Giada Lepore (Italy)
Ms. Lepore received her Law Degree from the University of Tor Vergata in Rome. She has collaborated in research programs within the University of Tor Vergata in the field of human rights and economy, and she has also worked as a junior assistant in a consulting firm assisting in the drafting of projects and programmes on development co-operation and in preparing procurement of International Institutions like EU, UNDP, UNOPS.
“I can say that the LL.M Program in Intercultural Human Rights is a top-quality program in the human rights field: the professors, coming from all the most important international organizations and worldwide academic institutions, have allowed me to develop a concept of human dignity outside of the ‘traditional western perspective.’ The presence students from about 17 countries in our class make the experience that I'm living inestimable and rich of connections with different personal histories, views and values.”
Mercedes Pinckney (North Carolina, U.S.A.)
Ms. Pinckney is a licensed North Carolina attorney and a Graduate Fellow with St. Thomas University's Human Trafficking Academy. Upon graduation, she intends to focus on the fight against modern-day slavery, also known as human trafficking.
"To be able to participate in such an amazing program is an honor. The expertise of the distinguished professors that teach in this program is immeasurable. The program covers a wealth of information to prepare future leaders to fight for human rights. The diverse population of students and professors truly make this program intercultural."
Maritza DiStefano Pasternack (Ecuador)
Ms. Pasternack has a Law Degree and a Doctorate in Public Administration from the Catholic University of Cuenca. For many years she was involved in Corporate – Banking Law, but at the same time volunteering with many social institutions and charities she developed a special interest in human rights.
"The LL.M. Intercultural Human Rights Program offers me an exceptional opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed. I am very thankful for this unique experience which provides me with a first class education from professors that are leaders in their fields and share their knowledge and expertise, while at the same time provide an inspiration for the students. The interaction with classmates from all over the world allows an exchange of ideas from different cultural viewpoints. Both have contributed to broadening my mind to the realization that the fight for human dignity and justice is my ultimate goal. I strongly believe that being a part of this program has definitely directed me on the right path to achieve this goal.”
Enarda Cuni (Albania)
A law graduate of Luarasi University School of Law in Tirana, Ms. Cuni volunteered with Albanian Red Cross. Seeing the plight of the refugees, the disabled and the disenfranchised she realized that an education in human rights would prepare her better to protect the dignity of every human person.
“The LL.M. Program in Intercultural Human Rights surpassed every expectation I had when I first came to the United States. It is a comprehensive program that prepares us fully as missioners to fight injustice and protect human rights. This program is like a mini United Nations with students and professors from all over the globe. At St. Thomas we are taught by the very best academics and practitioners in the field of human rights and international law. I greatly enjoy my fellow classmates: I am learning from them and their cultures. This program makes me a better person. Thank you St. Thomas and thank you Professor Wiessner for founding the best LL.M. program in human rights!”
Peter A. Falowo (Nigeria)
Mr. Falowo comes to St. Thomas with over 15 years in human rights advocacy practice.
“I can tell you now, first hand, that the LL.M. Program in Intercultural Human Rights brings out the innovator in me, and gets me fully prepared for leadership human rights academia and practice. Its best part is that you draw knowledge from a fantastic blend of academic and executive top-experts.”
Lazarita Chumpitazi (Florida, U.S.A.)
"I am a Florida native and while completing my J.D. program at St. Thomas School of Law I began taking LL.M. courses as electives. The more courses I took, the more passionate I became about human rights. I completed the requirements needed to graduate with a Certificate in Intercultural Human Rights and decided to take the next step and complete the entire program. The Intercultural Human Rights LL.M. program is amazing, the faculty is world-renowned and very helpful, the curriculum is engaging and current, and my fellow classmates bring a plethora of global perspectives and practices to the table. This is a one of a kind experience and the education is priceless.”
Nadine Gedeon (Haiti)
Born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Ms. Gedeon obtained her law degree from Université Quisqueya. Working for the Haitian Red Cross she became very interested in the studies of human rights.
“Looking back, I see how little efforts were made to ensure and protect these rights. I love this program because it gives me a clear perspective of the role of government in the protection and promotion of human rights. My experience has inspired me to come up with creative ways to promote changes in Haiti in area of human rights like domestic servitude, the right to health and due process. I believe that the program gives me the necessary tools to be able to make a real difference in Haiti and worldwide.”
