Thursday, March 7, 2013
San Diego (March 7, 2013) – J.C. Sheppard, '12 (JD), interned the summer after her second year with Advocacy Forum in Nepal in Kathmandu, preparing a petition to be submitted to the International Human Rights Committee in Geneva. "This wouldn't have been possible," said J.C., "without the Community Service Grant I received from the law school to cover my travel expenses and living costs."
J.C.'s interest in international law, and in Nepal, goes back to a semester she spent there in her undergraduate years at Cornell. She learned the language and gained familiarity with the culture during that time, which led to her submitting her application to Advocacy Forum, a group she learned about online: "I was interviewed for the internship on Skype by someone in London."
Once in Kathmandu, J.C. began collecting data and researching precedent on behalf of her client, a Nepali woman who had been tortured by the government, resulting in long-term health problems. "Reading about so many cases of abuse and torture was traumatic," recalled J.C. "We submitted our petition, but there won't be a final decision from the International Human Rights Committee for about two years, and even if our petition is granted, there's no guarantee the Nepali goverment will comply with any ruling."
"I learned a lot about international law, of course," said J.C., "but even more valuable was what I absorbed from being with Nepali people. The tea-cart lady came by each afternoon at four, and that's where you picked up all the best gossip." Kathmandu itself was not an easy city to live in. "There were frequent protests against the government, and it was monsoon season as well, so we had power only about half the time."
Some of J.C.'s adventurous nature may be in her blood: her parents met in Kathmandu decades ago when they were trekking to the Mt. Everest base camp. This February, J.C. studied for and passed the Foreign Service Officer Test, and she's looking forward to using her legal training to make her a more effective public servant.