Promise Institute 2021 Symposium
Join us on February 26 and 27 for the 2021 Promise Institute Symposium, International Human Rights and Corporate Accountability: Current and Future Challenges, with a keynote from Michael Fakhri, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
Visit the symposium site.
Advancing Human Rights
The Promise Institute for Human Rights is proud to be connected to the legacy of The Promise, the first Hollywood film about the Armenian genocide.
E. Tendayi Achiume is the first woman and first person from southern Africa to serve in the role of Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.
Learn about the Promise Institute's pioneering clinical education.
Sending members of the Legal Observer Mission to the murder trial of Honduran environmental and Indigenous rights activist Berta Cáceres.
The Promise Institute supports student organizations, journals, moot courts, and provides funding for summer and post-graduate fellowships.
The Promise Institute Annual Symposium addresses the most pressing human rights concerns of our time – from race and migration to the climate crisis and corporate accountability.
Who We Are
Directors and Executive Staff
Aslı Ü. BâliProfessor of Law
Faculty Director, Promise Institute for Human Rights
Kate MackintoshExecutive Director, Promise Institute for Human Rights
Catherine SweetserDeputy Director, Promise Institute for Human Rights
Director, International Human Rights Clinic
Jessica PeakeDirector, International and Comparative Law Program
Assistant Director, the Promise Institute for Human Rights
Joseph BerraHuman Rights in the Americas Project Director
Sherry YuanProgram Manager, Promise Institute for Human Rights
Natalie MonsantoCommunications and Development Manager
Law School Affiliated Faculty
Richard L. AbelMichael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus
Distinguished Research Professor
Khaled M. Abou El FadlOmar and Azmeralda Alfi Professor of Law
E. Tendayi AchiumeProfessor of Law
LaToya Baldwin ClarkAssistant Professor of Law
Aslı Ü. BâliProfessor of Law
Faculty Director, Promise Institute for Human Rights
Joseph BerraHuman Rights in the Americas Project Director
William BoydProfessor of Law
Michael J. Klein Chair in Law
Devon W. CarbadoThe Honorable Harry Pregerson Professor of Law
Ann E. CarlsonShirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law
Faculty Co-Director, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
Jennifer M. ChacónProfessor of Law
Kimberlé W. CrenshawDistinguished Professor of Law
Promise Institute Chair in Human Rights
Ingrid EaglyProfessor of Law
Stephen GardbaumStephen Yeazell Endowed Chair in Law
Carole E. GoldbergDistinguished Research Professor
Jonathan D. Varat Distinguished Professor of Law Emerita
Laura E. GómezProfessor of Law
Rachel F. Moran Endowed Chair in Law
Sean B. HechtCo-Executive Director, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
Evan Frankel Professor of Policy and Practice
Co-Director, UCLA Law Environmental Law Clinic
Cara HorowitzAndrew Sabin Family Foundation Co-Executive Director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
Co-Director, UCLA Environmental Law Clinic
Jasleen KohliDirector, Critical Race Studies Program
Máximo LangerDavid G. Price and Dallas P. Price Professor of Law
Director of the UCLA Transnational Program on Criminal Justice
Faculty Director of the UCLA Criminal Justice Program
Kate MackintoshExecutive Director, Promise Institute for Human Rights
Hiroshi MotomuraSusan Westerberg Prager Distinguished Professor of Law
Inaugural Faculty Director, Center for Immigration Law and Policy
Edward A. ParsonDan and Rae Emmett Professor of Environmental Law
Faculty Co-Director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
Sunita PatelAssistant Professor of Law
Faculty Director, UCLA Veterans Legal Clinic
Jessica PeakeDirector, International and Comparative Law Program
Assistant Director, the Promise Institute for Human Rights
Nina RabinDirector of the Immigrant Family Legal Clinic
Kal RaustialaPromise Institute Chair in Comparative and International Law
Director, UCLA Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations
Peter L. ReichLecturer in Law
Academic Director, Law & Communication Intensive
Angela R. RileyProfessor of Law
Director, MA/JD Joint Degree Program in Law and American Indian Studies
Director, Native Nations Law and Policy Center
James SalzmanDonald Bren Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law
Robert Bradley SearsAssociate Dean of Public Interest Law
David Sanders Distinguished Scholar of Law & Policy, The Williams Institute
Interim Executive Director, The Williams Institute
Anna Spain BradleyProfessor of Law
Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Richard H. SteinbergProfessor of Law
Jonathan D. Varat Endowed Chair in Law
Professor of Political Science
