Third-year Penn Law student Kathleen Norland L’13 has been awarded the inaugural 2013-14 ACE Rule of Law & Human Rights Fellowship. This innovative post-graduate fellowship, given annually to a Penn Law student or recent graduate pursuing an international public-interest career, supports a year of work with Human Rights First, a preeminent legal advocacy organization.
After graduating in May, Norland will spend a year with Human Rights First, working primarily with the Refugee Protection Program, which advances the rights of refugees, including the right to seek asylum.
Norland, who founded the Penn Law chapter of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project, is a candidate for a joint-degree in Penn’s Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations.
“Kate’s strong background in refugee representation and advocacy, as well as her fluency in Arabic and deep knowledge of the Middle East, are a perfect match for this fellowship,” said Human Rights First President & CEO Elisa Massimino. “We feel privileged that Human Rights First will be where she launches what we feel confident will be a remarkably impactful career.”
The ACE Rule of Law Fellowship is funded by the ACE Charitable Foundation and ACE Limited General Counsel Robert Cusumano, a 1980 Penn Law graduate. It was established in 2012 to create new pathways for students to build careers in international rule of law and human rights. The fellowship reflects ACE’s leadership in supporting rule of law projects in the United States and around the world.
Human Rights First is an independent advocacy and action organization that builds bipartisan coalitions and teams up with frontline activists and lawyers to tackle human rights issues that demand American leadership. Its projects range from protecting refugees and combating torture to defending persecuted minorities and stopping atrocities.
Norland will work with Human Rights First’s Refugee Protection Program, which advocates for access to asylum and for U.S. compliance with international refugee and human rights laws. Each year, the program helps hundreds of individual refugees in the United States to win asylum through its pro bono Asylum Legal Representation Program.
The broader partnership established by Penn Law and Human Rights First also supports the development of curricular and extracurricular initiatives in human rights and the rule of law. Massimino will be the Penn Law Fellow-in-Residence from March 11 – 13, during which time she will work with students and faculty to explore current issues shaping the international human rights agendas.
A historical leader in teaching international and comparative law, the University of Pennsylvania Law School has built upon this foundation over the past several years to create an International Program offering unrivaled opportunities for students to gain firsthand experience with what it means to practice law in an international setting and to pursue careers that make a difference in the world.