The Barer Institute, established in 2010 by Stan and Alta Barer, focuses on the multidisciplinary role of law in promoting improved outcomes in health, education, economic development and the rule of law in developing countries and countries in political transition. The goal of the Institute is to identify and mentor emerging lawyer-leaders who will be at the vanguard of developing and implementing innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. The Barer Institute selects annually three to four mid-career leaders from lower to middle income countries to enroll in the Sustainable International Development LLM Program and serve as change makers in their home countries upon graduation.
2021–22 Barer Fellows & Scholars
Eréndira Nohemí Ramos Vázquez
Eréndira Nohemí Ramos Vázquez (México) is a Barer Fellow and an LL.M. Candidate in Sustainable International Development at the University of Washington School of Law. She has over ten years of experience in International Human Rights Law as a researcher and public official following up on Mexico's cases before the Inter-American System of Human Rights. Eréndira has worked as an advisor to the Chief Justice of the Federal Electoral Court and in the Supreme Court of Justice in Mexico. She has also served a Research Assistant to Sergio García Ramírez, former president of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in the Legal Research Institute of UNAM. She was a fellow of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law. Eréndira is a lecturer in national and international forums, author and co-author of several books and academic papers, published in Mexico and abroad, most recently “The doctrine of conventionality control. From normative pluralism to the transcendence of the decisions of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.”
Eréndira earned an LL.M. with honors in Human Rights and Constitutional Law at Panamerican University and the LL.B. with honors at Colima University. She has received the Santander Scholarship for exchange at the University of Salamanca, Spain; the Henry Dunant College Universitaire Scholarship for international policy analysis at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Yuliia Kovalchuk (Ukraine) is a Barer Fellow and LLM candidate in the Sustainable International Development LLM program at UW Law. Yuliia began her professional career with Amnesty International Ukraine as a Regional Activism Leader aiming to increase human rights awareness and improve its compliance in the Lviv region. She then worked as a lawyer providing legal assistance to asylum seekers and refugees in Ukraine. Yuliia was responsible for providing legal assistance to survivors of sexual gender-based violence (SGBV). She was also appointed as a monitor who conducted monitoring visits to the State Migration Service of Ukraine on behalf of UNHCR, during which she provided recommendations on how to improve the quality of the process of refugee determination status. In 2020, Yuliia started exploring the nature of the armed conflict in the East of Ukraine, its actors, and possible mechanisms of transitional justice. She was also involved in the project aiming to investigate and prosecute international crimes committed during the armed conflict in the territory of Ukraine. Yuliia earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Law from the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. She speaks Ukrainian, English, Polish and Russian, studies French. In her spare time Yuliia enjoys theatre, travelling, hiking, reading, and spending time with her pets, family, and friends.
Isaac R. Sankara
Isaac R. Sankara (Uganda) is a candidate in the Sustainable International Development LLM program and a Barer Scholar. Isaac has been involved with government service in Uganda for over a decade, working with Military Intelligence and Counter Terrorism Units. He headed the Legal Department of the Counter Terrorism Unit, where his main task was to incorporate Human Rights principles in Counter Terrorism operations. He worked to educate the military about educate military and intelligence officers about human rights principles, but ultimately faced persecution for his efforts to hold the military accountable for human rights violations. Isaac is now interested in Immigration Law as well as the impact of the rule of law on international development. Isaac earned his LL.B. at Makere University Kampala and his Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Center Kampala. In his free time, Isaac watches football, soccer, and basketball among other sports.
2020–21 Barer Fellows
Kumala is an Indonesian advocate and environmental activist. For eight and half years, she has served a diverse role in a global think-tank, United Nations Development Programme Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of Forest (REDD+), and a Jakarta-based corporate law firm. She recently assisted a Bangsamoro parliament member in drafting a bill for Lake Lanao's sustainable management in Marawi, Mindanao, Philippines, an area recovering from ISIS occupation back in 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Law from Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia and a Master of Global Affairs from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
Mora served as a law clerk and as a judge in Colombia, where she had the opportunity to conduct more than 7,000 legal analyses about attorneys’ and judges’ compliance with the ethical standards of the legal profession, as well as to fight directly against criminal structures, such as drug dealers and corruption inside the judicial, executive and legislative branches. She made many decisions intended to protect the human rights of historically marginalized groups. She holds an LL.B. Bachelor's degree in law from Universidad Externado de Colombia and a Master's in Justice and Protection of the Rights from Universidad Externado de Colombia.