Lara StempleAssistant Dean for Graduate Studies and International Student Programs
Director, Health and Human Rights Law Project
Katherine StoneArjay and Frances Fearing Miller Distinguished Professor of Law
Sherod ThaxtonProfessor of Law
Lauren van SchilfgaardeSan Manuel Band of Mission Indians Tribal Legal Development Clinic Director
Alicia ViraniThe Gilbert Foundation Director, Criminal Justice Program
Alex WangProfessor of Law
Karin H. WangExecutive Director, David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy
Professor from Practice
Noah D. ZatzProfessor of Law
Eric M. ZoltMichael H. Schill Distinguished Professor of Law
Visiting Faculty, Fellows and Affiliates
Emily ChertoffResearch Affiliate
Richard DickerLecturer in Law
Saskia Nauenberg DunkellResearch Affiliate
Kyle (Kai) Elliot FeesVisiting Scholar
Hannah Seulgee JungResearch and Advocacy Fellow
Sara KendallResearch Affiliate
Adam KochanskiResearch Affiliate
Petra MolnarResearch Fellow
Alison Dundes RentelnFaculty Affiliate
Serap Ruken SengulDistinguished Research Fellow
Joseph WeilerVisiting Professor
Ralph WildeVisiting Professor
UCLA Wide Affiliated Faculty
Leisy J. AbregoProfessor and Chair of Chicana/o and Central American Studies
Hannah AppelAssociate Professor of Anthropology and Global Studies Associate Director of the Luskin Institute on Inequality & Democracy
Sebouh AslanianProfessor of History and the Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair of Modern Armenian History
Kathy CarbonePostdoctoral Scholar and Lecturer, Department of Information Studies
M. Kamari ClarkeProfessor of Anthropology
Anne GillilandProfessor and Associate Dean for Information Studies Director, Center for Information as Evidence
Ann KaragozianDistinguished Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Inaugural Director, The Promise Armenian Institute at UCLA
David KimAssociate Professor of European Languages and Transcultural Studies
Kelly Lytle HernandezThomas E. Lifka Endowed Chair of History
David MyersProfessor and Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History Director, UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy
Safiya NobleAssociate Professor of Information Studies and African American Studies Co-Founder and Co-Director, UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2)
Sherene RazackDistinguished Professor and Penny Kanner Endowed Chair in Women's Studies, Department of Gender Studies
Geoffrey RobinsonProfessor of History
Michael Rothberg1939 Society Samuel Goetz Chair in Holocaust Studies Professor of English and Comparative Literature
Abel Valenzuela Jr.Professor of Labor Studies, Urban Planning and Chicana/o Studies Director, UCLA’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
Roger WaldingerDistinguished Professor of Sociology Director, UCLA Center for the Study of International Migration
Maite ZubiaurreProfessor, Department of European Languages and Transcultural Studies; Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Areas of Focus
Drawing on the unique strengths and resources of UCLA and the creativity and dynamism of the city of Los Angeles, the Promise Institute makes a major contribution to improving the situation of human rights for people at home and around the world, through empowering a new generation of human rights lawyers and leaders, generating new thinking on human rights, and engaging our students and our research to drive real world positive impact.
Our research and advocacy focus on the following issues that are reshaping our world and that resonate deeply with our location in Los Angeles:
Race, Indigenous Peoples and human rights
Thought Leadership – The Promise Institute supports the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, E. Tendayi Achiume. In Fall 2019, we convened an expert working group on Race, Human Rights, and New Information Technologies. Co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, the session brought together practitioners and scholars to identify areas in need of conceptual development to ensure racial equality in the application of new technologies. This convening informs the report of the UN Special Rapporteur delivered to the United Nations Human Rights Council in July 2020.
Activism and Litigation – The Promise Institute Faculty Director, E. Tendayi Achiume, and Promise Chair in Human Rights, Kimberlé Crenshaw, are leading voices against systemic racism and police brutality in the United States. Deputy Director, Cathy Sweetser, is involved in litigating cases related to the rights of unhoused people and detained people in Los Angeles as well as slavery and forced labor abroad, and our students will be involved with this work through our Human Rights Litigation Clinic, launching Fall 2020. Human Rights in the Americas Project Director, Joe Berra, is working with Indigenous community groups in Honduras to challenge the construction of a hydroelectric dam.
