Mehreen is a first-year master’s student pursuing an MPH in Global Health in the College of Global Public Health. Her life experiences growing up in Pakistan, along with the opportunities presented to her in college, have made her cognizant of the human rights issues prevalent in today’s world. Her goal as a fellow is to tackle human rights through a global public health platform, assessing the mental health of Tibetan migrants and refugees in Kathmandu, Nepal. During the summer, Mehreen will be hosted by the health and human rights NGO, HealthRight International, and will work directly with their partner clinic in Kathmandu, Friends of Shanta Bhawan. Mehreen’s research will assist with both organizations’ efforts to design mental health services geared specifically towards the Tibetan community.
Naa-Djama is a sophomore at Gallatin studying the intersection of race, class, and illness in a global context. She is also completing the pre-health track in hopes of one day working in international medicine. This summer, she will intern in Kigali, Rwanda, with HDI (Health Development Initiative), a nonprofit organization striving to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare for all Rwandans through advocacy, education, and training. As an advocacy and policy intern, Naa-Djama will assist with several projects, including promoting access to condoms in secondary schools throughout the country, conducting research on safe-sex practices among youths, and advocating to parliament to remove punitive laws that restrict sex workers’ access to HIV-prevention measures. Naa-Djama hopes to analyze the relationship between discrimination and health gains in efforts to propose a model for combating health inequity, stigma, and social injustice in Rwanda.
Victoria is a master’s student at Gallatin studying environmental science and development. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in environmental science in the domain of health and society from McGill University, she founded the eco-aquatic sportswear company, Swish Suits, with her sister. In the face of climate change and overwhelming global inequities, she decided to return to academic study, though she continues to serve as director of her company. Victoria also interns at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and is a member of the UNICEF Next Gen Steering Committee. This summer, Victoria will work with World Food Programme in Nairobi, Kenya, researching food security as a human rights issue in East African countries. She is particularly interested in genetically modified organisms and climate change in the context of states’ obligation to progressively realize economic and social and cultural rights.
Grace is a junior at Gallatin studying the journalism and literature of human rights. She is interested in the intersection of free speech and human rights and will intern this summer in London, England, with English PEN, which promotes literature and defends freedom of expression through human rights work. The organization also documents and raises awareness of the suppression, imprisonment, and murder of writers around the world. Grace will work with English PEN to protect writers and readers whose right to freedom of expression is at risk around the world, researching censorship and diversity in literature and journalism, studying the many ways in which governments and institutions censor writers, and studying the current and long-term solutions to censorship. Among other things, she will assist PEN with its surveillance reform campaign, Writers in Prison program, and Poetry as Protest campaign.
Rachel is a sophomore pursuing a double major in politics and economics in the College of Arts and Science. She is interested in economic and human rights development in addition to political institution-building in the Greater China region and East Asia. This summer, Rachel will work at the Hong Kong-based Society for Community Organization, researching marginalized groups’ access to criminal justice in Mainland China in regards to the criminal and prison systems in Hong Kong. To complement the research, she will assist with the organization’s relevant advocacy and research work, including conducting policy and legal research and developing recommendations. Rachel hopes this work will help her gain a better understanding of the implementation of the rule of law and the protection of human rights in China, as she hopes to attend law school after graduation, focusing on human rights, criminal, and international law.
Michael Leonetti is a sophomore in the Global Liberal Studies program, concentrating in politics, rights, and development. In Summer 2016, he served as a volunteer with Lighthouse Refugee Relief in Lesvos, Greece, assisting in operating a transit camp for refugees arriving from Turkey. After returning to New York, he founded and currently leads the on-campus chapter of the International Rescue Committee. He will continue researching the Mediterranean refugee crisis in Madrid next year with a focus on irregular migration from North Africa to the Iberian Peninsula. This summer, Michael will return to Greece as a volunteer with Elpida Home for Refugees, located in a reclaimed space outside Thessaloniki. An entirely volunteer and community-driven organization, it seeks to create a long-term family-oriented refugee camp that prioritizes the agency of camp residents. Michael will assist in planning this camp and in creating feedback mechanisms and implementing activities for the residents. He will also conduct research about the quality of life in Elpida and other innovative refugee camps and compare with that of more traditional counterparts in the region.
