Law School's Schell Center Appoints New Directors, Awards Bernstein Fellowships

The Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School has announced two major appointments and awarded Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Fellowships to three graduates of the Law School.

Law School Dean Anthony Kronman announced that Paul Kahn, the Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Professor of Law at Yale and a 1980 graduate of the School, will be the Schell Center’s new director. James Silk, director of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights and a 1989 graduate of the School, will be the new executive director. Kahn succeeds Harold Hongju Koh, who was director of the Schell Center from 1993-1998, and is now serving as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor.

Fellowships will be given to Jonathan Freiman, Jaya Ramji and Mark Templeton.

The Schell Center was established at the Law School in 1989, through the generous support of the John Merck Fund and friends of the late Orville H. Schell, Jr., a distinguished New York City lawyer who was vice chairman of Helsinki Watch and chairman of Americas Watch from its founding until his death in 1987. The Center, building on Schell’s work through rigorous scholarship and human rights advocacy, gives the Law School community and the wider public insights on human rights issues. The Center provides fellowships, publications, an online human rights library (called DIANA), seminars, conferences and lectures throughout the year. The work of the Law School’s Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Law Project and the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic also fall under the Schell Center domain.

This year’s Bernstein Symposium, held in April, drew more than 50 representatives from university-based human rights programs across the country to discuss common challenges and aspirations and to lay the groundwork for future cooperation among university human rights programs. The symposium marked the Schell Center’s 10th anniversary and celebrated the announcement of this year’s Bernstein Fellowship recipients.

The Robert L. Bernstein Fellowships in International Human Rights were established in 1997 to honor Bernstein’s work in the human rights arena. The fellowships provide a year of financial support for up to three Yale Law School graduates who wish to pursue international human rights work. The 1999-2000 Bernstein Fellows are:

Jonathan Freiman, LAW ‘98, a three-year member of the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Law Clinic at Yale Law School, served as its student director from May 1997 until his graduation in February 1998. As student director, he supervised the litigation team in Doe V. Karadzic, developed class segments on international law, and coordinated teams researching issues in foreign sovereign immunity law, international environmental law, and international criminal law. Prior to this, he worked on briefs and motions in cases before the Supreme Court and the Fifth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals. After graduating from the Law School, Freiman was a visiting lecturer at Yale University, where he taught an undergraduate seminar, Collective Violence and Memory.

Freiman will use his Bernstein fellowship to research the teaching of international human rights law in three foreign nations and the U.S., and develop a model international human rights curriculum that can be integrated into some of the core first-year law school classes.

Jaya Ramji, LAW ‘99, was drawn to law school generally and Yale specifically because of her interest in international human rights. The School’s Schell Center and the Lowenstein Clinic and Project, along with the Immigration Clinic, helped to shape her future aspirations. She worked on the Cambodian Genocide Program in 1996 and was budget director of the Lowenstein Project in 1997. A Schell fellowship during the summer of 1997 found her working in Phnom Penh under the auspices of the Documentation Center of Cambodia. Following that she worked with the Lowenstein Clinic for two years on the Doe v. Karadzic case, and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture.

As a Bernstein fellow, Ramji will be working in Kampala, Uganda, providing services to protect the rights of refugees. Although Uganda currently hosts more than 200,000 registered refugees, there are no nongovernmental organizations specifically providing rights to refugees, nor is there an organized refugee-processing system. Ramji plans to create a refugee rights program that can be reproduced after her departure from Uganda.

Mark Templeton, LAW ‘99, came to the Law School with a strong interest in international affairs and economic development, and concentrated on his professional development in human rights. During Law School, he spent a year as the student director of the Lowenstein Clinic, and participated in numerous international legal research and advocacy projects. He also spent the summer after his first year on a Coca-Cola World Fund at Yale University grant working with Ravi Nair, one of India’s leading human rights activists, on projects relating to freedom of expression and the media in India.

As a Bernstein fellow, Templeton will expand on his work in India, conducting documentation missions in Southeast Asia, and will train indigenous non-governmental organizations in international human rights techniques and legal arguments. He plans to help Ravi Nair establish the Bangkok office of Human Rights Documentation Center, Inc., an organization that has had success in putting pressure on governments and other human rights violators to respect human rights.

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Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325