Human Rights and the Protection of the Environment
Promise Institute executive director Kate Mackintosh has joined a panel of leading international lawyers and judges who will work to draft a definition of “ecocide” as a potential international crime alongside terms including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Mackintosh will serve as co-deputy chair of the panel, which will start work this month and present a draft early next year. The group was convened by the Stop Ecocide foundation following requests from government leaders in Sweden. Its work begins as international human rights advocates mark the 75th anniversary of the start of the Nuremberg trials of Nazi officials.
For Mackintosh and the Promise Institute, the ecocide work continues recent initiatives to curb crimes in the environmental sphere. Earlier this year, the institute co-sponsored a symposium, “Human Rights and the Climate Crisis,” that drew more than 250 participants and featured keynote addresses from Honduran activist Bertha Zúñiga Cáceres and Kumi Naidoo, the former executive director of Greenpeace and secretary general of Amnesty International.
After that event, Mackintosh convened an expert workshop on the potential for international criminal law to address environmental harm. Read the outcome report of the meeting. The group was asked to provide legal advice to the European Parliament on how to bolster environmental protection through international criminal law. The European Commission has since agreed that a crime of ecocide will be part of reflections around amending its existing directive on environmental crimes.
Migration and Human Rights
UN Rapporteurship – UN Special Rapporteur E. Tendayi Achiume is reconceptualizing the way we think about colonialism, race, and borders together with international law and critical race scholars.
Student Opportunities – The Promise Institute provides funds to subsidize student travel to the U.S.-Mexico border to provide Know-Your-Rights trainings to asylum seekers impacted by the U.S.' Remain in Mexico Policy.
Experiential Education – The Human Rights Litigation Clinic supports student research, advocacy, and litigation in support of immigration detainees held in local facilities.
Thought Leadership – In 2020-21 the Promise Institute will convene "The Migration and Human Rights Big Think," bringing together activists and academics to radically reconceptualize how human rights can articulate and support the experience of contemporary migrants.
The Promise Institute is proud to support the Migration and Technology Monitor, a new initiative launched in October 2020 that monitors the use of surveillance technologies, automation, and the use of Artificial Intelligence to screen, track, and make decisions about people crossing borders, highlighting the far reaching impacts on people’s rights and lives.
Technology and human rights
Thought Leadership – In support of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, E. Tendayi Achiume, the Promise Institute convened an expert group meeting on Race, Technology and Borders. Co-sponsored with the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, this convening brought together leading experts to think about how technology is utilized in discriminatory ways at existing borders and how technology can create new borders that have disparate impacts on the basis of race, citizenship, and nationality. The convening will inform an upcoming report of the UN Special Rapporteur.
Interdisciplinary Human Rights Research Support – the Promise Institute provided seed funding to Kamari Clarke, UCLA Professor of Anthropology, for a project on "Evidence and Justice in a Post-Truth World." This project explores the ways that human rights documentation is inspiring the development of human rights technology applications; Professor Clarke recently received funding from the National Science Foundation to continue this work.
Promise Institute assistant director Jess Peake recently received a grant to launch a Human Rights Open Source Investigations Lab at UCLA Law, in collaboration with UC Berkeley Human Rights Center and the UC Santa Cruz Research Center for the Americas. Beginning in Spring 2021, UCLA Law students will be able to receive training in open source investigation methodology and use those skills to investigate and authenticate human rights violations around the world.
Accountability for human rights violations
Experiential Education – The Human Rights Litigation Clinic has as a key focus accountability for corporations who commit human rights violations. In Spring 2020, we launched UCLA Law in the Hague, an externship program that allows students to work at an international court in the Hague, the Netherlands, while also studying a course on "International Courts in Practice."
Distinguished Fellow in Residence – In Spring 2020, Richard Dicker, International Justice Project Director at Human Rights Watch, was a Distinguished Fellow in Residence at the Promise Institute. During his time at UCLA Law, Richard taught a course on "Prospects for International Justice," and wrote a briefing paper on the Future of the International Criminal Court, informed by a convening of experts hosted by the Promise Institute.
Thought Leadership – In Spring 2020, the Promise Institute and the American Society of International Law Task Force co-hosted a consultation on Policy Options on US engagement with the ICC. In 2020-2021, the Promise Institute plans to continue its work on accountability throughout supply chains of U.S. corporations.
