2018-2019 James E. Tolan Fellow
Isedua Oribhabor ’18 was the Latin America Legal and Policy Fellow at Access Now, based in Cordoba, Argentina. Access Now is an international organization dedicated to defending and extending the digital rights of users at risk around the world by providing technical support, global advocacy, and comprehensive policy engagement. Isedua contributed to Access Now’s business and human rights work by focusing on the duty of internet and technology companies to protect and extend digital rights, as well as the government’s role in regulating these companies.
2017-2018 James E. Tolan Fellow
Hannah Ahern ’17 worked with Equipo Peruano de Antropologia Forense (EPAF) in Lima, Peru. Founded in 2001, EPAF investigates human rights abuses that occurred during Peru’s internal conflict and works with families of disappearance victims, government agencies, and other civil society organizations to conduct forensic investigations and promote access to justice in disappearance cases. As a Tolan Fellow, Hannah worked directly with victims of human rights abuses and EPAF to collect testimonials and facilitate access to legal resources. She also engaged in policy analysis, examining the effectiveness –and limitation—of legal mechanisms for redressing human rights violations.
Carolina van der Mensbrugghe ’17 worked with Amnesty International Japan (AI Japan) in Tokyo, Japan. Domestically, AI Japan focuses on discrimination and access to justice issues, including rights-based advocacy for ethnic minorities and refugees, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, and death row inmates. As a Tolan Fellow, Carolina assessed and improved current gender-equality education practices in Japan, and designed and implemented a gender equality-rights pilot project for local university and high school classrooms.
Zahava Moerdler ‘17 was the Sylvia Wattenburg Human Rights Fellow working with Human Rights First (HRF) in New York, NY. As an advocacy and action organization, HRF directly engages with pertinent human rights issues in the United States and internationally, and conducts fact-finding and research on protection of LGBT rights, human rights defenders, and religious minorities. Zahava worked with the Antisemitism and Extremism team to document, report on, and combat the rise of populism and hate speech in Europe.
2015-2016 James E. Tolan Fellows
Daniel Davies ’15, worked as a Legal Fellow for the Refugee Legal Aid Project (RLAP) in Cairo, Egypt. Daniel was responsible for providing legal advice and representation to urban refugees in Cairo in matters of protection, refugee status determination procedures, and resettlement.
Urooj Rahman ’15 worked to assist and empower refugees fleeing to Turkey. Urooj provided direct services to asylum-seekers in Istanbul. As a foreign lawyer in Turkey, she lent her legal assistance mostly to non-Syrians going through the UNHCR refugee status determination procedure. She also used her direct service experience to inform her contribution to international advocacy and awareness-raising initiatives.
2012-2013 James E. Tolan Fellows
Allison Chandler ’11 will work with Defence for Children International – Sierra Leone’s Violence Against Children Program in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Using a child participation approach, DCI-SL works to promote and monitor implementation of the full range of children’s rights. Allison’s fellowship will focus on strengthening local responses to sexual and gender-based violence through engaging the customary legal system. In addition, Allison will support the Violence Against Children Program through monitoring, fact-finding, and human rights trainings with community members, law enforcement agencies, and health care providers. With the Leitner Center’s support, Allison previously worked with the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (Uganda), Open Society Justice Initiative, Centre for Safe Motherhood, Youth, and Child Outreach (Sierra Leone), and the PeaceWomen Project. At Fordham, Allison was a student in the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic, as well as a Dean’s Fellow at the Leitner Center. Allison received her B.A. in Latin American Studies from Vassar College in 2007.
Steven Heller ‘12 worked with the Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration (ORAM) in San Francisco, California. ORAM is currently the only non-governmental organization in the country whose work focuses exclusively on LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers. The organization supports refugees fleeing sexual and gender-based persecution through client services, educational outreach, and advocacy. Steven provided direct representation to clients as they navigate asylum and refugee status determination processes. He also helped to develop an interactive map and database which compiles research on country conditions, establishes an understanding of the varying levels of persecution suffered by LGBTI individuals worldwide, and makes this information easily accessible to advocates, adjudicators, and other international stakeholders. At Fordham, Steven conducted human rights fieldwork through the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic and the student organization Universal Justice, and was a staff member of the International Law Journal. Steven is returning to ORAM as a Tolan Fellow, having spent a summer there as an intern. He has also previously interned for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Racial Justice Program, the United Nations Global Compact, and the Human Rights Court of Ghana. Steven received his B.A. in English from Boston College in 2008.
