Guatemala Program Off To Fine Start
September 1, 2009
Four students participated this summer in McGeorge’s inaugural Inter-American Program, a new bilingual academic program designed to address the growing legal needs of Latin American countries and the Hispanic community in the United States.
Following an intensive course Spanish legal language in last May, Anup Bharadwaj, ’11, Riley Cutler, ’10, Jonathan Edwards, ’10, and Katie Oldham, ’11, spent 10 weeks in Guatemala combining a public-interest internship with a course in international human rights at Rafael Landivar University in Guatemala City.
Bharadwaj worked with MENAMIG, an immigrant rights group, on a project helping people displaced by the 2008 Postville Raid in Iowa that was executed by U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials. Cutler served an apprenticeship with AG Export, the Guatemala trade exports association that deals with WTO compliance. Edwards worked on an administrative complaint against a Canadian mining company for the Foundation Rigoberta Manchu, an indigenous rights organization. Katie Oldham helped the Center for Legal, Environmental and Social Action environmental compile a manual on civil compliance with CAFTA rules.
Professor Raquel Aldana, who joined the law school faculty earlier this year from UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law, directed the six-unit program and has high hopes for its expansion next summer and eventual ABA accreditation so that students from other law schools may participate in it.
“The growing foreign-born population in the U.S., particularly from Latin America, needs truly multicultural, bilingual lawyers,” said Aldana. “The nation requires law and policy makers with a deeper understanding of Latin American nations' histories and current realities to promote better trading relations and the mutual respect of laws and peoples.”