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University of Minnesota Human Rights Center
Human Rights Fellowship Program


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2005 Fellows


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Denise Andrews
Minnesota Academy International School
Ghana, West Africa

Denise Andrews received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Minnesota and a Mini-MBA in business from St. Thomas University. She currently works for Public Radio International in the Finance Department. Denise brings a wealth of experience to this fellowship, having worked with women’s groups in other African countries. She attended a United Nations Decade of Women conference in Kenya, which focused on the human rights of women and children. The Minnesota Academy International School in Amponsah Akroase, Ghana is Denise’s host organization. This fellowship will take place over the summer of 2005. Her work will be informed by the critical areas of human rights that came out of the United Nations Decade of Women conference called the "Beijing+10 in Africa" principles. She will spend time with the youth of the Academy and will teach a class on human rights, an initiative that could become a model human rights class for all of Ghana. The human rights curriculum has been developed particularly for the students of the academy. She will also assist in teaching students English, providing them with school supplies, and giving them unique opportunities to travel around Ghana. Denise will also spend time working with women’s groups and helping to establish a Sister to Sister International (STSI) chapter in the village. An internationally respected NGO, STSI will help the women in the village connect with and feel part of the larger community of women throughout Africa and the world. The women of Amponsah Akroase will be empowered to educate themselves and to influence other areas of village life by being a part of a larger organization.

 

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Mark Arneson

El Movimiento Desarraigados Organizado para el Desarrollo Integral del Norte del Quiche
Nebaj, Guatmala

Mark Arneson has taught biochemistry at the University of Minnesota for nine years. He also has long had an interest in Latin America including leading student study classes to Guatemala and Cuba and local activism. His internship is with the Guatemalan NGO El Movimiento Desarraigado Organizado para el Desarrollo Integral del Norte del Quiche which translates to The Movement of the Uprooted Organized for the Complete Development of North Quiche. The ‘uprooted’ refers to internally displaced populations during Guatemala’s civil war. The centerpiece of his internship will be a project to record oral history songs of war victims’ experiences during the 36 year civil war that officially ended in 1996. Mark plans to produce a CD to help preserve these songs, to raise money for projects in the region and to be used for education here at home. This internship also provides Mark experience as he explores a transition from science education to international human rights.

 

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Julie Blaskowski
Senegalese Association for School as an Instrument for Peace (EIP)
Senegal, West Africa

Julie Blaskowski recently graduated from Hamline University with majors in Global Studies and Social Justice. She is currently interning with the Senegalese Association for School as an Instrument of Peace (EIP-Sénégal). EIP-Sénégal is the national branch of the World Association for School as an Instrument of Peace, whose headquarters are in Geneva. EIP-Sénégal has established clubs for students who work for the peaceful resolution of conflict within their schools. It also provides workshops for teachers, so that they may better incorporate democracy and human rights into their curricula. EIP-Sénégal also works to promote the rights of the child and the right to education within the Senegalese context by addressing the plight of the talibés, the young maids, and other child workers.

 

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Elizabeth Braun
South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre
New Delhi, India

Elizabeth Braun is currently a student at the University of Minnesota Law School and Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Elizabeth received her B.S. in Mathematics and German at the University of Wisconsin. During the summer of 2005, she will be working at the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre (SAHRDC) located in Delhi, India. SAHRDC is an NGO that studies and documents human rights violations in the South Asian region. SAHRDC seeks to investigate, document and disseminate information about human rights treaties and conventions, human rights education, refugees, media freedom, prison reforms, political imprisonment, torture, summary executions, disappearances and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

 

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Paul Corbit Brown
International Leadership Institute and
Kingdom Oil

Rwanda

Paul Corbit Brown is currently self-employed as a freelance photographer in the field of Human Rights and Social Justice. His fellowship is in cooperation with the International Leadership Institute and Kingdom Oil, a faith-based organization involved for several years in the reconciliation effort. Paul aims to photograph and interview victims and offenders of the Rwandan genocide to create a documentary revealing the lives, aspirations, and resiliency of post-genocide Rwanda. Upon his return to the U.S., he plans to produce a traveling exhibit and accompanying lecture series to share his fellowship experiences. His main goal is to educate and motivate the public to become involved in the issues that face us all, whether in our homes and communities or the Planet Earth as our global community. Paul's photography website is at http://www.paulcorbitbrown.com/.