Click here for reports issued by the Promise Institute and affiliated programs and entities.
ICCforum.com is an innovative online legal journal cooperatively undertaken by the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC OTP). The Forum, launched in 2010, allows members of the legal community, governments, academics, and others to debate complex issues of international criminal law faced by the Office of the Prosecutor in the course of its work at the ICC.
UCLA Law students and faculty work with the International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor, legal scholars and practitioners from around the world, as well as technology experts, to run the Forum. Students make a semester-long commitment to the project, researching and analyzing pressing issues that bear on the legal and institutional development of the International Criminal Court and that demand the attention of the prosecutor, Fatou B. Bensouda.
Professor Richard H. Steinberg is Editor-in-Chief of the Forum, which was launched on September 1, 2010 during the tenure of the first Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.
The forum publishes two issues per year addressing a pressing legal question facing the Office of the Prosecutor.
The most recent, eighteenth question, is:
Is it appropriate or effective for the United States to attempt to influence the actions of the International Criminal Court by means of the sanctions set forth in President Trump’s June 2020 Executive Order?
For other questions addressed by the forum please visit www.iccforum.com
The Promise Human Rights Blog was founded in 2019 as a platform for UCLA Law students to advance domestic and international human rights. The blog is run by J.D. and LL.M. candidates who are dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights, here in Los Angeles and around the world. For more information see www.promisehumanrights.blog
- Back to school for the Promise Institute
- Trump's attacks on Critical Race Theory
- Promise Spearheads Accountability For Crimes Against The Environment
- Alarm At Civilian Victims Of Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh Conflict
- Supreme Court Brief Filed On Child Slavery In The Chocolate Industry
- The Migration and Technology Monitor Launches at the Promise Institute
- Human Rights in the Americas
Spring 2020 – Summer 2020
- Promise Institute Online Resources
- News and action at the Promise Institute!
- Promise Institute launches new Human Rights in the Americas Project
- Congratulations to the Class of 2020!
- News from the Promise Institute (June 1)
- News from the Promise Institute (June 8)
- News from the Promise Institute (June 15)
- Poetry in Residence at the Promise Institute
- Human Rights, Racial Equality and New IT
- Crossroads for the International Criminal Court
The Promise Institute submits amicus briefs in cases that involve issues of international human rights.
Amicus briefs that the Promise Institute has authored or co-signed can be found here.
The Promise Institute for Human Rights presents events, symposia, interviews with human rights leaders and more in our five thematic focus areas in pursuit of our goal of generating new thinking on human rights and driving positive impact through ideas exchange.
- March 16, 2018, Lights. Camera. Reaction: The Art of Impact in Entertainment Summit
- October 11, 2018, Prosecuting Evil: a conversation with Ben Ferencz, the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials
- January 28, 2019, Interview with Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, President of the International Criminal Court
You can watch all of our videos on the Promise Institute YouTube Channel.
The Promise Institute Podcast hosts critical conversations on human rights with practitioners and thought leaders. You can check out the podcast at https://promiseinstitutepodcast.buzzsprout.com/ and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
Learn more about the Promise Institute's career counseling and post-graduate fellowships on the Institute's Careers page.
Aaron Acosta ('18) is a Transitional Justice Researcher at Dejusticia, a Colombian NGO based in Bogotá, as well as an associate researcher at the UKRI GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub. Currently, Aaron's work focuses on corporate accountability for economic actors in the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) and victims' access to land restitution in Colombia's land restitution process. Before being employed by Dejusticia, Aaron spent a year at Dejusticia as a Promise Institute for Human Rights Fellow, where he researched transitional justice issues and International Humanitarian Law in the Colombian context.
Since graduating law school in 2017, Natasha Babazadeh has pursued opportunities to advance her public-interest litigation and advocacy skills. Recently, through its Honors Program, Natasha started working in the Appellate Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. She writes briefs for and argue cases before federal appellate courts on a variety of civil rights issues, including housing and employment discrimination, police brutality, desegregation in schools, hate crimes, and so much more. Prior to this, Natasha clerked in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Nashville) and in the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago). And before that, she served as an Appellate Advocacy Fellow with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington, D.C. Through UCLA Law's Promise Institute and International and Comparative Law Program (ICLP), I took many courses, attended events, and built relationships that have helped me to pursue my dreams of being a human rights lawyer on both a domestic and international level.
