Fordham Law

Tolan Fellowship Recipients Announced for 2009-10

April 08, 2009

Fordham Law's Leitner Center for International Law and Justice announced the recipients of the 2009-2010 James E. Tolan Fellowship in International Human Rights. They are Sarah Braasch '09, Aya Fujimura-Fanselow '04, and a third student whose identity is being withheld for security reasons.

The postgraduate fellowship, awarded on an annual or biannual basis, funds Fordham Law graduates' work for an international human rights organization for one year.

The fellowship is named in honor of James Tolan, a longtime supporter of the Crowley Program. Mr. Tolan is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law (LL.B., 1962), where he was the Case-Notes Editor of Fordham Law Review. He is a member of Board of the Fordham Law Alumni Association, a past President and recipient of its Medal of Achievement, and a recipient of the Dean's Medal of Recognition. Mr. Tolan is currently Senior Counsel at Dechert LLP and a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

About the Recipients

Sarah Braasch will work with Ni Putes, Ni Soumises (NPNS) in Paris, France, which works to combat gender discrimination and violence. NPNS promotes the aims of gender desegregation, equality, and secularism to advance human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. Sarah will contribute to the work of NPNS by helping them create a sexual and reproductive rights project, focused on women residing in the insular Muslim immigrant communities in the ghettoized suburbs of Paris. Sarah previously worked in Rabat, Morocco, at the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights (Organisation Marocaine des Droits Humains, or OMDH) with the support of a Leitner Fellowship. Sarah also interned at the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin, and the United Nations Development Programme in New York. She was a student in the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic in Spring 2008. She received her undergraduate degrees in aerospace engineering and mechanics and mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1997.

Aya Fujimura-Fanselow will be based in Kathmandu, Nepal, with the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). The ICTJ, which established a full-time presence in Nepal in August 2007, works with countries pursuing accountabilities for past atrocities and human rights abuses by participating in the development of integrated, comprehensive, and localized approaches to transitional justice. Aya will work with the ICTJ and their partner organizations, including Advocacy Forum, to disseminate a forthcoming report on the impact of the recent 10-year long "people's war" on women. She will assist the ICTJ, Advocacy Forum, and other local partners as they advocate for increased participation by women in the transitional justice process. Aya also will be involved in capacity-building efforts with the goal of ensuring that NGOs have the information and tools to document gender-based violence. Finally, working closely with the National Women's Commission, Aya will monitor transitional justice initiatives and provide analyses to ensure that gender is integrated into this process. She has previously worked with Amnesty International in Tokyo, the Fourth World Movement in New York, the Center for Reproductive Rights' International Legal Program in New York, and, most recently, the International Center for Transitional Justice in New York. Immediately following her graduation from Fordham Law, she was a Georgetown Women's Law and Public Policy Fellow based at Bread for the City in Washington, D.C.

A third Tolan Fellow will work with Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) division on topics related to child rights, women's rights, and due process in the region. Human Rights Watch is one of the world's leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention to where human rights are violated, HRW gives voice to the oppressed and holds oppressors accountable for their crimes. The Middle East and North Africa division is one of six regional divisions. The identity of the fellow is being withheld for security reasons.


Contact: Libby Mooers