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Celebrated human rights activist Seife Ayalew Asfaw receives first Rubin Family International Human Rights Award from Stanford Law School

Human rights activist and inaugural Rubin Family International Human Rights Award recipient Seife Ayalew Asfaw (courtesy of Seife Ayalew Asfaw)

Human rights activist and inaugural Rubin Family International Human Rights Award recipient Seife Ayalew Asfaw (courtesy of Seife Ayalew Asfaw)

Stanford, Calif., February 18, 2014 – Stanford Law School has selected prominent Ethiopian human rights activist Seife Ayalew Asfaw as the inaugural recipient of its Rubin Family International Human Rights Award. The new award recognizes young leaders in the international social justice movement by bringing one such individual to Stanford Law School as a practitioner-in-residence for two weeks every year.

Asfaw will be at Stanford from April 8th to April 17th. He will collaborate with thought leaders and connect with program resources throughout Stanford Law School and Stanford University, as well as share strategies with social justice leaders in the Bay Area.

Asfaw leads a network of legal aid centers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. His primary responsibilities include daily assessment and monitoring of the activity of legal aid centers in Addis Ababa, mentoring and supervising legal aid service providers and paralegals, conducting human rights training and building relationships with donors and collaborative partners.

Faced with a challenging operating environment, Asfaw works within the framework of Ethiopian law to advance human rights, specifically by expanding citizens’ knowledge of and access to legal services. Asfaw will use his time at Stanford Law School to study how public interest legal organizations in the United States combine legal services and impact litigation. He intends to establish an Impact Litigation Project in partnership with private law offices, NGOs and law schools when he returns to Ethiopia. The Project will allow Asfaw to challenge Ethiopian laws and practices that discriminate against women and children, limit freedoms of association and religion, and impair the economic rights of poor and vulnerable people.

The Rubin Family International Human Rights Award is designed to enhance the practitioner-in-residence’s capacity to influence policies, practices and laws that promote systems-changing responses to significant human rights problems. By uniting legal education with a spirit of application to the world’s most pressing human rights crises, this award will also create opportunities for Stanford Law students to participate in globalized citizenship and advance a focus on the realization of human rights.

About Stanford Law School Stanford Law School (www.law.stanford.edu) is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a new model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective, and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.

This post was revised on February 20, 2014.

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