In a project-based practicum course, students participate in a weekly seminar and work on a project under the supervision of their professor(s). This project-based practicum course is designed to support students participating in the Human Rights Institute (HRI) Fact-Finding Project. Through this course, students will gain the substantive background and skills needed to carry out a human rights investigation from beginning to end. Each year, the HRI Fact-Finding Project has focused on a policy-relevant human rights issue, including migrants’ rights, children’s rights, LGBT rights, and the role of human rights in the global economy. In the fall, students will participate in a weekly two hour/week seminar and carry out 5 hours/week of project work under the direction of the professor. Over Week One, students will travel to carry out a fact-finding investigation. In the spring, students will participate in a two hour/week seminar every other week and carry out 10 hours/week of project work. For this course, students will work closely with the HRI Dash/Muse Teaching Fellow and Professor Katharine Valencia in conceptualizing and implementing each step of the Project. Professor Valencia is currently Senior Legal Advisor at the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF), a human rights organization focused on transitional justice, legal systems and defenders, and indigenous peoples’ rights in Latin America. In this capacity she conducts legal research and fact-finding, and carries out advocacy before government bodies and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Previously, Professor Valencia was an Associate and the Donald M. Wilson Fellow at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, where she litigated cases before the Inter-American human rights system on racial and ethnic discrimination, the right to nationality, gender-based violence, and freedom of expression.
SEMINAR: In the fall, the seminar will cover the substantive law and policy relating to the root causes of migration in the Americas, as well as human rights fact-finding skills and methodology. In the spring, seminar classes will meet every other week and focus on the production of a human rights fact-finding report and the conduct of related advocacy. Seminar sessions will be designed to guide students through each step of the human rights fact-finding process, including project design, interviewing, reporting writing, and advocacy.
PROJECT WORK: Students will research a human rights problem in depth, conduct extensive outreach and interviews on the subject, draft a comprehensive report on their findings, and engage in related advocacy. In January 2020, during “Week One,” the group will travel on-site to conduct interviews with relevant stakeholders. Georgetown Law will cover travel expenses. Students are also expected to meet on their own as a team throughout the academic year.