2020–21 Barer Scholars
Rhoda Justine Adeke
Adeke has had the benefit of working in various spheres ranging from government service, corporate practice, to grass-root non-profit projects. She is passionate about development economics and humanitarian assistance, and she considers her highest achievement as being the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of marginalized people in society, who she has had the benefit of serving in various capacities. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from Uganda Christian University.
María Fernanda Chacón
Chacón practiced corporate law for four years and won several international scholarships. At the University of Navarra, Spain, she focused her studies on the refugee crisis. In Washington D.C., she earned a fellowship and worked as an intern with a Chilean foundation, lobbying the Chilean Congress for education reform and on behalf of the Mapuche people. Recently she completed an internship at the Seattle International Foundation. She holds a LL.B. Bachelor’s Degree in Law from Panamerican University.
2019—20 Barer Fellows
Hon. Karen Njalale — Kenya
Senior Magistrate Judge Njalale is committed to improving the experience for litigants in Kenya’s courts – especially those who are poor and uneducated, women, children, and other vulnerable persons. She has emphasized the critical role of judges in building trust in the judicial system and the rule of law in Kenya. Karen spoke of her enthusiasm for working with Barer alumni who are also part of the Kenyan judiciary to continue to improve the experiences of court users in Kenya, including engaging alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. Prior to joining the judiciary, Hon. Njalale worked at the largest refugee camp in Kenya providing legal advice and representation to refugees, asylees, internally displaced persons, and stateless persons, including survivors of sexual abuse in the camp. She was honored by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as the “success story” of the year in 2013.
Zola Valashiya — South Africa
Zola Valashiya has a passion for public service, social advocacy and youth development. He regards Law & Policy as the primary tools for socio-economic development and social justice. Zola earned his Law degree at the University of the Free State. He has worked as a research assistant with the Institute for Reconciliation & Social Justice, focusing on Human Rights issues and as a research fellow with the Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI). After returning from the School of Public Policy at the Central European University, Zola joined Corruption Watch, where he pioneered the organization's flagship youth anti-corruption awareness campaign strategy and was nominated for the International Anti-corruption Excellence Awards. Zola co-founded Debate Afrika, which uses debating and public speaking as tools for education and youth leadership development. Zola was listed on Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans and was also officially nominated for the Queen’s Young Leaders Prize in 2017. Zola is a Brightest Young Minds alumni (2013), a Mandela Rhodes Scholar (2015), a Mandela Washington Fellow (2017) and is the recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Award (University of the Free State) for leadership excellence. Prior to pursuing an LLM in Sustainable International Development with the University of Washington School of Law, Zola was the Programs Manager for Global Programs at the African Leadership Academy.
A.B.M. Asrafuzzaman — Bangladesh
Prof. A.B.M. Asrafuzzaman is a lecturer at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh. He gained both his LL.B. (honors) and LL.M. from the University of Dhaka. He is passionate about teaching and continues to advocate for the promotion of the existing standard of legal education, research and scholarship in Bangladesh. A.B.M. is a member of the Bangladesh Bar Council Legal Education Committee and a member of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Bangladesh. He wishes to further his legal knowledge and learn how to continue to enforce human rights as a tool to ensure sustainable development.
2018—19 Barer Fellows
Tameisha Dawkins — Jamaica
Tameisha Dawkins (Jamaica) is a Barer Institute Fellow and LLM Candidate in the Sustainable International Development Program at UW Law. She is Jamaica’s first Anti-Human Trafficking Officer working within the Office of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons. She ensures that court proceedings are consistent with Jamaica’s international obligations as Jamaica institutes relatively new domestic anti-trafficking legislation. She recommends policies and develops and manages initiatives geared at enabling survivors and vulnerable groups to understand the normative and regulatory framework surrounding the issue of human trafficking in Jamaica. Tameisha conducts monitoring and reporting on the scope and nature of human trafficking in Jamaica, including for the U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report. She is a member of the National Working Group on International Migration and Development and has contributed to the development of Jamaica’s National Policy on Migration and International Development. Previously, Tameisha worked with the Independent Commission of Investigations investigating complaints ranging from unprofessional police conduct to fatal shootings recommending policy and procedural reform. She has also worked as an Immigration Officer in Jamaica. Upon graduation, she hopes to adapt and implement the best practices she sees here in Jamaica.
