Professor Evelyn Aswad’s Human Rights Practicum class has spent the spring semester working on a Diplomacy Lab project for the U.S. Department of State. Diplomacy Lab is a State Department program that provides the opportunity for universities to help the department with pressing research needs on foreign affairs matters. The class project is focused on researching laws in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Eurasia that infringe on international law protections for freedom of expression. The trip to Washington was made possible by a grant from main campus.
The students began their visit in Washington by meeting with international human rights experts at Freedom House and Human Rights First, two of the leading NGOs in this space. During these meetings, the students discussed their research with a variety of country-specific and thematic experts to gain additional insights for their research projects.
“The NGO meetings were extremely helpful in developing our presentations,” said 2L Kevin Cartwright. “It was difficult to brainstorm negotiation positions for the State Department to utilize when discussing international obligations with foreign countries. The NGO experts collectively had decades of experience in advocacy, and they were well-versed in the issues specific to our countries. We incorporated many of their recommendations about what levers of government would be most effective in the current geopolitical climate.”
Each student on the trip then briefed a variety of State Department officials from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor on his or her research findings and responded to questions from the officials.
“This trip was an incredible opportunity. I never expected I would be briefing the State Department when I started law school, but having done so, I now believe these Diplomacy Lab projects are vitally important,” Cartwright said. “The United States has long partnered with colleges on scientific and technological projects, yet collaborations about human, political and national relationships are no less important. These dialogues help the United States navigate the world stage in 2018.”
Professor Aswad, Herman G. Kaiser Chair of International Law and former head of the human rights law office at the State Department, remarked: “In an interconnected world, it is increasingly important that law students be equipped to practice transnational law; that is to understand the law of other countries, to understand how they relate to international law, and to understand how foreign law and international law intersect with U.S. law. The students did a great job representing OU Law in their presentations at the State Department and in their discussions with leading human rights NGOs in D.C.”
More News & Media
OU Law Professor Jonathan Forman Named Kenneth E. McAfee Centennial Chair in Law; Professors Backus, Cleveland, Helton Receive Endowed Positions
The OU Board of Regents today officially confirmed the selection of Prof. Jonathan Forman as Kenneth E. McAfee Centennial Chair in Law at OU Law. The Regents also approved three endowed positions for professors Mary Sue Backus, Steven Cleveland and Taiawagi Helton.
Melissa Caperton, Director of Communications
Top Five Things to Know about OU Law’s Section Release Party
Incoming first-year law students will join Dean Harroz and OU Law faculty and staff this Friday for a fun, relaxed evening as they receive their section assignments and mingle with fellow classmates.
Rachel Egli, Communications and Events Coordinator
Prof. Gensler’s New Civil Rules Treatise Now Available
The 2018 edition of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules and Commentary , a comprehensive, practice-oriented guide written by Professor Steven Gensler, is now available through Thomson Reuters.