Global Student Participation at Susan J. Ferrell
Intercultural Human Rights Competition


Last weekend, the 2013 Susan J. Ferrell Intercultural Human Rights Moot Court Competition attracted a record number of eleven teams from all over the world to our school; they ranged from two teams from India (Gujarat and Christ University, Bangalore), one from Hong Kong, one from the United Arab Emirates (Sharjah), one from Ethiopia (Addis Ababa University, funded by Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation), to teams from Duke Law School, the University of North Carolina, Howard University, Valparaiso, to our neighbors FIU and the University of Miami. The problem revolved around the breach of an international investment contract, the right to water, the building of a dam in violation of rights of indigenous peoples, detention, extradition, and other human rights issues. It was written by a student team consisting of Clayton Lingg, Alexandra Salvador, Sarah Strickland, and Denise Yeakey. As the teams commented, they were attracted primarily by the exceptional quality, real-life character and complexity of the problem – a badge of honor for our students. The program is annually led by Professor and Director of the Graduate Program of Intercultural Human Rights, Dr. Siegfried Wiessner.

The preliminary rounds took place this past Saturday. Based on the totals of their scores, FIU and Hong Kong advanced to the Final Round on Sunday. The best oralist was Michelle Huang from Duke, the best memorial was written by the City University of Hong Kong. At the awards ceremony on Saturday, Dean Ray warmly welcomed all of the teams, focusing on the common values of human dignity that were shared by all the participants in this challenging event.

On Sunday, the Final Round took place before a hot bench consisting of Professor and Judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, The Honorable Fausto Pocar, Professor John Kang, and the Valedictorian of the 2007 LL.M. IHR class, Danielle Boaz. The Ferrell Trophy was won by an outstanding team from the City University of Hong Kong; FIU turned in a most commendable performance as the runner-up.

As every year, the success of this event would not have been possible without the enthusiastic support from all of you who served as judges on a treasured weekend. Kudos to Professors Howard Blumberg, Marc-Tizoc Gonzalez, Marvin Klein, Gary Kravitz, Jennifer Martin, Bob Mensel, Anthony Musto, Kenneth Noto, Jay Silver, and Susan Warheit. We are also indebted to the LL.M. and J.S.D. IHR graduates and other friends of the program who shared their expertise as judges: Olugbenga Ademodi, Alexandra Audate, Timothy Dunfey, Peter Falowo, Nadine Gedeon, Talle Gilmore, Gail Hamaty-Bird, Missiva Khacer, Victoria Mesa-Estrada, Frank Minton, Sylvia Ospina, Maritza Pasternack, Jerry Schreiber, Kseniya Smychkouskaya, Edward Tapanes, Gizachew Tesfaye, Gregory Toussaint, Ana Vallejo, Stephanie Villavicencio, and Michelle Yong.

Special thanks are also due the students who organized this event: Alexandra Salvador and Sarah Strickland; our meticulous bailiffs -- Acacia Barros, Amber Bounelis, Nicholas Ferreiro, Luna Garcon, Tamar Hamilton, Nadia Metroka, Isabella Poschl, Jeff Razi-Jafari, Brad Schlesinger, Josh Simon, Lauren Smith, Cathleen Ward, and Yana Zilberman; as well as the team liaisons, who gave so much of their time: Carlos Bacarreza, Amber Bounelis, Rosana Gonzalez, Zach Darnell, Andrew Roth, Lauren Smith, Desiree Staeffler-Marchbanks, Ana Lucia Vera, and Steve Washington. The accounting of the scores was most reliably performed by Lazarita Chumpitazi and Shaun Quinn. A special kudos to Deans Cece Dykas and John Hernandez and our budget manager Olga Leyva for their logistical support, and to our custodial staff who served beyond the call of duty throughout Saturday.