The Leitner Center funds post-graduates’ human rights work in Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, New York City and Colombia.
NEW YORK, NY (May 12, 2011) – The Leitner Center for International Law and Justice is delighted to announce the recipients of the 2011–2012 James E. Tolan Fellowship in International Human Rights. Three Tolan Fellows were selected for 2011–2012: Jacqueline Bevilaqua `11, Maria-Elena Kolovos `11, and Katherine Mayall `11.
The Tolan Fellowship is a post-graduate Fellowship that funds Fordham Law School graduates to work for an international human rights organization for one year. The Fellowship is awarded on an annual or bi-annual basis.
The Fellowship is named in honor of James Tolan, a long-time supporter of the Leitner Center’s Crowley Program. Mr. Tolan is a graduate of Fordham Law School (LL.B., 1962), where he was the Case-Notes Editor of the Fordham Law Review. He is a member of the Board of Fordham Law Alumni Association, a past President and recipient of its Medal of Achievement, as well as recipient of the Dean’s Medal of Recognition. Mr. Tolan is currently Senior Counsel at Dechert LLP and a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Jacqueline Bevilaqua `11 will work with Heartland Alliance’s Global Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Advocacy Program in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Heartland Alliance works to protect the human rights of vulnerable populations throughout the world. The LGBT Advocacy Program supports LGBT rights around the globe by building the capacity of grassroots LGBT organizations, supporting regional LGBT movements, and creating coalitions of LGBT activists and organizations. Jacqueline will work with Heartland Alliance’s Director of Global LGBT Advocacy and with activists throughout the Caribbean to develop regional advocacy strategies. She will also assist grassroots LGBT organizations to engage with regional and international bodies. In Trinidad and Tobago, Jacqueline will work with a local organization to document human rights abuses against LGBT people and also to mount legal challenges to discriminatory laws. At Fordham, Jacqueline was a Crowley Scholar in International Human Rights, a student in the Walter Leitner International Human Rights clinic, and a board member of both Fordham OUTLaws and Amnesty International. She has previously interned for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and the American Civil Liberties Union Voting Rights Project. Jacqueline received her B.A. in Government and Sociology from Georgetown University in 2006.
Maria-Elena Kolovos `11 will work in Port-au-Prince, Haiti with the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). BAI and IJDH work together to enforce Haitians’ human rights and to ensure access to justice for Haiti’s poor. Maria-Elena will primarily work to implement the Health and Human Rights in Prisons Project; the project applies a legal-medical partnership model, drawing from lawyers’ and medical providers’ expertise, to enforce prisoners’ social and economic rights, with equal force, as civil and political rights. Maria-Elena will assist direct legal representation efforts; formulate and implement impact litigation schemes; and develop legal skills and human rights education trainings. Maria-Elena will also assist in the organizations’ legal response to two issues that became urgent after the 2010 earthquake: the increased vulnerability of displaced people to violations of their right to adequate housing; and the rising incidence of rape and sexual assault in the displacement camps. With the Leitner Center’s support, Maria-Elena previously worked at the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center and the Global Justice Center. She also directly served clients at LegalHealth in New York City. At Fordham, Maria-Elena was a Crowley Scholar, a student in the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic, and co-chair of the Immigration Advocacy Project. She received her B.A. in Literature from Yale College in 2003.
Katherine Mayall `11 will work for the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York City and in Bogota, Colombia. The Center for Reproductive Rights works to promote reproductive freedom through legal advocacy in the United States and internationally, focusing on issues such as access to safe and legal abortion, adolescent’s rights to make decisions about their reproductive health care, and access to birth control and contraceptives. Katherine’s fellowship will focus on battling institutional violence in schools and healthcare settings in Latin America and the Caribbean by conducting fact-finding, drafting proposed legislation, and assisting with litigation in international tribunals. Katherine previously was a Gerald R. Durr Fellow at Lawyers for Children and a legal advisor for Islands First. She participated in the Immigrant Rights and Access to Justice Clinic in Fall 2010, and was the co-president of the student organization Universal Justice. Katherine also developed a human rights project in Nicaragua wherein she worked directly with victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking and studies women’s rights and access to justice in rural areas. Katherine received her undergraduate degree in communication from Boston University in May 2008.