2011-2012 James E. Tolan Fellows
Jacqueline Bevilaqua `11 worked 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 worked with Heartland Alliance’s Director of Global LGBT Advocacy and with activists throughout the Caribbean to develop regional advocacy strategies. She also assisted grassroots LGBT organizations to engage with regional and international bodies. In Trinidad and Tobago, Jacqueline worked 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 worked 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 primarily worked 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 assisted direct legal representation efforts; formulated and implemented impact litigation schemes; and developed legal skills and human rights education trainings. Maria-Elena also assisted 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) worked 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 focused 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.
2010-2011 James E. Tolan Fellows
Corey Calabrese (`10) worked with Equality Now, an organization that works for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women around the world. Corey worked for Equality Now’s Adolescent Girls’ Legal Defense Fund on rule of law and capacity building initiatives aimed at addressing violence against women in Zambia and Kenya. In Zambia, Corey worked with local partner organizations to address sexual violence against school girls through law reform; trainings for lawyers, police, law faculty and paralegals; and capacity building with local organizations and the Zambian government to better address sexual violence against girls in the future. In Kenya, Corey worked on impact litigation cases brought to enforce women’s rights through local and international laws that prohibit rape and female genital mutilation. At Fordham, Corey was a Crowley Scholar in International Human Rights, a Stein Scholar for Public Interest Law and Ethics, a staff member of the International Law Journal and involved in other international human rights student organizations. She received her B.A. in American Studies from University of Notre Dame in May 2006.
Zaid Hydari (`09) worked with the Refugee Advocacy and Support Program (RASP) at the Helsinki Citizen’s Assembly-Turkey in Istanbul. RASP provides direct legal aid and psychosocial services to asylum seekers and refugees while simultaneously engaging in training and advocacy efforts aimed to improve their legal protection and build civil society capacity in the asylum field. Zaid assisted refugees largely from Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Somalia navigate the UNHCR refugee status determination process and ensure vulnerable refugees are not removed from the country through emergency petitions to the European Court of Human Rights. While in law school, Zaid interned with the Center for Constitutional Rights as an Ella Baker Fellow, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the plaintiffs-side employment law firm of Outten & Golden. At Fordham, Zaid was a Stein Scholar for Public Interest Law and Ethics, a student in the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic in the Spring of 2008, and also helped develop and co-supervised a project in the Clinic as a Dean’s Fellow in the Spring of 2010. He received his undergraduate degree in history and government from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005.
David Mandel-Anthony `10 worked for the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG) in Kampala, Uganda. PILPG works in partnership with the Ugandan government and local stakeholders to support the Juba Peace Accords. As a Tolan Fellow, David helped PILPG provide legal assistance to Ugandan stakeholders working to promote transitional justice. With the support of the Leitner Center, David has worked at the International Justice Program of Human Rights Watch in New York, the International Center for Transitional Justice, and the Center for Constitutional Rights. He was a Crowley Scholar from 2008–2009, participating in human rights fieldwork in Nepal, and a student in the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic in the fall of 2008, travelling to Liberia to partner with a community paralegal mediation group. David has previously worked as Assistant Director of Humanity in Action, a transatlantic human rights fellowship organization, and remains involved with HIA as a Board Member and President of the Senior Fellows Association; as a prosecutions assistant at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; and as the Thomas J. Concannon Fellow at the Federal Defenders, Eastern District of New York. At Fordham, David was a Stein Scholar for Public Interest Law and Ethics, and a staff member of the International Law Journal. David received his undergraduate degree from the Plan II Honors Program at the University of Texas at Austin in 2005, and was selected as a Dean’s Distinguished Graduate for his senior thesis on Guatemalan workers in Mississippi’s poultry industry.
2009-2010 James E. Tolan Fellows
Sarah Braasch (`09)
Sarah Braasch worked with Ni Putes, Ni Soumises (NPNS) in Paris, France. The primary goal of NPNS is to combat gender discrimination and violence. NPNS promotes the aims of gender desegregation, equality, and secularism, in order to advance human rights, democracy, and rule of law. Sarah contributed to the work of NPNS by helping them create a sexual and reproductive rights project, which focuses on women residing in the insular Muslim immigrant communities in the ghettoized suburbs of Paris. Sarah previously worked in Rabat, Morocco at the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights (Organisation Marocaine des Droits Humains – OMDH) with the support of a Leitner Fellowship. Sarah also interned at the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin and the United Nations Development Programme in New York. She was a student in the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic during the spring semester of 2008. She received her undergraduate degrees in aerospace engineering and mechanics and mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1997.
