New York, NY (November 11, 2013): Each year, the Vivian Leitner Global South LL.M. Scholars Program brings international lawyers and jurists with interests and expertise in international human rights law to Fordham Law School’s community. This year’s scholars, are three judges from Ghana and a lawyer from China. Ali Baba Abature (Ghana), Abena Adjin-Doku (Ghana), Wei Liu (China), and Barbara Tetteh-Charway (Ghana), were selected following a rigorous application process.
The Scholars profiled below, work with faculty, fellows, and staff at the Leitner Center on research, writing, and scholarship in international human rights law while persuing an LL.M. in International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School.
The Scholars are fully integrated in the law school community through projects and events at the Leitner Center and Fordham Law School. They share their perspectives and experiences with the Law School academic community and contribute to diversity in the Fordham student body.
The Vivian Leitner Scholars program is made possible through a generous donation from James Leitner (JD) and is named to honor the memory of Vivian Leitner, who passed away in 2010. An intrepid traveler, student of many cultures, and a fierce critic of injustice wherever she found it, Vivian Leitner was born in Turkey and immigrated to the US in 1950. Always grateful for the opportunities she found in the U.S. to advance her education and her work, this program in her memory seeks to create similar opportunities for others.
The program, renamed the Vivian Leitner Program in 2011, has provided scholarships and stipends to students from the global south since 2007. Profiles of our past LL.M. students may be found here, and further information about the program can be found here.
Ali Baba Abature joins the Leitner Center from Ghana, where he obtained a law degree from Ghana Law School in 2007 and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Ghana (Legon) in 1999. Ali was recently appointed to the Circuit Court, and after completing his LL.M. at Fordham, he expects to adjudicate on human rights cases at the Circuit Court level in Ghana.
Ali previously presided over the Family, Matrimonial, and Juvenile Court, where he adjudicated on issues relating to the rights of children, spouses and juveniles, and served as the Deputy Director of Administration in the Ghana Civil Service.
Abena Adjin-Doku also comes to the Law School from Ghana, where she obtained her law degree from the Ghana School of Law in 2007. Abena was recently appointed to the Circuit Court. She was one of five female judges who participated in the Jurists in Residents Program, a five week training and shadowing program sponsored by the Virtue Foundation in New York.
Prior to this, Abena worked on access to justice issues in the Ghanaian prison system, served as a Family Tribunal Chairperson on child custody cases, and was a High Court Registrar with the Judicial Service.
Wei Liu joins us from China, where she earned a law degree from Liaoning University. She is a Beijing-based human rights lawyer who focuses on freedom of religion, speech and association. In April 2010, the Chinese government disbarred her for her human rights work.
In the face of immense resistance and backlash from the Chinese government, Wei has provided legal services to Tibetans, worked to expose corruption and racketeering in the government, and helped promote a general election campaign for the Beijing’s Lawyers’ Association Congress.
Barbara Tetteh-Charway is a Justice of the High Court in Ghana and obtained a law degree from the University of Ghana. Before this, she adjudicated criminal and civil cases as a Circuit Court judge, prosecuted several high profile drug and child abuse cases, served as a State Prosecutor and was appointed by former President John Evans Atta Mills as Legal Counsel to the Ghana@50 Commission of Enquiry, which was set up to investigate allegations of misappropriation of state funds.