The College of Law has joined the University of Wyoming’s growing internationalization efforts with its new Center for International Human Rights Law and Advocacy, the only international experiential learning program available to law students in the Intermountain West.
The center, supported in part by the John P. Ellbogen Foundation, is dedicated to promoting global human rights through legal education, research and advocacy. Its dual mission is to educate law students to address international legal problems and to protect human rights, at home and abroad.
The center features courses in International Law, Immigration Law and International Human Rights, as well as the International Human Rights Practicum, a unique course that combines skills training and supervised human rights casework while providing the incomparable experience of traveling abroad and trying real cases.
Practicum students have worked on internationally based advocacy projects in Cambodia, Kenya, Kosovo, Mozambique, Nigeria, Peru and Thailand. In addition, students have worked on international asylum cases in the Denver Immigration Court, representing clients fleeing persecution from all over the world.
To date, the students have won all five of their asylum cases, thereby giving persons harassed by their former home countries a fresh start in the United States.
“I came to law school hoping to just learn about what opportunities I might have in the international realm. I never imagined I would actually travel for a case or serve as the student attorney on a number of asylum cases,” says Laura Pontius, a third-year UW law student. “My experiences in the practicum have prepared me very well for a career in immigration and human rights law, and I’m incredibly grateful for everyone at the law school who made the experiences possible.”