Southwestern Celebrates Successful Siderman Fellowship Collaboration
On May 1, a special commemoration event marking the 5th Anniversary of Southwestern’s Jose Siderman-Fulbright Human Rights Fellowship was held at the law school campus. The unique fellowship program provides an Argentine human rights lawyer the opportunity to study at Southwestern for one year and earn a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in in Civil Liberties and Human Rights or Advocacy.
Jose Siderman, a successful businessman singled out by the Argentine military in 1976 because he was Jewish, was a victim of Argentina’s “dirty war” and suffered kidnapping, torture and exile during the 1970′s and 80′s at the hands of that country’s military dictatorship. In a landmark human rights case concluded in federal court in Los Angeles in 1996, the government of Argentina agreed to settle damage claims by Mr. Siderman and his family after a 14-year legal battle led by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Mr. Siderman’s family felt a fellowship in human rights law would be a fitting tribute to him and would contribute to the future protection of human rights in Argentina. The Fellowship was born out of the Siderman family’s extraordinary story and collaboration with Southwestern, which has maintained ties with Argentina for many years through faculty connections, summer programs, judicial externships and exchange programs.
“Tonight we really celebrate the fact that a family that suffered such gross human rights violations has turned that horrible, negative experience into a vital, ongoing force,” Dean Susan Prager said. “The Siderman Fellowship program at Southwestern is designed to educate and train young Argentine lawyers in civil liberties and human rights so that they will return to Argentina and help continue the protection of human rights in their country in the future.”
The celebration featured several prominent speakers, including Dean Prager; Ricardo Arredondo, Deputy Consul General of the Argentine Republic in L.A.; Paul Hoffman of Schonbrun, DeSimone, Seplow, Harris & Hoffman; Southwestern Professor Jonathan Miller; current Siderman-Fulbright Fellow Mariano Gaitan; and Carlos Siderman, the founder of the Jose Siderman-Fulbright Human Rights Fellowship. Continue reading…