The DHRC/PICS/Perseus Strategies International Human Rights Fellowship is awarded to an outstanding LSA undergraduate at the University of Michigan for a research and service internship at Perseus Strategies, LLC in Washington, D.C. This fellowship is administered jointly by Donia Human Rights Center (DHRC) and Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS) in collaboration with Perseus Strategies and its managing director, the renowned international human rights lawyer, Jared Genser. Since 2017, four University of Michigan undergraduate students have been awarded this opportunity. The 2020 International Human Rights Fellow, Rahul Kak (BA Economics; BA Sociology ‘21) interned virtually at Perseus Strategies for eight weeks during summer 2020 and reflected on his experience.
“As a firm, Perseus Strategies, LCC engages with the field of international human rights in various ways. Its casework varies from dealing with international parental child abduction cases, international tort claims cases, or advocating for the freedom of prisoners of conscience. With the pandemic, much of the firm’s work shifted to general human rights advocacy, drafting reports that analyzed how other countries’ administrations have upheld (or as is more often the case, not upheld) their commitments to human rights. While conducting research for these reports, what struck me as most shocking was the ways in which the pandemic had only given repressive governments more power to conduct human rights violations. Being a part of holding these countries accountable for their actions though this work at Perseus allowed me to understand both the power of law at the international level and the types of legal channels available for advocates to continue this work.
It has been truly inspiring to see over eight weeks how the team at Perseus is able to enact positive, meaningful change in the lives of people who have suffered some of the most serious human rights abuses. I am thankful for not only Perseus Strategies, but also the Program in International and Comparative Studies and the Donia Human Rights Center for providing me with such an incredible opportunity that has clarified what I would like to do after graduation and will stand out as one of the most exciting undergraduate experiences that I have had during my time at Michigan. Working at Perseus has only strengthened my passion for human rights work, and I hope to take all the valuable skills, lessons, and connections I have gained from this experience and transfer them to my future endeavors in advocacy.”