HRP Awards 2020-2021 Post-Graduate Fellowships
The Human Rights Program (HRP) is pleased to present its 2020-2021 Post-Graduate Fellowship cohort. This year, we have awarded Satter and Henigson Fellowships to six remarkable 2020 Harvard Law School (HLS) graduates: Fabiola Alvelais JD’20, Pavani Nagaraja Bhat LLM’20, Niku Jafarnia JD/MPP’20, Ji Yoon Kang JD’20, Delphine Rodrik JD’20, and Rupali Samuel LLM’20.
HRP’s post-graduate fellowships are designed to help launch the careers of students who have demonstrated great promise as advocates while at HLS. This year’s students are graduating into a world altered by the spread of the novel coronavirus. Many of them will begin their fellowships working remotely. As the pandemic exacerbates conditions for the most vulnerable, HRP is more committed than ever to supporting the careers of young professionals devoted to international human rights and social justice. Learn more about the new fellows and their projects below.
Fabiola Alvelais JD’20 is a Henigson Fellow in Human Rights, who will work with Mujeres en Busca de Justicia (MBJ) in La Paz, Bolivia, investigating and addressing the intersectional dimensions of femicide. As a staff attorney with MBJ, she will accompany survivors of gender violence and their families in justice processes.
Fabiola was born and raised in Ciudad Juárez, México. She emigrated to the U.S. at age 17 and studied Economics at the University of Texas at El Paso, graduating with honors. During college, she worked on diversion programs established to prevent the criminalization of children and interned for various judges at the county and federal levels.
As a student at HLS, she developed her passion for human rights, spending five terms in the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC). As a student attorney, Fabiola co-authored a report documenting the high rates of femicide and impunity in Bolivia and contributed to the subsequent advocacy which led the Bolivian government to declare gender violence a national emergency. Later, Fabiola and the IHRC team conducted field investigations on the 2019 Bolivian political crisis that resulted in widespread state repression, violence, and the killing of at least 21 indigenous protesters. Fabiola also worked on legal advocacy initiatives to defend the political and socioeconomic rights of marginalized communities in Western Sahara, Puerto Rico, and Ghana. Outside of the Clinic, she was a research assistant for HRP and a board member of La Alianza Latinx student organization.
Pavani Nagaraja Bhat LLM’20 is a Satter Fellow in Human Rights who will work with Legal Action Worldwide in Amman, Jordan. During her fellowship, Pavani will represent survivors of sexual violence perpetrated during the Syrian Civil War. She will work with Syrian Victims Associations and Syrian lawyers in the region to seek accountability for commission of gendered crimes. Her work will also include conducting capacity-building activities of lawyers and building legal strategies with community leaders and victims’ associations.
At HLS, Pavani served as a clinical student at the International Human Rights Clinic. She worked on a project studying the status of women’s leadership in the human rights field. Pavani assisted in shaping the project and interviewed several human rights practitioners regarding their experiences of working in the human rights field. She also served as a member of the Committee of International Students and Global Affairs and as an Article Editor of the Human Rights Journal.
Prior to this, Pavani worked with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, New Delhi on access to justice (police reforms). As Project Officer, she assisted litigation and advocacy to improve police accountability in India. Pavani also conducted capacity-building of police and judges on rights-based policing, arrests and detention. She graduated from National Law University Odisha as the best all-round female student in 2017 with a B.A.LL.B. (Hons.).
Niku Jafarnia JD/MPP’20 is a Satter Fellow in Human Rights who will work with Mwatana for Human Rights, a Yemeni human rights organization. Based in their Beirut, Lebanon office, Niku will spend the year investigating violations of international humanitarian law and war crimes in the Yemeni civil war.
Niku has been working with migrant communities for nine years; she has conducted research and provided legal assistance to refugee and asylum-seeking populations in Turkey, Greece, Kenya, Jordan, Lebanon, Germany, and the U.S. During law school, she served as the Co-President of Harvard Immigration Project and the Middle Eastern Law Student Association, and was a clinical student in the International Human Rights Clinic and the Crimmigration Clinic. In 2017, she assisted the Immigration and Refugee Clinic in drafting amicus curiae briefs to the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court regarding the Muslim Ban. Relevant to the work she will be doing next year, she is currently leading a team in Advocates for Human Rights to analyze how open-source intelligence can be better utilized to understand the humanitarian impact of airstrikes in Yemen.
Prior to graduate school, Niku was a Fulbright Scholar in Turkey. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2014, where she studied political science and urban planning.
Ji Yoon Kang JD’20 is a Henigson Fellow in Human Rights who will work with Asylum Access Malaysia, providing direct legal services for refugees and asylum seekers, conducting “know-your-options” workshops, and engaging with UNHCR and other stakeholders on refugee rights in Malaysia.
At HLS, Ji Yoon spent two semesters in the International Human Rights Clinic, working under Clinical Instructor Yee Htun to promote gender justice and counter hate speech in Myanmar. He also worked as a clinical student in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and as a project leader for HLS Advocates for Human Rights. During the summers, Ji Yoon worked at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and the International Rescue Committee in Thailand.
Ji Yoon holds a BA in History and East Asian Studies from McGill University.
Delphine Rodrik JD’20 is a Satter Fellow in Human Rights who will work with Amnesty International in Tunis, Tunisia. She will research and document patterns of widespread human rights abuses in Libya.
During law school, Delphine spent multiple semesters in the International Human Rights Clinic and led and organized projects with HLS Advocates. She also worked as a clinical student in the Immigration and Refugee Clinic at Greater Boston Legal Services, was co-president of the HLS Immigration Project and co-director of the International Refugee Assistance Project chapter, and worked with asylum seekers in Greece and Mexico. She worked as a research assistant for the Program on International Law and Armed Conflict and held summer internships with Human Rights Watch in Lebanon and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Germany.
Before law school, Delphine worked with the Syrian Legal Development Programme, conducting research on IHL and IHRL issues for Syrian humanitarian and human rights groups, and as reporting and communications officer on a USAID project partnering with Syrian civil society. She graduated from Harvard College with a B.A. in History & Literature and Near Eastern Languages & Civilization.
Rupali Samuel LLM’20 is a Henigson Fellow in Human Rights who will work with Parichay, a nongovernmental human rights initiative providing legal representation to vulnerable persons facing the prospect of statelessness as a result of a citizenship verification exercise conducted in the state of Assam in northeast India. At Parichay, Rupali will lead and coordinate student teams in supporting Parichay’s mission of aiding disenfranchised individuals, both through representation and documentation, as well as engaging in strategic impact litigation.
At HLS, Rupali was a Fulbright-Nehru Masters Fellow who was active in the human rights community. She was a dedicated member of the International Human Rights Clinic and HLS Advocates for Human Rights. In the Clinic, she focused on documentation and research for a report on hate speech against religious and ethnic minorities in Myanmar. Prior to enrolling at HLS, she was an associate in the Law Chambers of Siddharth Aggarwal, where she worked on a variety of cases pro bono, including representing survivors of child sexual abuse in criminal trials and working on antidiscrimination and hate speech cases. In response to rampant sexism in the legal profession, Rupali also founded a non-hierarchical capacity building group for women in criminal litigation that is now at the forefront of combatting sexual harassment among lawyers and judges.
She holds a B.A. and L.L.B (honors) from Nalsar University of Law, Hyderabad. During her undergraduate schooling, she helped design institutionalized mechanisms for promoting equality and nondiscrimination in the law school, including framing a University sexual harassment policy.