Liza is a graduate student in the College of Global Public Health. This summer, she will travel to Bogota and other cities in northeastern Colombia, working with the Environment and Human Rights Research Group of the Universidad del Rosario’s School of Law. The aim of the Environment and Human Rights Research Group is to extend and protect human rights in the environmental sphere in Colombia. Liza will study how the Colombian government prioritizes legislation protecting its citizens’ fundamental rights in regards to environmental factors, with a specific focus on mercury contamination that is secondary to illegal artisanal small-scale gold mining. Through her work with the research group, Liza plans to learn how advocacy and policy can be used to ignite positive change and protect Colombian citizens' health from the effects of environmental pollution and contamination.
Tiffen is a senior at Gallatin where he studies “The History of African-American Politics.” A 2016 Gallatin Global Fellow in Urban Practice, he spent the past summer researching housing abuse in Brooklyn’s South Williamsburg neighborhood. He loves to do research in the public interest and is eager to further his exploration of housing rights this summer in his hometown of New Orleans. He will work with the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, an organization that has tirelessly fought housing discrimination for decades. With their help, he will research the relationship between gentrification and privatized policing in New Orleans. The city presents itself as the perfect subject: it is both gentrifying rapidly and increasing its dependence on private security. Tiffen’s research aims to demonstrate a tangible link between housing policy and criminal justice policy, theorizing that how we police people is just as important as how we police places. His other academic interests include criminal justice reform and hip-hop as a political and sociological means of expression. Tiffen has previously worked in the offices of United States Representative Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and New York City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez and with Okayplayer.
Fellowship Location: Iran
Nahal is a master’s candidate at Gallatin concentrating in international reporting with a focus on the Middle East. She received a BA in journalism and studio art from the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to her time at NYU, Nahal lived in Indonesia, where she was a Peace Corps Volunteer, teaching English at an Islamic middle school on the southern coast of East Java. While there, she facilitated leadership camps, teacher trainings, a world map project, and an irrigation project, and added an English language section to the school library. She will spend her summer working with women in Iran in an attempt to understand their concerns regarding gender inequalities.
Katie is a sophomore at Gallatin concentrating in sustainable development and urban theory with a minor in Francophone studies. She studies urban planning and justice and has worked with the US Human Rights Network and NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress. Through funding from NYU Africa House, she spent last summer in Cape Town, South Africa, researching public housing development. She is now conducting similar research on France’s banlieues, suburban housing projects populated overwhelmingly by working-class immigrants. In France, as in the US, integration is becoming increasingly complicated: counterterrorism measures subject Muslims to disproportionate government surveillance, and the elimination of the word “race” from all legislation excuses France from Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees free enjoyment of culture, religion, and language for ethnic minorities. It is within this context that Katie will consider the impact of employment discrimination on banlieue communities this summer in France while working with INTA (International Urban Development Association).
Hai is an MPA candidate at Wagner School of Public Service specializing in public and nonprofit policy. His interest in health-related studies developed prior to NYU, upon taking a public health course. As a student interested in serving underrepresented populations, he became concerned to discover that many prisons and jails are located on or next to abandoned coal mines, former landfills, or waste dump sites, and that the abundance of hazardous chemicals make inmates susceptible to diseases. This summer, Hai will work with the Human Rights Defense Center to examine the intersection between environmental health rights and criminal justice, and he hopes to learn how NPOs can leverage their power to make policy changes. His other research interests include how deforestation impacts human health, and he has discussed his findings at the Shanghai International Collegiate Conference on Science and Humanities.