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Students honored in European moot court contest

Three Elon University students won awards this week for their performance in a moot court competition that capped a European program on international human rights attended by students from the United States, Belarus and Lithuania.

Nearly two dozen students from the United States, Belarus and Lithuania took part in a two-week program on international human rights law.
Matthew White ’08, who enters his first year of Elon Law this fall, and junior Lindsay Raskin were recognized with Best Oralist honors. Raskin was part of a team voted Best Applicant Team by the moot court’s judges. And the team award for Best Respondent honors went to a group that included senior Corban Smith.

The moot court competition culminated the intensive two-week program “Bring Human Rights Home” at Mykolas Romeris University in Vilnius, Lithuania. White, Raskin and Smith joined students Taryn Kadar, Katie Meyer, Parker McAllister and Ben Vellani on the trip, which was coordinated by political science professor Betty Morgan.

“Lithuania’s historic experience with human rights violations, and its capacity to learn from and live with those atrocities, makes it a uniquely powerful place to study human rights law,” Morgan said. “Our Elon students are learning about a region of the world where atrocity can and did occur but where our understanding of the extent of the tragedy was limited by nearly 50 years of Soviet occupation.”

With a population of 3.4 million people and about the size of West Virginia, Lithuania is located on the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, bordering Poland and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the south and west, Belarus on the east and Latvia on the north.  In March 1990, Lithuania was the first former Soviet republic to declare its renewed independence from the Soviet Union.

Fifteen faculty members from six countries taught classes that offered students experiential and engaged educational opportunities.

In addition to the class work in international human rights law, students conducted site visits at the Museum of the Genocide Victims in Vilnius, the Pabrades Refugee Detainment Center near the Lithuanian-Polish border, and the IXth Fort near Kaunas, Lithuania, site of a former Soviet, and later Nazi, prison and massacre during World War II.

The Elon Center for Public Affairs, led by Morgan, is one of the five sponsors of the summer study program. Other sponsors include Mykolis Romeris University, European Humanities University, The Human Rights Monitoring Institute of LIthuania and “Bring Human Rights Home,” an international legal studies educational organization.

Eric Townsend,
8/28/2008 3:55 PM