First Recipients of New HR Fellowships Announced


New York, NY, April 21, 2005 -- Columbia Law School is pleased to announce the selection of the inaugural recipients of the newly established Henkin-Stoffel Human Rights Fellowship and the David W. Leebron Human Rights Fellowship. Warisha Farasat, a Masters of Law (LL.M.) student from India, will be the first Henkin-Stoffel Human Rights Fellow and Clare McRae, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) student, will be the first David W. Leebron Human Rights Fellow.

The Henkin-Stoffel Human Rights Fellowship was created in admiration of Professor Louis Henkin's leadership in the field of human rights and in recognition of Columbia Law School as a center of excellence in human rights education. This fellowship consists of two one-year placements with one to be located in the developing world. Ms. Farasat expects to divide her two years between the International Center for Transitional Justice (New York) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on the conflict in Kashmir, India.

Ms. Farasat has a strong record of engaged academic work and activism in India, where she was a student at the prestigious National Law School in Bangalore. While at Columbia Law School, she has been extremely active in pursuing academic human rights opportunities and engaging in student life. She is an LL.M. member of the student senate and has been active in organizing human rights related events on campus.

"The committee was impressed by Ms. Farasat's commitment, ability to work with diverse groups, resourcefulness and her courage," said Peter Rosenblum, the Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein Associate Clinical Professor in Human Rights at Columbia Law School and a member of the selection committee. According to Ellen Chapnick, Columbia Law's Dean for Social Justice Initiatives, "Warisha's project involves breaking new ground by bringing the insights of the transitional justice movement to the conflict in Kashmir and she will be forging links that don't otherwise exist."

The David W. Leebron Human Rights Fellowship honors former Columbia Law Dean David Leebron's commitment to providing young graduates with meaningful experiences in human rights law. It will enable a Columbia Law School graduate to spend one year working in human rights law either in the United States or abroad. Clare McRae will work in the offices of Global Rights-Partners for Justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"Clare McRae was chosen for her combination of strong intellectual engagement with, and level-headed approach to, human rights, as well as her dedication," according to Dean Chapnick. "The committee appreciated that her project is the natural outgrowth of the work she did in the Human Rights Clinic and as a summer intern in the Human Rights Internship Program (HRIP)," said Harlene Katzman, Director of the Center for Public Interest Law at Columbia Law School

Next year, she will assist Global Rights' projects to Combat Impunity for grave human rights abuses and further NGO participation in the work of the International Criminal Court. Global Rights is looking forward to being able to deploy Ms. McRae in capacity building projects that both will enhance the ability of local NGO lawyers and activists to prepare investigative dossiers for prosecution before international and national tribunals, and teach them how to protect the information and the witnesses who assist the investigation.

The Henkin-Stoffel selection committee consisted of Professor Louis Henkin, Peter Rosenblum, the Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein Associate Clinical Professor in Human Rights, Ellen Chapnick, Dean for Social Justice Initiatives, Harlene Katzman, Director of the Center for Public Interest Law at Columbia Law School, and Margaret Ladner, Director of the Human Rights Advocates Program at Columbia University. Professor Rosenblum, Dean Chapnick and Director Katzman comprised the Leebron selection committee.