 

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Sara Carpenter
UNESCO Centre at University of Ulster
Northern Ireland

Sara Carpenter is a Master's candidate in the Work, Community, Family Education program at the University of Minnesota and a member of the teaching staff at HECUA. Sara will be working with the UNESCO Centre at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. Sara will help the center with curriculum and research projects focused on the role of education in social inclusion in post conflict societies.

 

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Christina Clusiau
Human Rights Education
http://www.mklaymissioners.org/index.php
http://www.educationaid.net/homepage.html
Rhodes, Greece

Christina Clusiau graduated from the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University in 2003. After graduation she received an Upper Midwest Fellowship to work with Maryknoll Missions in Bangkok, Thailand on Human Rights and Refugee issues. Since returning in June of 2004 she has been working as a freelance photographer and with the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center. During the upcoming fellowship period, Christina will be working with The Human Rights Center, Crossroads Elementary School, and the International Institute of Peace Education on Documentation and Facilitating a Human Rights Tool of emerging practices through the arts with The Human Rights Center K-12 initative project, titled, "This is my Home: Human Rights Education in Minnesota Public Schools".

 

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Coventry Cowens
Womankind Kenya-WOKIKE
Kenya
Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP)
Tanzania

Coventry Cowens comes to the program with a broad based professional career and experience, which includes academia and multicultural programs and international non-profit organizations, project management and marketing programs in technology focused corporations, social service agencies and independent project management consulting. She is currently the Assistant Director of Multicultural Programs and Services at the College of St. Catherine, based in St. Paul Minnesota, and volunteers as program director of the International Leadership Institute, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Fellow Cowens is a graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato and along with years of professional development course work has a MBA Program Certificate from the University of St. Thomas, based in St. Paul. Ms. Cowens developed a Dreaming Kilimanjaro motivational presentation to educate students and others about Tanzania, Africa and other African countries. She also developed a program for female students of color to improve their retention at the college level and wrote a children's book called Bibi's New Village (Tanzania).

As a Human Rights Fellow, Coventry Cowens will be working with woman¹s advocate programs in Tanzania and Kenya. Her host organization is Womankind Kenya in Garissa, Kenya (July) and the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (June). Her work will include developing collaborative relationship with the two non governmental organizations; provide college writing training for orphaned secondary-level female students in the arid region of Garissa and interview women advocates working for women and girl¹s rights in Dar es Salaam. As the work of human rights is very individual and occurs in a variety of settings around the world, it is Coventry Cowens hope to continue developing relationships begun in Africa over the past few years that focus on the growth and enrichment of all concerned. She also hopes to share her knowledge and skills with young women eager to develop additional resources in a rapidly changing world.

 

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Saroeun Earm
Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-CAM)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Saroeun is a Cambodian-American woman originally from St. Paul, MN. She is currently a temporary office and administrative specialist in the College of Professional Studies at Metropolitan State University. She previously worked for the Saint Paul Area Council of Churches as an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer, congregational organizer, developing an employment ministry. Before that Sarouen was employed by Southeast Asia Resource Action Center in Washington, D.C. as a Values, Empowerment, Resources and Betterment (VERB) project intern. Saroeun holds a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology and Asian Studies from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN and studied Khmer at the University of WI-Madison through Southeast Asia Summer Study Institute (SEASSI). She traveled extensively throughout China, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Thailand as part of her education. Her current goal is to attend graduate school in international relations for fall of 2005.