Ermek Mamaev — Kyrgyzstan
Ermek Mamaev (Kyrgyzstan) is a Barer Institute Fellow and LLM Candidate in the Sustainable International Development Program at UW Law. Ermek is an attorney from Kyrgyzstan with a strong track record in leadership and public service. Following his graduation from the International and Business Law Department of the American University of Central Asia in 2012, he began working with the largest private law firm in Kyrgyzstan, where he counsels foreign companies investing in the country, primarily in the mining sector. In addition to his legal practice, Ermek is actively involved in a number of important social in his home country and the Central Asian region. In 2017, Ermek received a short-term fellowship from the World Justice Project to address the illegal practice of bride kidnapping, which is still common in rural Kyrgyzstan, through advocacy and community education. Upon completion of the Barer Fellowship, he aims to return to Kyrgyzstan, where he will continue to work to advance the rule of law in both the private and public sectors.
Marjory Mwangi — Kenya
Marjory Mwangi (Kenya) is a Barer Institute Fellow and LLM Candidate in the Sustainable International Development Program at UW Law. She is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and is passionate about social change, human rights and governance. Marjory is currently on leave from her position as a Legal Officer for the Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Company Limited, where she monitored and advised on legal compliance with water and sanitation laws, and initiated policy proposals at the county level. Previously, Marjory was a Legal Officer with the Agriculture and Food Authority in Kenya, where she handled the development of legislation under the Crops Act, focused on the regulation of coffee and food crops. Marjory is also an advocate for women’s rights and empowerment. She is co-founder of the Kenya Union of Hair and Beauty Workers, a trade union that advocates on behalf of hair and beauty industry in Kenya, which is largely composed of women. She is eager to deepen her understanding of law in spurring sustainable development and to use the knowledge she gains to positively impact her community and country.
2017–18 Barer Fellows
Adaobi Egboka (Nigeria)
Adaobi Egboka is a lawyer from Nigeria and works as the Executive Programmes Director of Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), a human rights non-governmental organization (NGO) in Nigeria. Ms. Egboka has over nine years’ cumulative and progressive experience on access to justice and good governance issues and over seven years’ experience in NGO management, project coordination, fund raising, stakeholder management and team/capacity building. Her work focuses on innovative leadership and the effective application of international and human rights treaties and standards through capacity building, strategic litigation and advocacy. She has championed several campaigns on the passage of progressive legislation in Nigeria, including the passage of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, Special Persons’ Law and Domestic Violence Law, both of Lagos State. She is currently at the forefront of the passage of a Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill before the Lagos State House of Assembly. Ms. Egboka works to ensure the full implementation of laws on justice sector reform and prohibition of Gender Based Violence. She manages the West African Focal Point of the Coalition for an Effective African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights. She served as an expert on Electoral Violence Mitigation at The Electoral Institute, Abuja, from February 2015 -2016. Adaobi has also served as the Technical Assistant on Police Reform in the Rule of Law Advisory Team in the office of the Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria. She has interest in and has worked extensively on the rights of persons with disabilities.
Ms. Egboka is a graduate of law from the University of Lagos. A fellow of the Global Network for Public Interest Law (PILnet) where she served as a visiting scholar at Columbia Law School, and interned at the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) in New York. She hopes to focus her studies on the multidisciplinary approach to addressing rule of law, inequalities and good governance issues. Specifically, she will evaluate and seek to validate the role of CSOs in fostering good governance for economic development in Africa.
Monica Nasiche Munyendo (Kenya)
Judge Munyendo is a Barer Fellow and an LLM candidate in the graduate program for Sustainable International Development at the University of Washington School of Law. She is a Senior Resident Magistrate at the Kenyan Judiciary Training Institute (JTI). Prior to her appointment with the JTI, she served as a Resident Magistrate in Kilgoris Law Court from 2012-16. She also has experience in private practice and with the Lake Basin Development Authority. As magistrate, Judge Munyendo served as Head of the Station and convened quarterly stakeholder meetings with government and stakeholders in the region. During her tenure at Kilgoris, she partnered with various non-governmental organizations, including World Vision, to sensitize children with respect to their rights, harmful cultural practices and court processes. Judge Munyendo is also a campaigner in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) . She has been trained on the legal framework on FGM and has subsequently trained women and young girls within her jurisdiction to abandon the deep-rooted, harmful traditional practice.
