The University of Washington School of Law is proud to announce its 2020-21 Barer Fellows, Novita Kumala and Johanna Mora, and Barer Scholars, Rhoda Justine Adeke and María Fernanda Chacón.

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 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 Fellows and Scholars bring incredible experience, perspective and energy to UW Law and the Sustainable International Development Program,” said Jennifer Lenga-Long,   associate director of the UW Law Sustainable International Development program. “They enrich the learning experience for all of us. They have been a positive force for change in their countries and communities, and we are confident that they will be at the forefront of helping our world recover from the pandemic when they depart UW.”

The Barer Institute selects annually three to four mid-career leaders from lower- to middle-income countries to enroll in the Sustainable International Development LL.M. Program and serve as change makers in their home countries upon graduation.

Meet the Barer Fellows and Scholars

Novita Kumala

Bachelor of Law, Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia
Master of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame, Indiana

Novita Kumala

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.

“I am excited to work with professionals from many fields and backgrounds, especially reconnecting with lawyers with a similar passion for environmental protection,” Kumala said. “The opportunity to be a Barer Fellow will allow me to have that space to share and learn about similar initiatives to care for the environment or tackle climate change available for lawyers. As a Barer Fellow, I wish to influence more corporate lawyers to contribute to sustainable development initiatives in the future.”


Johanna Mora

LL.B. Bachelor's degree in law, Universidad Externado de Colombia
Master's in Justice and Protection of the Rights, Universidad Externado de Colombia

Johanna Mora

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.

“As a lawyer and judge, I understood how the law is a powerful but insufficient tool to protect human rights,” Mora said. “This great opportunity opens my mind to new tools to improve legal infrastructure in the rule of law and human rights, especially with victims. I seek to use the education and mentorship offered through the Barer Fellows Program to take an active role in advocating for the rights of victims in domestic and international systems and teaching them to other human rights defenders.”


Rhoda Justine Adeke

Bachelor of Laws, Uganda Christian University

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.

“I will use my experience to change the world by applying the skills that I am learning in humanitarian aid work, focusing on developing countries and marginalized people,” Adeke said. “I intend to open dialogue in Uganda regarding development policy ideas that I am learning. I will continue my passion to reduce inequality using opportunities that are available to me.”


María Fernanda Chacón

LL.B. Bachelor’s Degree in Law, Panamerican 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.

“I want to work alongside organizations to improve the quality of people’s lives from a responsible and informed perspective that seeks to generate empathy, equity and justice in communities,” Chacón said. “I will use my experience as a Barer Fellow to empower young people to become aware of other people’s realities and make conscious decisions oriented to serve their communities and transform their countries. I am convinced that the Sustainable International Development LL.M. will provide me with the right tools in order to achieve this goal.”