 

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Leonardo Filippini
United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide
New York, New York, USA

Leonardo Filippini earned a law degree (honors) at University of Buenos Aires (UBA) School of Law and an LL.M. degree from University of Palermo (UP) School of Law. He has law clerked at the Supreme Court of Justice of Buenos Aires and at different inferior courts, and he has been responsible of the Institutional Reform Area of the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS). He has also been advisor of the Prison Ombudsman of the Ministry of Justice. Mr. Filippini has lectured on criminal law and international human rights at UP and UBA. He has directed research, and published articles and contributions on these areas. Leonardo Filippini is currently a Hubert H. Humphrey fellow at University of Minnesota and he is working with the International Center for Transitional Justice in New York.

 

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Brian Heilman
Loreto Day School
Sealdah, Kolkata, India

Brian Heilman is a 2005 graduate of St. John's University in Collegeville, MN and is thrilled to be traveling to Calcutta, India this fall to complete his fellowship at the Loreto Day School in Sealdah. The Loreto Day School is a revolutionary girls primary school and orphanage whose principal, Sister Cyril Mooney, has received many international human rights awards for her work in opening the school's doors to the urban street-dwelling poor of Calcutta. The school currently houses 200 formerly street-dwelling children who participate in the "Rainbow Program." Brian's duties will include caring for, teaching and tutoring the Rainbow students, as well as traveling to rural locations around Calcutta with Mooney's "Barefoot Teachers" program to conduct lessons for children out of the reach of an organized school system. Brian's previous volunteering efforts have taken him to the Community for Creative Nonviolence in Washington DC, St. Ann's Mission in Navajo Nation AZ, and a variety of human rights NGOs throughout Northern India (including the SAHRDC, Caritas India, SANLAAP and others).

 

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Sarah Herder
Children’s Defense Fund
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Sarah Herder will receive her Master of Public Policy degree, with a concentration in Human Rights, from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs in May 2005. She has worked as an intern with the Human Rights Program at the University of Minnesota, as well as at the Concerned Center for Child Workers in Nepal in Kathmandu. Sarah's fellowship this summer will be at the Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota (CDF-MN), where she plans to bring her knowledge and work with international human rights frameworks to local causes. At CDF-MN, she will advocate for children's basic rights to health care coverage and child care; research demographic data concerning children's well-being; and work with staff to create alliances with political leadership to bring about sustained commitments to children. Sarah hopes to begin a career in human rights research upon completion of her fellowship.

 

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Meizani Irmadhiany

Poverty Alleviation Committee, Ministry of People Welfare
Indonesia

Meizani Irmadhiany is currently a sophomore at the University of Minnesota. She grew up in Indonesia, and three years ago, she moved to the United States for her studies. This summer she will be working with PKPU (Pos Keadilan Peduli Umat), a humanitarian NGO based in Indonesia. She will be working in Aceh to rebuild the area that was hit hardest by the December Tsunami. The organization works together with other institutions in coordinating recovery and rehabilitation efforts related to the disaster and focusing on micro economic activities to reduce poverty in Aceh. As a volunteer in the organization, she will be working on various development programs in Aceh. She will be doing field work relating to community development, such as setting up trauma centers for victims of the disaster, capacity building on micro economic activities and income generating arrangements.

 

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Martha James
Human Rights Education
http://www.i-i-p-e.org/
http://www.crossroads.spps.org/
http://www.mcae.k12.mn.us/
Rhodes, Greece

Martha James is a doctoral student in the department of Critical Pedagogy at the University of St. Thomas as well as being a full-time employee of Saint Paul Public Schools. For her fellowship she will be traveling to Rhodes, Greece to participate in the International Institute for Peace Education. The Institute will gather artists and educators from around the world to engage in dialogue about how the Arts and education can merge to be powerful tools to educate for peace. Along with attending plenary sessions, while at the institute Martha will be conducting a workshop where she will share ideas for using dance as a medium to address cultural identities. Upon her return she will be a resource to the community by sharing her experiences as well as incorporating them into her existing dance/Arts/education partnership with the Human Rights Center of Minnesota, Crossroads Elementary School, and the Perpich Center for Arts Education. 