During her time on the bench, Judge Munyendo has handled both civil and criminal matters. She has a bias for criminal law, and has presided over matters involving youth, sexual offences and female genital mutilation cases. She is committed to improving access to justice through the court systems, tackling barriers to individual litigants such as language differences, illiteracy, distance and cost, as well as systemic challenges like the lack of judicial financial independence, understaffing and case backlogs. In her role at the JTI, she is well-positioned to implement reform. Judge Munyendo is a champion for change and believes in the need to transform the Kenyan Judiciary in order to meet the aspirations of the Kenyan people as envisioned in the constitution. She is currently overseeing a survey of Kenyan citizens to better understand the justice needs of the Kenyan citizens and what is needed to improve access to justice. She is eager to learn about U.S. court systems, pro bono and civil legal aid programs, and access to justice initiatives.
Andrés Felipe Ruiz-Camelo (Colombia)
Andrés Felipe Ruiz-Camelo (Colombia) is a Barer Fellow and an LLM Candidate in Sustainable International Development at the University of Washington School of Law. Andrés is an attorney from Colombia, where his career has focused on public affairs and advising the public sector. Andrés began his legal career with a public entity, the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic (Contraloría General de la República), an independent audit institution charged with investigating the management of public resources. There, he worked directly on significant cases and audits. He then worked with a private law firm specializing in public law, where he represented public servants and worked on various bidding processes. Andrés then acquired experience dealing with legal issues related to large infrastructure projects. He was the lead researcher on a project for the construction of a suburban train connecting Bogotá with the surrounding regions, a project with vast social implications. Working for a second private firm that represents public entities, Andrés provided legal advice for significant public procurements, including a large infrastructure plan which aims to change the country’s face, unite different regions, and revitalize local economies, as well as a project designed to reconstruct or reinforce Colombia's infrastructure to withstand severe weather conditions. Andrés is interested in studying infrastructure development and land issues what at the University of Washington.
2016–17 Barer Fellows
David Camps Rodriguez — Cuba
David Camps Rodriguez hails from the province of Guantanamo, considered the least developed province in Cuba. Despite the severe economic crisis that hit Cuba in the 1990s, David enrolled in the Faculty of Law at the Universidad de Orient in 1996. He finished his law studies at the University of Havana in 2001 where he earned an LLB, magna cum laude. In 2003 he pursued a master’s degree in International Relations, specializing in Legal Affairs at the Institute of International Relations.
After completing his master’s degree, David was selected for a scholarship to study Arabic in Damascus from 2003 to 2005. David worked for eight years at Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an officer in the Middle East Division. In 2013 he decided to leave the Foreign Service and work as a specialist in legal affairs in the Ministry of Culture. For the past two years David has worked as a tour guide for diplomatic groups, that have included U.S. Congressional delegations, guide groups, and other major organizations.
Jonida Dervishi — Albania
Jonida Dervishi, from Albania, has worked as a legal consultant for organizations such as UNICEF, GIZ (the German government development agency), and the Open Society Foundation Albania. From 2013–15, she was Team Leader of the Legal Education and Profession Component of the United States Agency for International Development’s Albanian Justice Sector Strengthening Project. Her work focused on developing the first Continuing Legal Education Program for lawyers, starting the first academic journal of the Albanian Bar, and initiating clinical legal education in Albania. As this project’s Legal Advisor, throughout 2011–13, she also worked to strengthen the role of investigative media, mediators and grassroots civil society organizations.
Jonida has also worked as a Legal Advisor to the Albanian Parliament. From 2008–10, she was a Legislative Drafting Specialist at the Albanian Ministry of Justice. While in this role, she served as Legal Expert of the Albanian Delegation to the Council of Europe Moneyval Committee, focusing on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. She earned her law degree from the University of Tirana Law Faculty in 2008, and a master's degree in Public International Law from the European University of Tirana in 2010. She speaks English, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, and basic Portuguese. With justice reform and anti-corruption being pressing issues in Albania, she hopes to focus her studies on the rule of law and anti-corruption.
