Wednesday, July 2, 2014

ASIL Announces Winners of Helton Fellowships

ASIL LogoThe American Society of International Law (ASIL) has announce the eight students and young professionals making up its tenth class of Helton Fellowship winners. Selected from a strong pool of applicants from throughout the world, the 2014 winning students have recently received micro-grants of $2,000 to pursue fieldwork in or research on issues involving human rights, international criminal law, humanitarian affairs, and other international law areas.

ASIL established the Helton Fellowship Program in 2004 in honor of Arthur C. Helton, an internationally-renowned lawyer, bar leader, and advocate for the rights of refugees and internally displaced persons. Helton died in the August 19, 2003, bombing of the United Nations mission in Baghdad.

Helton Fellows undertake their fellowship fieldwork and research in association with established educational institutions, international organizations, or non-governmental organizations. The following are the 2014 ASIL Helton award recipients.

  • Muna Baig, LL.M graduate, ASIL Academic Partner Columbia University School of Law. Baig will work with the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project in Amman, Jordan, to document and refer to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in need of third-country resettlement.
  • James Balser,J.D. candidate, ASIL Academic Partner Vanderbilt University Law School. Balser will be assigned to the No Peace Without Justice International Criminal Justice Program's Syrian Accountability Project, which is currently working to "reduce the expectation and rewards of impunity and build a culture of accountability" among the Syrian population. Balser will assist with training and advocacy events in Gaziantep, Turkey.
  • Catherine Baylin, J.D./Ph.D. candidate, ASIL Academic Partner Stanford University. Baylin will be researching social movements that coalesced around rights issues in Egypt, Morocco, and Kuwait during the "Arab Spring" movement. She will use archival research, press accounts, and interviews to explore how human rights movements appropriated, resisted, and shaped the discourse and practice of global human rights law. Baylin aims to illuminate some of the dynamics that led to the movement while contributing to the global effort to understand the development of modern human rights systems.
  • Shaw Drake, J.D. candidate, ASIL Academic Partner Georgetown University Law Center. Drake will be working this summer with the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights to promote rule of law and judicial independence in Guatemala through examination of appeals court candidate records to ensure merit-based appointments in accordance with international standards.
  • Peter Grbac,J.D. candidate, B.C.L./LL.B. program at McGill University. Grbac will be working with the Calcutta Research Group (CRG) based in Calcutta, India, where his primary responsibility will be assisting CRG with their ongoing research projects focused on the legal dimensions of immigration and refugee matters. Grbac also intends to carry out his own research project to examine the implications of India's ambivalent refugee law policy on the experiences of refugees in Calcutta.
  • Jessica Marsh,LL.M. graduate, University of Melbourne, Australia. Marsh will be working with Asylum Access Thailand as a legal advocate and will conduct research into protection gaps for urban refugees in Bangkok. In particular, she will be exploring what happens when durable solutions are not available and/or substantive and where status recognition alone offers inadequate protection.
  • Shayak Sarkar, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Economics at Harvard University. Sarkar will be working on research to improve financial regulation and governance in collaboration with the Centre for Microfinance and the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy in New Dehli, India.
  • Mina Trudeau, J.D. graduate, ASIL Academic Partner American University Washington College of Law. Trudeau will be in Istanbul, Turkey, researching and analyzing the impact of Turkey's recent comprehensive immigration legislation and its transition from a UN High Commissioner for Refugees-led refugee resettlement process to its own asylum adjudication system amidst ongoing humanitarian crises along its borders.

ASIL Executive Director Elizabeth Andersen commented on the tenth anniversary of the Helton program saying, "There is much the Society does of which I am enormously proud, but the Helton Fellowship Program stands out and has particular resonance with me. Arthur was a terrific role model and mentor to me and to hundreds of other young people working in the area of international human rights, and it is that legacy which ASIL aims to perpetuate with the Helton Program today. My sincerest congratulations to the tenth set of Helton Fellowship winners."

The Helton Fellowship Program is administered by ASIL through its Career Development Program. It is funded by a grant from the Planethood Foundation and generous contributions from ASIL members. For more information, visit To contribute to the Helton Fellowship fund, visit

The American Society of International Law is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, educational membership organization. It was founded in 1906, chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1950, and has held Category II Consultative Status to the Economic and Social Council of the UN since 1993. ASIL's mission is to foster the study of international law and to promote the establishment and maintenance of international relations on the basis of law and justice. The Society's nearly 4,000 members (from more than 100 countries) comprise attorneys, academics, corporate counsel, judges, representatives of governments and nongovernmental organizations, international civil servants, students, and others interested in international law. For more information, visit


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