Beatriz Susana García (Colombia)
A lawyer specialized in Labor Law at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana – Bogotá D.C. Colombia, Ms. Garcia served as Legal Advisor at Álvarez, Escandón y Lievano Abogados Laboralistas, Labor Law Professor at Legal Aid Clinic of Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Legal Advisor (Agreement of Federación Nacional de Cafeteros, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana), Lawyer at Legal Department, and volunteer Legal Intern at the Center of Conciliation of the same University.
“I love the LL.M. in Intercultural Human Rights because we now can analyze societal problems from a human rights approach, in an effort to maximize access for everyone to their human aspirations: power, wealth, affection, well-being, enlightenment, skills, rectitude, and respect. Furthermore, we are challenged to find proper solutions to global human rights concerns for the common good of humanity.”
Habiburrahman Hakeemi Abdullah (Afghanistan)
Growing up in Afghanistan and witnessing the wars that have plagued the country for much of its contemporary history, enabled him to recognize that the real victims of these tragedies are mostly innocent helpless civilians. Having been a refugee himself, fleeing to Pakistan during the Soviet invasion, Mr. Abdullah gained firsthand experience of the struggles of these victims and along with that, a resolve to be an advocate for the rights of war crime victims.
“With my law degree from Cairo University in Egypt, I joined the LL.M. program at St. Thomas University owing to its reputation of excellence, expert teaching staff and student diversity. I am confident that my LL.M. degree in Intercultural Human Rights will empower me to realize my aspiration of being a human rights activist defending the rights of all victims of war crimes around the world.”
S. Peppy Bennett (Louisiana, U.S.)
A native of New Orleans, Ms. Bennett has worked and volunteered as Advocate for Dependent Children and Families for over five years.
“Advocating for children in the child welfare system demands you have an understanding and appreciation for the global issues that affect the children of our society. The LL.M. in Intercultural Human Rights helped me develop a better understanding of human rights from a global perspective. It engages the learner and provides real-world case studies to uncover the complexity and develop the necessary skills for success in our multicultural society. We are given the opportunity to learn from world leaders in the field. Throughout this very intensive program you are encouraged to use your talents and personal experiences to enhance what you are learning. I can never forget the statement made by Professor Dr. Roza Pati, on our first day ‘Remember you are a part of this program because your abilities have no limits.’ This statement has been my life-line throughout this year.”
Miryam Revoredo (Peru)
An attorney from Lima, Peru, Ms. Revoredo studied law at the University of Lima and at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.
“The LL.M. Program in Intercultural Human Rights at St. Thomas Law has given me a totally new perspective on my profession. The academic environment that it provides is warm and friendly and the open discussion class format really enhances the entire experience.”
Janelle Shoemake (Minnesota, U.S.A.)
Ms. Shoemake comes with a wealth of experience with Advocates for Human Rights, the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights, Child Protection International, and the University of Minnesota Human Rights Program. She has spent extensive time volunteering locally and internationally with organizations in Kenya, such as Soroptimist International and the Lions Club.
"It is an amazing blessing to have the opportunity to learn from the top academics, scholars, and intellectuals in the diverse range of topics we study in the LL.M Program in Intercultural Human Rights. This program is continually engaging throughout the semester, it provides us with an open forum that offers an open exchange of ideas between the multiplicity of cultures that are brought together through the students and professors. I am happy to say that I am always eager to attend class and meet with professors, as every day I learn something new that I can turn around and apply in everyday life."
Alexandra Audate (Haiti)
Born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Ms. Audate witnessed the devastating effects of violations of human rights on the people and how these violations got in the way of the advancement society.
“The Intercultural Human Rights Program gave me the opportunity to learn about human rights protections from the best experts in the field in a diverse environment. They were not only willing to share their knowledge and experiences, but they also valued the students' insights and opinions on the subjects being discussed. Most of my classmates are lawyers from different parts of the world who always bring interesting and valuable insight into our class discussions.”
Elizabeth Bowden (Florida, U.S.A.)
“I am born and raised in Miami, and growing up here has exposed me to many different cultures, beliefs and people. I have always advocated for human rights by volunteering with various grassroots and non-profit organizations, while continuing my education and teaching high school English at a local high school. I have enjoyed this program because it is preparing me to be a more efficient and knowledgeable advocate. Through my professors and peers, I have been able to gain an increased amount of understanding and passion for human rights and how they affect all people.”
Carl N. Saint-Cyr (Haiti)
“Born in Haiti and victim of Papa Doc atrocities, I moved to New York City and Miami were I have studied Engineering and Criminal Justice. The LL.M. Program in Intercultural Human Rights has offered me the best opportunity to gain the necessary skills to advocate and defend the Haitian cause.”