Adriana Ortiz-Serrano — Colombia
Adriana Ortiz-Serrano is a Colombian attorney specializing in Constitutional Law and Liability. In her more than 12 years of professional experience, Adriana has worked in the defense of human rights, focusing on the defense and promotion of the rights to truth, justice and reparation of victims of internal armed conflict in her home country. She is also a staunch advocate of women’s rights and land tenure. She has conducted extensive research on internal displacement and gender violence and has participated actively in initiatives that aim to return land that was abandoned or dispossessed due to the internal armed violence. In the last years, she has worked in developing pedagogical strategies, training public servants and vulnerable populations all over the country in human rights and mechanisms for their protection and defense in national and international scenarios.
Francis Kairu — Kenya
Francis Kairu is an advocate of the high court of Kenya with five years of experience. He is also a member of the Law Society of Kenya, East African Law Society and the Kenya chapter of the International Commission of Jurists. He holds a bachelor's degree in law from the University of South Africa (UNISA) and postgraduate Diploma (in law) from the Kenya School of law. He has for the last four years been working with Transparency International Kenya and has currently been leading the work of TI Kenya on land and corruption. He is experienced in anti-corruption and good governance programming in various fields, including land governance, governance in the extractive sector, access to justice and implementation of Kenya’s constitutional reforms. He hopes to advance his knowledge and skills in land governance for sustainable development.
2015–16 Barer Fellows
Lillian Bucyana — Uganda
Judge Lillian Bucyana is a Chief Magistrate with the Judiciary of Uganda and a 2015-16 Barer Fellow. Prior to her judicial service, Lillian was a research associate with Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), a nongovernmental organization focused on advocacy and research in environmental management practices. Lillian also volunteers with Rotary International and is the Immediate Past President of the Rotary Club of Mbale.
Lillian’s interest in the Barer Fellowship and the Sustainable International Development program was motivated by her growing recognition of the role of judiciary in enhancing sustainable economic development — a role that cannot be effectively performed if judicial officers are not well-versed in the field. She hopes that the Barer fellowship will provide her with an opportunity to gain in-depth training and exposure, which will positively shape the direction of her future legal decisions and her service to her community and her country. Her research interest is in using the law to promote and ensure compliance with sustainable development practices.
Kamal Pokhrel — Nepal
Prof. Kamal Pokhrel is a Barer Fellow focused on anti-corruption and human rights. He hails from the eastern part of Nepal. He earned his bachelor’s degree, with honors, from the Tribhuvan University in Nepal. Upon graduation, he did a legal apprenticeship and practiced law for four years. He then earned his Masters of Comparative Laws at the University of Delhi. Kamal has been practicing law in Nepal for over a decade. He now acts in the capacity of a lawyer; a faculty member of Tribhuvan University -affiliated National Law College; a consultant researcher for national and international organizations, including Global Integrity and Transparency International Nepal; and a human rights researcher and advocate.
Kamal has a vision of a country where integrity has permeated all aspects of public life, and citizens know that governance will be run fairly, that politicians will act responsibly and be accountable for their actions, and that rules and regulations will be followed in practice, and not just written on paper. While it will take years for Nepal to reach this point, Kamal is committed to promoting governance reform through enhanced transparency. Kamal hopes that as a Barer Fellow in the Sustainable Development program, he will gain a fuller understanding of legal principles and international best practices in these areas to support and enhance his work in Nepal.
David Camps Rodriguez — Cuba
David Camps Rodriguez is a Barer Fellow and an LLM candidate in Sustainable International Development Law. He hails from the province of Guantanamo, considered the least developed province in Cuba. David enrolled in the Faculty of Law at the Universidad de Orient in 1996 and completed his law studies at the University of Havana, where he received his LLB. magna cum laude in 2001. David also received a master’s degree in International Relations, specializing in Legal Affairs at the Institute of International Relations in 2003.
After completing his master’s degree, David was selected for a scholarship to study Arabic in Damascus from 2003 to 2005. David worked for eight years at Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an officer in the Middle East Division. In 2013, he left the Foreign Service and worked as a specialist in legal affairs in the Ministry of Culture. For the past two years, David has worked as a tour guide for diplomatic groups, including US congressional members other major U.S.-based organizations.