Anna Marie Bulman
As an undergraduate law student at the University of Adelaide in South Australia, and, later, as a member of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Anna Marie Bulman ’15 LL.M. saw the link between law, social justice, and international development. But it was just a year ago—while reading an article on the superfood-craze-driven price spike of quinoa in Bolivia and the ensuing local nutritional implications—that she realized the importance of food in these fields.
The “Aussie” focused on the central role of food in global development during her year at Columbia Law School, building on the concepts she learned in the classroom. She attended a World Bank conference on law, justice, and development in Washington, D.C., and organized a Law School discussion on “Food Democracy” with Olivier de Schutter, the former U.N. rapporteur on the right to food.
“So much of the conflict in the world today is driven by very basic human needs not being met,” Bulman says. “It’s very easy to make the connection between food security and global security. Equitably structured and well-regulated investment in food systems is imperative for development, which, in turn, enhances global security.”
At Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Bulman served as a South Australian coordinator, working within the community to develop understanding on how law and policy might be shaped to improve the realization of human rights in the region.
“Law, in many instances, is inaccessible to people,” she explains, “and I don’t think that needs to be the case. I tried to find ways to draw the broader community in to understand how law was having a positive or negative effect on human rights–related issues, and how community members can take action to achieve change.”
During her second semester at the Law School, Bulman joined the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI)—a joint center of the Law School and Columbia University’s Earth Institute—as a legal intern on the organization’s land and agriculture team. After graduation, she will spend the summer working with CCSI in conjunction with the World Bank Group to develop a searchable online database of land development contracts, which play a significant role in determining the rights of investors and local communities.
Following Bulman’s internship with CCSI, she will move to South Africa to begin work in-residence at the Legal Resources Centre, South Africa’s leading human rights organization. Bulman, a David W. Leebron Human Rights Fellowship recipient, will focus her time there on food security issues related to the often-competing goals of conservation and development.
“I favor the rights-based approach to food security because it allows you to assess how individuals’ needs are or are not being met by larger developmental or conservation decisions,” Bulman says.