 


Anna Jaquith
A SEED EUROPE - Action for Solidarity Equality Environment and Diversity
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Anna Jaquith recently completed a Liberal Arts B.A. degree at Metropolitan State University. Her fellowship will be with the European branch of Action for Solidarity, Equality, Environment and Diversity (A SEED) located in Amsterdam, Netherlands. During Anna’s fellowship, she will be working on the European World Bank Bonds Boycott Campaign. Her work will include research and analysis of the World Bank, writing articles, assisting with publications, updating the website, and grassroots outreach to strengthen the European Campaign. The mission of the campaign is to educate and persuade socially responsible financial institutions in the Global North to stop investing in World Bank Bonds until the World Bank agrees to adopt new policies that respect, rather than exploit, human rights and the environment in the Global South.

 

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David Johnson
UNHCR Regional Office for the U.S. and the Caribbean
Washington DC, USA

David Johnson is a rising third year student at the University of Minnesota Law School. During the summer of 200, he will be working with the Legal Section of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Regional Office for the United States and the Caribbean in Washington, DC. As a volunteer intern, David will assist UNHCR in its mission to promote and safeguard the rights of refugees. His duties will include providing legal counseling to asylum seekers, monitoring legislation affecting refugees, drafting advisory opinions regarding international refugee law, and preparing for UNHCR missions to detention centers to monitor the welfare of asylum seekers.

 

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Jennifer Johnson
UN Sub-Commission for Human Rights
Geneva, Switzerland

Jennifer Johnson is entering her third year of law school at the University of Minnesota. She is working for the United Nations Sub-Commission on Human Rights under Ms. Barbara Frey, the UN Special Rapporteur on Small Arms and Light Weapons. Jennifer will be traveling with Ms. Frey to Belfast, Northern Ireland for a conference on women’s roles in transitional societies. She will also travel to London to attend meetings with NGO’s working in the field of small arms and light weapons research and advocacy. Jennifer will have the opportunity to spend time in Geneva, while the 57th Session of the Sub-Commission meets. Jennifer’s primary responsibilities throughout her fellowship include assisting Ms. Frey in compiling Draft Principles on the Prevention of Human Rights Violations committed with Small Arms to be reviewed by the Sub-Commission during its 57th Session, researching human rights jurisprudence associated with small arms violence and the responsibilities of States to use due diligence in addressing human rights violations committed with small arms, and writing a paper on the gendered implications of small arms violence. During the summer of 2004, Jennifer participated in an academic human rights program in Galway, Ireland with the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Jennifer would like to practice law in the human rights arena.

 


Mara Michaletz
Voting Rights Project
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Mara Michaletz is currently a second-year student at the University of Minnesota Law School. She will be working for the Voting Rights Project of the ACLU is located in Atlanta, Georgia. Their mission is improving voters’ rights throughout the United States. The Project is currently challenging legislative redistricting which creates a “supermajority� of Indians that dilutes their vote, or districting which unfairly splits Indian communities and blocks Indians from holding public office. She will be assisting with the research and litigation of these redistricting suits, as well as preparing for the 2007 reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act.

 

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Ted Meinhover
FORUM-Asia
Bangkok, Thailand

Kofi Annan, in the May/ June 2005 edition of Foreign Affairs, said, “Future generations will not forgive us if we continue down this path.� Speaking about the lack of cooperation at an international level, it is obvious that, for the cause of Human Rights to be a successful one, communication and action must take place at a global level. The importance of the Human Rights Center’s Fellowship program is therefore obvious.

