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October 15, 2007

Rapoport Center Announces 2007–2008 Human Rights Scholars

Rapoport Center Human Rights Scholars
Rapoport Center Human Rights Scholars, (left to right) Brett Kaufman, Jason Steed, and Christie Turner

The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at The University of Texas School of Law has named three students as Human Rights Scholars for the 2007–2008 school year. Third-year law student Christie Turner and second-year students Brett Kaufman and Jason Steed were selected by a committee of international law faculty on the basis of their academic credentials, leadership skills, and dedication to work in the area of human rights. Each of the students will receive a scholarship.

The Human Rights Scholars will help to coordinate many of the Center’s current programs, including its human rights speaker series, educational outreach to local high schools and undergraduate programs, clinical and internship opportunities, a human rights fact-finding mission over spring break, and a human rights conference scheduled for next spring. Additionally, they will work closely with faculty and administrators affiliated with the Center.

“I am delighted by the breadth and depth of talent that Brett, Christie, and Jason bring to the Center this year,” said Professor Karen Engle, Center Director.

Professor Ariel Dulitzky, who recently joined UT Law as the Center’s Associate Director and Visiting Professor of Law and Latin American Studies, added: “I am very much looking forward to working with these bright and accomplished students who will play such a central role in the Center.”

Christie Turner is from New Hampshire and graduated with a degree in International Relations from Tufts University. Since entering law school, she has worked at Catholic Charities immigration services in D.C., at the Political Asylum Project of Austin on immigration and asylum cases, and with the Transnational Worker Rights clinic at UT Law. This past summer she was a Rapoport Fellow at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on U.S. immigration law and policy. Specifically, she participated in monitoring the detention of refugees and asylum seekers in prison-like immigration detention facilities. One of her primary contributions as a Human Rights Scholar will be to help coordinate the Center’s spring break fact-finding mission to Brazil and facilitate the Center’s collaboration with the Immigration Clinic.

Brett Kaufman received his BA in International Relations and Spanish from Stanford University in 2003. After graduation, he spent a year teaching English in Madrid, Spain. He later returned to work in the San Francisco Bay Area for a public interest law firm, Disability Rights Advocates, and volunteered time to the San Francisco Bar Association’s free legal clinic. This past summer he clerked as a Rapoport Summer Fellow at the Inter-American Court for Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica. Currently, he is participating in the National Security and Human Rights Clinic at UT, assisting in the representation of detainees at Guatánamo Bay, Cuba. One of his primary contributions as a Human Rights Scholar will be to assist in the planning and coordination of the Center’s spring conference on El Salvador, entitled “Image, Memory, and the Paradox of Peace.”

Jason Steed completed his BA in English and MFA in creative writing, and his PhD in American literature. His scholarly interests were in American Jewish literature, and particularly in literary treatments of the Holocaust and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Before deciding to go to law school, he taught in the English department as an adjunct professor at Western Oregon University and as a visiting professor at Brigham Young University. This past summer he was an extern to the Honorable Judge Paul Kelly on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. One of his primary contributions as a Human Rights Scholar will be to coordinate the Center’s educational outreach to high school and undergraduate students.

The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at The University of Texas School of Law serves as a focal point for critical discussion and policy analysis of human rights law and advocacy. The Center connects a community of students, practitioners, and academics engaged in the interdisciplinary study and practice of human rights that promotes the economic and political enfranchisement of marginalized individuals and groups both locally and globally.

Related link: The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice,

Press contact: Sarah Cline, Center Administrator, (512) 232-4857,