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October 4, 2006

Press Contact: Jodi Bart, UT Law Communications, 512-232-1408.
Rapoport Center Contact: Sarah Cline, 512-232-4857.

Rapoport Center Announces Human Rights Scholars for 2006-2007

Photo of 2006-2007 Human Rights Scholars
Back row (L-R): Rachel Lopez, Elise Harriger
Front row (L-R): Annelies Lottmann, Radney Wood

AUSTIN, Texas—Four UT Law students have been named “Human Rights Scholars” by the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at The University of Texas School of Law in recognition of their dedication to international human rights.

Second-year law students Elise Harriger, Rachel Lopez, Annelies Lottmann, and Radney Wood will each receive a scholarship in recognition of their achievements and in exchange for their service to the Rapoport Center.

The students were selected by a committee of international law faculty on the basis of academic credentials, leadership skills, and dedication to human rights careers. Each of the recipients spent the past summer as a Rapoport Summer Fellow doing non-profit human rights work.

The Scholars will work to coordinate many of the Center’s current programs, such as a human rights speaker series, educational outreaches to local high schools, clinical and internship opportunities, and a human rights conference scheduled for December. A portion of their scholarships have been earmarked to design and promote new human rights initiatives.

“We hope to take advantage of the talents and experiences of the Scholars by encouraging them to think creatively about the future of the Center, and then offering them the ability to put their aspirations into action,” said Professor Karen Engle, Director of the Rapoport Center.

The Human Rights Scholars will work closely with Professor Engle and other faculty involved with the Center, as well as with Center Administrator Sarah Cline and undergraduate intern, Evan Autry.

Elise Harriger received her B.A. in Plan II Honors from The University of Texas at Austin in 2003. Upon graduation, she studied theology at the graduate level at The University of Oxford, Linacre College and received a Post-Graduate Diploma. Her exposure to liberation theology and social justice issues led her to serve Latino immigrants at Casa Marianella, a local Austin non-profit emergency shelter. This past summer she interned as a Rapoport Summer Fellow at the Program to Abolish the Death Penalty at Amnesty International’s Washington D.C. office. As a Human Rights Scholar, Harriger will work with the Career Services Office to expand student knowledge of internship and career opportunities in human rights. She will also help coordinate the Center’s initiative on human rights and Latin America.

Rachel Lopez received her B.A. in Political Science, Sociology, and International Studies from Northwestern University in 2003. She studied European Union Studies abroad at the Sciences-Po in Paris, France. While at Northwestern, she served as student body president, establishing the Eva Jefferson Civil Rights Program, the first annual Community Action Fair, and the Alumni Speaker Series. She also successfully lobbied for a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Support Center and a Latino studies program. As a Bill Emerson Fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center, Lopez later worked on food stamp access in California and then in Washington, D.C. on policies and practices to strengthen micro-enterprise in indigenous communities. The following year she was awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to study human and indigenous rights in Guatemala. This past summer she worked as a Rapoport Summer Fellow in the Rapporteurship for indigenous rights at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. She is the coordinator for the Human Rights Law Society at UT Law. As a Human Rights Scholar, Lopez plans to increase opportunities for students to do human rights work, perhaps by organizing an “alternative” spring break to work on human rights in northern Mexico. She will also be working on identifying and expanding the human rights curriculum across campus.

Annelies Lottmann received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in 2001. She first discovered a passionate dedication to human rights issues while touring the east coast as the stage manager for "Watch Your Step," a play that raised awareness about landmines. After college, she served for three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan. At UT Law she has been involved in several public interest and human rights projects, including Street Law and the Peace Elephant Fundraiser for Cambodian Children. This past summer Lottmann worked as a Rapoport Summer Fellow at the International Consortium for Law and Development in Boston. She was involved in legislative research and drafting to promote human rights in developing countries. As a Human Rights Scholar, Lottmann will work to maintain and expand the Center’s efforts to use the performing arts to educate the public about the many pertinent human rights issues of today. This initiative includes work with Austin-area high school teachers and students, and the production of a play reading for a nationally web-cast teach-in on Guantanamo.

Radney Wood received his B.A. in Political Science from Union College in 2002. While attending Union, Wood was a Division III All-American football player and, as captain of the football team, he set up many public service events in which his team worked hand in hand with local community members in Schenectady, NY. After graduation, Wood worked for a year and a half at the New York County District Attorney’s office before spending five months teaching English and doing non-profit work in Beirut, Lebanon. This past summer Wood returned to Beirut as a Rapoport Summer Fellow to work on democratization and economic development under the United Nations Development Program. As a Human Rights Scholar, Wood will work on writing press releases, organizing the Center’s annual conference, and expanding the Center’s work in and about the Middle East. In particular, he hopes to coordinate an event on campus focused on the current humanitarian crisis in the Middle East.

Related Links:
Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice:
Rapoport Center Presents Guantánamo Teach-In Webcast, Oct. 5:
Rapoport Center Selects Five Human Rights Scholars:
UT Law Announces First Human Rights Scholars: