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2023 International Human Rights Fellows

Thea Kendall-Green
BA International Studies (International Security, Norms and Cooperation); BA Linguistics; minor, Computer Science ‘24

This summer I interned at Perseus Strategies from June 26th to August 18th. It was an amazing experience, and one I would highly recommend to anyone interested in working in the fields of international law or human rights. As an intern, I worked alongside attorneys, permanent employees, law school interns, and one other U of M intern to complete many different types of assignments. One such task was to research members of Congress to see who might be amenable to helping advocate for a client of ours on The Hill. Another was to research and write a due diligence memo on a high-profile potential client we were considering working with. The project I spent the most time on, however, was for an NGO client that is pushing for reform in the realm of effective post-release prison practices internationally. I researched the practices used in over 50 countries and then wrote up summaries for a white paper we were creating. I also helped edit and proofread other parts of the paper. 

This project in particular advanced my educational goals immensely. In a very tangible sense, I learned much more about citations and the expectations of written works intended for international law audiences. As I intend to go to law school in the future, exposure to the Bluebook was also very informative. Furthermore, following along with the client as they planned their next steps, I had the opportunity to see deeper into the inner workings of the UNHRC (UN Human Rights Council) than I ever have in the classroom. The Managing Director of the firm is a very impressive individual who has done a lot of work with the UN and with prisoners of conscience, and learning under him this early in my career was a privilege. Not only him, but all the other employees were happy to chat with me about my academic and professional future. I actually had a law school interview this summer at a school where one of the legal interns was currently attending, and he was an excellent resource to help me feel more prepared and ready to take it on. 

In addition to my co-workers, the firm also had many speakers come in who were truly inspirational. From someone who had been in Tiananmen Square to a former Nicaraguan presidential candidate, they were all one-time clients who shared life-changing insights and stories. While I did not speak with him personally, one client’s story that was especially poignant was that of Siamak Namazi. During my time working at the firm, large steps were taken toward his release from imprisonment in Iran.  seeing how that process unfolded, both on the news and internally at the firm, was an incredibly valuable experience. 

This internship solidified for me that international human rights law is a career path I want to pursue and gave me countless resources to support that goal. I am so appreciative of everyone who made this experience wonderful, and I want to give a special thank you to the Donia Human Rights Center, the PICS Department, the Perseus Strategies team, Danielle Schmidt, and Ms. Amy Rose Silverman, without whom this would not have been possible. I am happy to be a resource for anyone thinking of applying to this opportunity in the future.

Emily Sedewitz
BA International Studies (International Security, Norms and Cooperation); BA Environment; BA History ‘24

This summer I had the privilege of working alongside the Perseus Strategies team, which was defining, engaging, and incredibly rewarding. I have immensely benefited from the expertise of the Perseus Team through hands-on exposure to the field of law and have grown professionally in this supportive, challenging, and inspiring environment. Perseus offers an unparalleled wealth of technical expertise which provides valuable insight into future professional opportunities and career directions. Throughout the course of my summer, I have been connected with global leaders in mentorship which has both cemented and defined my interest in law while allowing me the opportunity to benefit from career advice and input from industry experts. 

Throughout my internship, I conducted international legal research and wrote facts for various legal documents such as petitions sent to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, White Paper reports, and memos regarding the social reintegration of prisoners. These opportunities included direct collaboration with clients and staff, providing me with a unique balance of responsibility, professional trust, and learning. Through working with clients and alongside the Perseus team directly I benefited from exposure to the professional aspects of law, corporate business, and managing client interests. In doing so, I feel as though I have a strong foundation in critical professional skills as well as an understanding of the expectations of a legal education and its application. For example, I have gained tangible skills in professional copy editing as well as uniformity in legal citations and formatting against a professional style guide.

As an intern, I had the privilege of working alongside other undergraduate and graduate interns. This tight-knit network provided me with support and guidance both academically and professionally which is a unique privilege, especially for those who are entering the field independently of example. The Perseus mission is engaging and inspiring, and I truly cannot speak highly enough of my experience and time spent with the Perseus team. It was my honor to have had the opportunity to intern with Perseus this summer and I would absolutely encourage anyone interested to apply for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!