Laura Bloom earned her JD from UCLA School of Law in 2018 with an International and Comparative Law Specialization. Since then, Laura has worked for the UK-based legal charity, Reprieve. Reprieve supports individuals facing extreme human rights abuses, including the death penalty and abusive counter-terror measures such as arbitrary detention and torture. As part of their Secret Prisons Team, Laura provides legal and investigative support to clients detained in North East Syria and Guantanamo Bay, and assists former Guantanamo Bay detainees as they try to rebuild their lives.
Of her time at UCLA Law, Laura says "I would not be where I am today without the support of the Promise Institute and the UCLA International and Comparative Law Program. Through UCLA, I was able to take a range of human rights courses that have proved crucial to my professional development. I also conducted research for Professor Aslı Bâli, spent a semester at the UN OHCHR, interned at a grassroots organization in Benin, and served as rapporteur at a human rights conference in Nepal. Finally, I began my career at Reprieve as an inaugural Promise Institute Fellow. Today, I continue to benefit from the support and advice of professors and administrators within the Promise Institute and the International and Comparative Law Program. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had at UCLA and to be in a position where I can meaningfully work on issues I care deeply about."
Amanda Brown earned her JD from UCLA School of Law in 2020 with specializations in Critical Race Studies, International and Comparative Law, and Public Interest Law and Policy. As a recipient of the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law & UC Office of the President Public Service Law Fellowship, Amanda is working to counter the fortressing of borders and to defend the rights of people on the move. As a Legal Trainee on the Migration team of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and as a Legal Researcher with the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), Amanda is using strategic litigation to challenge border violence, pushbacks, racial discrimination and other human rights violations in the context of migration. She credits the faculty of the Promise Institute with giving her the skills, knowledge, exposure and mentorship to pursue this work, and thanks Professor Achiume in particular for the relevant guidance extended in her International Human Rights Law clinic and course and her semesters of supervision on independent research. Amanda regards Professor Achiume's teaching as having significantly advanced her work on the intersections of race and migration and as having equipped her to file a recent communication with the UN Human Rights Committee, where she was GLAN's lead author of a complaint filed against Greece alleging the enforced disappearance of a Syrian refugee. During law school, Amanda worked with various organizations on projects relating to statelessness, sea rescue, immigration and asylum services, and human rights accountability in global migration governance. She served as a Research Assistant for the Promise Institute during her 2L and 3L years and was the founding editor of the Promise Human Rights Blog.
Astghik Hairapetian graduated with a J.D. in 2020 and is currently working with the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) as an intern in the Human Mobility Project. The work involves a number of issues related to migration in Mesoamerica, such as the impact of COVID-19 on immigration detention centers and the Asylum Cooperative Agreements the U.S. has entered into with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The project is based primarily in CEJIL's Costa Rica office, and Astghik is completing the internship remotely. While a student at UCLA Law, Astghik was closely affiliated with the Promise Institute: she took part in the Human Rights in Action Clinic International Field Experience in Honduras while in law school, competed in the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition, and worked on a variety of Promise Institute projects.
Paula Mora graduated in 2020 with a specialization in Human Rights and in International and Comparative Law at UCLA and was the recipient of the Promise Institute LL.M. award for outstanding contributions to the field of human rights upon graduation. Paula is currently undertaking a prestigious fellowship at the Office of the Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights (ESCER) at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Paula is conducting research on the situation of ESCER in the Americas, drafting country reports, as well as press releases. Additionally, she is supporting a project to develop guidelines and standards from the Inter-American System on climate change from a human rights perspective.
Ben Shea graduated from UCLA Law in 2014 specializing in international human rights law. After becoming a member of the New York Bar, Ben moved to Geneva, Switzerland to pursue further studies and to seek career opportunities in international organizations. He currently works for the Business and Human Rights Unit of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. In that position, Ben leads the work of the office's Accountability and Remedy Project, which seeks to enhance accountability and access to remedy in cases of business-related human rights abuse. Ben is also part of the secretariat of an intergovernmental working group tasked with elaborating an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises. UCLA Law provided Ben the substantive knowledge and practical experiences needed to engage in international human rights legal work. Ben credits the invaluable support of the faculty, and the connections he made through events and friendships, at UCLA Law for his career opportunities.
