Salzburg Cutler Fellows’ Weekend in Washington

Pictured left to right: Katherine Ebright ’18, Tamer Mallat ’18, Candy Ofime ’17, Joanna Caytas ’17, Professor Matthew Waxman, and Clava Brodsky ’17

For students planning to pursue careers in international and national security law, the annual Salzburg Cutler Law Fellows Program in Washington, D.C., is the holy grail. The two-day conference is an opportunity for five Columbia Law School students to present research papers to their peers from 10 other elite law schools and to get feedback from them, as well as from high-profile practitioners and professors known for cutting-edge scholarship.

“What’s really great about the program is that it gives students an insider’s glimpse of Washington, D.C.,” said Tamer Mallat ’18, who delivered a paper on the rule of law and comparative constitutionalism. “For those students who aspire one day to serve in government or to contribute to public service in some capacity or another, this fellowship represents a unique opportunity to gain exposure to a truly fascinating world and to meet some of the key actors who make it what it is.”

Mallat and the other Columbia Law School fellows—Katherine Ebright ’18, Candy Ofime ’17, Joanna Caytas ’17, and Clava Brodsky ’17—were chosen through a competitive application process overseen by Matthew C. Waxman, the Liviu Librescu Professor of Law and faculty chair of the Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security, who accompanied them to the capital. “It’s a great opportunity for these students to discuss their projects with leaders in the field,” said Waxman.

The program opened at the United States Institute of Peace with an address on Feb. 24 by Jared Genser, founder of Freedom Now, a nonprofit organization aiming to free prisoners of conscience around the world through focused legal, political, and public relations advocacy efforts. On Feb. 25, the keynote address was delivered by Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank, who grew up in Communist Bulgaria and spoke of how her country and its European neighbors have learned through previous crises that nations cannot try to confront their problems independently. “I hope we do not have to learn in the hardest way possible that we are in this world together,” she said.

Caytas said she appreciated not only the opportunity to have intimate conversations with other students, professors, and practitioners at the formal dinner held at the Army & Navy Club, but also the informal career counseling they offered. “The speakers gave very personal advice on reconciling private practice with ambitions for public service and how to manage transitions in either direction from time to time,” she said.

Mallat said he was especially inspired by getting to discuss international and security law with heavyweights such as Michael Bahar, minority staff director and general counsel at the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligenceand John Bellinger III, who was legal adviser for the U.S. Department of State under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from 2005 to 2009. Said Mallat: “It reinforced my commitment and hope to make a meaningful contribution to the international legal community.”

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Posted on March 15, 2017

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