chile in 2007 and a summer course at the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, in Washington D.C. in 2006. Ms. Victoria coordinated the project on human rights and women in Mexico in the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) from December 2008 to August 2009. She also worked as a Protection Assistant in United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Regional Office for Mexico, Central America and Cuba in 2007-2008. Ms. Victoria interned with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs Directorate of Human Rights, in Mexico City (2006), and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), in Washington D.C. (2006).
Kim Juanita Williams (South Africa)
Ms. Williams earned her law degree (LLB) from the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town in 2008 and completed her practical legal training course at the Cape Town School for Legal Practice. She participated in the All Africa Moot Competition in 2006 and the Department of Justice’s annual Moot Competition, where she received the prize for best cross-examination. She interned at Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys and Cliffe Dekker Attorneys during her vacation breaks and tutored criminal law. Before joining Notre Dame, Ms. Williams worked at the Constitutional Court of South Africa in 2008/9, as a law researcher under Justice Albie Sachs.