Tanya Sukhija-Cohen graduated from UCLA Law in 2013. She is currently an attorney at Hadsell Stormer Renick & Dai LLP in Pasadena, and she specializes in civil rights, employment, and international human rights law. Prior to joining the firm, Tanya clerked for the Honorable Dena Hanovice Palermo of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. She previously worked as a civil rights attorney at the Law Offices of Dale K. Galipo on cases involving police excessive force, prisoner rights, and wrongful convictions. Straight out of law school, Tanya worked as a Legal Fellow and then as a Program Officer at Equality Now in New York and Kenya, where she represented victims of gender-based violence in impact litigation cases before international human rights tribunals including the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. She also engaged in policy advocacy to end violence against women and girls and improve their access to justice in over 40 countries around the world. While at UCLA Law, Tanya worked with the U.S. Department of State monitoring cases involving war crimes and crimes against humanity in The Hague, non-profits in both California and South Africa aimed at ending gender-based violence, and another prominent civil rights law firm in California on cases involving torture and other international human rights violations.
Shireen Tavakoli earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) with a specialization in International and Comparative Law from UCLA School of Law in 2017. She is one of the first recipients of the Promise Institute Fellowship, which gave her the opportunity to work for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) following her graduation. When her fellowship term ended, Shireen secured a position at UNHCR as a Refugee Status Determination (RSD) Associate. In this role, Shireen adjudicated refugee claims lodged in the Caribbean region, and led the region's strategic litigation efforts. After three years of serving the agency in Washington DC, Shireen moved back to Los Angeles to start her own law firm. In her practice, she advises businesses and startups on international agreements and treaties affecting their operation in a wide range of industries, including entertainment and art. The Promise Institute Fellowship was integral in Shireen's career trajectory; it gave her the opportunity to start a career in international law, and eventually led to her admission at the University of Oxford, where she is currently finalizing her Master of Studies in international human rights law.
Jess Temple graduated from UCLA School of Law in 2016. Of her time at UCLA Law, Jess says: "As an active International and Comparative Law Program (ICLP) student, I gained a substantive foundation and robust legal skillset (in and out of the classroom) related to human rights. Immediately following graduation, and with the instrumental support of ICLP faculty, I secured a fellowship with an international human rights nonprofit working to address access to justice issues, predominantly within the Inter-American and African regional human rights systems. In the wake of the 2016 United States presidential election, I turned my attention to domestic human rights. I worked to amplify the impact of rural legal service and community-based organizations and to provide urgent immigration and criminal justice direct legal services. I continue to apply a human rights framework in my current position as a Staff Attorney at Rubicon Programs, a Bay Area based nonprofit focused on the intersections of economic, racial, and criminal justice. I am responsible for a broad range of civil legal services as a part of an integrated team of legal, financial, employment, and mental health professionals dedicated to providing holistic services to our participants. What strikes me as I look back on my journey so far is how much the connections I made through ICLP have helped me navigate a particular corner of the law, human rights law, that I find immensely rewarding. In an under resourced sector, with comparatively low compensation and high competition, those connections truly make the difference - whether it's an email or conversation about a job posting, a letter of recommendation, a networking opportunity, or mentorship and support, these connections have been incredibly valuable to me personally, and professionally."
Kristi Ueda received her J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 2019 with specializations in International and Comparative Law, Critical Race Studies, and Public Interest Law and Policy. She is currently a Staff Attorney at Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles's Right to Counsel Workgroup, where she represents indigent clients to expand access to justice and prevent homelessness. Previously, she was the Promise Institute for Human Rights Fellow in Human Rights Watch's Africa Division, where she advocated against xenophobic violence and barriers to basic services experienced by asylum seekers, refugees, and other migrants in South Africa. Reflecting on her time in law school, she says, "I owe so much to the Promise Institute and International and Comparative Law Program. Their programming and faculty introduced me to critical scholarship such as Third World Approaches to International Law and supported me to pursue a wide range of experiences to develop my skillset as a human rights lawyer domestically and internationally. With their support and encouragement, I competed in the Jean Pictet International Humanitarian Law Competition, participated in an oral advocacy simulation at the International Criminal Court, and networked at international law conferences around the world. I am so thankful for all of the opportunities I have had and continue to have through the Promise Institute and International and Comparative Law Program."
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