Students excel at human rights law moot court contest
Three Elon students won top awards last week for their performance in the moot court competition at the 4th annual International Human Rights Law Summer Study in Vilnius, Lithuania, a program co-sponsored by the university’s Center for Public Affairs.
Students and faculty represented institutions such as the University of North Dakota School of Law, Elon University, Universite de Rouen in France, Belarusian State University, The Caucasus University, Georgia, and The Human Rights Monitoring Institute of Lithuania.
Elon senior Brian Stevenson was awarded “Best Oralist” honors. Senior Kelly Zug led the team receiving the award for “Best Applicant Team,” and junior Jonathan Ordog led the team receiving the award for “Best Respondent Team.”
Students from countries including the United States, Canada, Lithuania, Belarus, The Republic of Georgia, and France joined together to study some of the most difficult and legally complex issues facing societies today, said Betty Morgan, an associate professor of political science at Elon and director of the Center for Public Affairs.
She said the network of international students, faculty, practitioners, government officials and experts who contribute to the instruction combine to provide a unique and incredibly rich context in which to study.
Elon seniors Taylor Wos and Jeff Szyperski joined Stevenson, Zug and Ordog in the law program in Lithuania. The summer study is co-sponsored by the Elon Center for Public Affairs and Mykolo Romerio University, European Humanities University (the Belarusian University in Exile), Human Rights Monitoring Institute of Lithuania, and Bring Human Rights Home, a U.S.-based non-profit organization promoting educational opportunities for students of human rights issues.
This year, for the first time, students from the Elon University Center for Leadership program, led by Associate Dean of Students Rex Waters, consulted with the law program, providing leadership coaching and evaluations. Leadership program sophomore Caitlin Clarke, and seniors Jessica Elizondo, Sam Yow and Anthony Pratt, worked with international students to develop personal leadership skills, advocacy and team building.
The program is supported by the U.S. Embassy and operates under the auspices of the President of the Lithuanian Parliament.
“The combination of experience, contemporary practice and academic expertise set against the backdrop of the region’s history of human rights challenges offers unique insights and helps students develop a sophisticated, multi-dimensional understanding of the issues facing contemporary human rights advocates,” Morgan said.
The program culminated in a moot court competition, which allowed students to apply the knowledge acquired during the program to a hypothetical case representing challenging circumstances in contemporary international and human rights law.