Aya Fujimura-Fanselow (`04)
Aya Fujimura-Fanselow was based in Kathmandu, Nepal with the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). The ICTJ established a full-time presence in Nepal in August 2007. The ICTJ works with countries that are pursuing accountabilities for past atrocities and human rights abuses by participating in the development of integrated, comprehensive, and localized approaches to transitional. Aya worked with the ICTJ and their partner organizations, including Advocacy Forum, to disseminate a report on the impact of the recent 10-year long “people’s war” on women. She assisted the ICTJ, Advocacy Forum and other local partners as they advocated for increased participation by women in the transitional justice process. Aya was also involved in capacity-building efforts with the goal of ensuring that NGOs have the information and tools to document gender-based violence. Finally, working closely with the National Women’s Commission, Aya monitored transitional justice initiatives and provided analyses to ensure that gender is integrated into this process. She previously worked with Amnesty International in Tokyo, the Fourth World Movement in New York, the Center for Reproductive Rights’ International Legal Program in New York, and most recently the International Center for Transitional Justice in New York. Immediately following her graduation from law school, she was a Georgetown Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow based at Bread for the City in Washington, D.C.
Identity Withheld (`09)
A third Tolan Fellow worked with Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) division on topics related to child rights, women’s rights and due process in the region. Human Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention to where human rights are violated, HRW gives voice to the oppressed and holds oppressors accountable for their crimes. The Middle East and North Africa division is one of six regional divisions. The identity of the Fellow is being withheld for security reasons.
2008-2009 James E. Tolan Fellows
Julie Ebenstein (`07)
Julie worked with Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Temporary shelter settlements have recently been erected in South Africa in response to a wave of violence against immigrants and asylum seekers. With LHR, Julie monitored the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in these facilities, and at Refugee Reception Centers, detention centers and deportation facilities. She visited the main point of border entry for Zimbabwean asylum seekers, to observe and document human rights abuses in the border entry process. She also participated in impact litigation with LHR̓s Strategic Litigation Unit challenging South Africa̓s current asylum process and refugee detention policies. She previously worked in Johannesburg at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre with the support of a Leitner Fellowship. Following law school, she won a fellowship to work in establishing a Legal Assistance Center within Mae La refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border.
Soo-Ryun Kwon (`08)
Soo worked with the International Refugee Rights Initiative, an organization based in Kampala, Uganda that aims to enhance the protection of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and the stateless on the African continent. She aided in the implementation of a litigation strategy on behalf of refugees, IDPs, and the stateless before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. In addition, she worked on formulating a series of recommendations following a compilation of studies on international criminal justice mechanisms, including the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and the International Criminal Court. In addition to these two long-term projects, she wrote on the impact that the rhetoric of terrorism has had on migration, research the interaction of African and European migration policies, and provide support for a consortium of women’s rights activists involving gender violence in Darfur. She previously worked at the AIDS and Human Rights Research Unit at the University of Pretoria on a Leitner Fellowship, where she researched the antiretroviral medication access rights of asylum seekers in South Africa for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
2007-2008 James E. Tolan Fellow
Brian Honermann (`07)
As the first Tolan Fellow, Brian worked with Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and the AIDS Law Project (ALP), the two premiere organizations campaigning for the treatment and prevention of HIV and AIDS in South Africa. Brian provided legal research for on-going litigation to ensure human rights obligations are upheld and proper medicine advertising regulations enforced. He also co-ordinated with the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor to develop new economic approaches to poverty eradication, such as reducing barriers to the formal legal system, advocating for recognition of property rights for the poor, and legally empowering informal businesses to grow and develop within formal economic structures. In law school, he was a 2005-2006 Crowley Scholar and participant in the 2006 Crowley Human Rights Fact-Finding mission to South Africa. He spent his law school summers as a Leitner Intern working with the HIV/AIDS organizations Grupo Pela VIDDA in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the Treatment Action Campaign in Cape Town, South Africa. His main research and interest is in international intellectual property rights regimes and their corresponding impact on health and development.