Ted Meinhover, a native of Ottertail, Minnesota, is a final year undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He is pursuing degrees in Global Studies and Journalism/ Communications. He is currently an intern with the Human Rights organization Forum Asia, a regional body based in Bangkok, Thailand. Forum Asia focuses on the protection of human rights in Asia through its activities and the sharing of information among organizations, activists, and governments in the region. It has member organizations in many countries around the region, and deals with a myriad of issues such as women’s rights, displaced persons, refugees, human rights defenders, and many others. At Forum Asia, Ted is focusing on the Human Rights implications of the December 26 Tsunami that devastated many places in the region.

He is also a member of the task force that is working with groups in Aceh, Indonesia, to resolve the ongoing conflict there and work on the peace process. His internship involves many other activities including fact finding, delivering press conferences, training, and others. After returning to Minnesota, Ted looks forward to helping others understand the importance of Human Rights as well as the issues in South East Asia. He hopes to build stronger ties at a transnational level so that Human Rights Defenders can support each other around the world.

 

 

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Ana Lisa Peña
Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM)
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

From June 1 until August 1, 2005, Ana Lisa Peña will provide direct legal assistance and education to low-income victims of domestic violence in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota who are petitioning U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for protection under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Ana will work under the direction of the Supervising Attorney of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM), a St. Paul, Minnesota non profit, independent organization that provides assistance in immigration matters to low-income immigrant and refugee families and individuals in Minnesota. The ILCM’s services consist of direct legal representation and community education, and likewise, Ana will provide both direct legal representation and community outreach.

 

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Franklin Reed
Kingdom Oil and the Great Lakes Region Task Force
Rwanda

Franklin Reed graduated from the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Minnesota Law School. His fellowship will take him to Rwanda to work with Kingdom Oil and the Great Lakes Regional Task Force (The Partnership). He will work directly on a micro lending program which is geared towards a greater vision of economic recovery for mothers (and their children) who survived the genocide. Also, he will have the opportunity to assist the Partnership in developing a program geared toward community building and reconciliation. Currently, Mr. Reed works with the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis.

 

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Laura Shattuck
Legal Aid of Cambodia (LOC)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Laura Shattuck is currently pursuing a J.D. and a M.P.A. at the University of South Dakota, and she received a B.A. from St. Olaf College. Her fellowship will be with Legal Aid of Cambodia (LAC), a non-profit, non-governmental association of lawyers dedicated to serving the legal needs of Cambodians who are unable to afford adequate legal representation. As a legal intern, she will work directly with LAC lawyers and investigators to provide legal support to victims of trafficking and advocate against trafficking in Cambodia. Upon returning home from the fellowship, she plans to raise awareness in South Dakota about human trafficking concerns in Cambodia through campus forums and interactions with her local community.

 

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John Van Rooy
Comision Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz (CIJP)
Bogota, Colombia

John Van Rooy is currently a junior at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN and is majoring in Peace Studies and the Spanish Language. His fellowship will allow him to work with the Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz (Intereclesial Commission of Justice and Peace), a non-profit in Bogotá, Colombia, which works with peasant communities who have been the object of forced displacement. As an intern with CIJP, John will have the opportunity to participate in the organizational process of the communities, help set up education workshops, and formulate reports about the communities to present to international organizations.

 

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Fordam Otieno Wara

International Leadership Institute
Kids Home International
Kenya

Blog

Fordam Otieno Wara is an Associate with Blackwell Igbanugo P.A. practicing in the areas of commercial litigation, immigration & nationality law, and international trade. He received his law degree at the University of Minnesota law school and is admitted to the Minnesota State Bar. His fellowship aims to raise awareness on the need for protecting the human rights of street children within the Kenyan juvenile justice system. Beginning September of 2005, he will work with the International Leadership Institute to organize seminars and conduct targeted interviews in Kenya involving individuals and institutions working in child protection initiatives. He will then establish a resource center to spearhead the public awareness campaign.

 

*Note: The Human Rights Center provided additional funding support to Jeff Morierty.

 

 

 


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