Student Profile: Ana Delgado Hualde, 3L, Concentrating in Human Rights & International Law
Entering her final year of law school, 3L Ana Delgado Hualde already has an enviable list of human rights experiences inside and outside of Mondale Hall, including working with real-life clients and researching and presenting to leaders on globally important issues. Last spring, shortly before the international travel restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic went into effect, she and nine other Minnesota Law students joined human rights faculty and staff on a trip to Geneva to meet with U.N. officials and others to discuss international human rights issues. By the time she graduates next spring, Delgado Hualde will have completed the requirement for two concentrations, International Law and Human Rights Law.
You were one of 10 students who went to Geneva last spring, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic limited international travel. Can you describe what you were there to accomplish?
I was there on behalf of both the Human Rights Litigation and International Advocacy Clinic and the Human Rights Center. In the case of the former, our team was there to present pressing issues regarding the human rights violations of LGBTQIA+ refugees in Kenya. We presented country conditions to members of the Human Rights Committee and further developed a list of issues for those individuals. With the clinic, we also met with other officials of the U.N. Human Rights system, the International Labour Organization, and various NGOs to discuss the importance of the implementation and usage of the U.N. Standards of Conduct for Business to protect LGBTQIA+ employees in business and service sectors worldwide. For the latter, I worked closely with the Human Rights Center’s executive director, Amanda Lyons ’09, to research the conversations around and implementation of the new U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Peasants, particularly in Colombia.
You participated in a roundtable discussion held at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. What was that experience like?
The National Jurist's Pre-Law magazine recently recognized Minnesota Law's Human Rights Law program as one of the best in the country (A+ rating).
Participating in this panel alongside distinguished professors and peers was an honor. The roundtable was specifically designed to be a conversation about ethics in the field of human rights. We each highlighted our individual experiences regarding challenges that arise when pursuing on-the-ground change with academic tools. For example, I touched on the fact that some of our partners, though they do crucial, necessary, and direct work, do not have a legal background. When our folks approach problems with an analytic, legal lens, we need to work tirelessly to ensure we add instruments to their mission, not subtract from their current methods.
What were a couple highlights of your trip?
Speaking at the roundtable was a highlight. I was alongside respected and dedicated human rights advocates and academics. I was able to speak on my own experiences in this important conversation. Additionally, watching Professor [Fionnuala] Ní Aoláin’s testimony before the Human Rights Council was a huge highlight. One of the reasons I chose to attend the University of Minnesota Law School was its robust human rights curriculum. I experienced this in action as I watched over four dozen countries listen intently to the words and findings of one of my professors.
What is something surprising or particularly interesting that you learned during the course of this trip?
I was very intrigued to learn about the administrative organization of the Human Rights Council and Human Rights Committee. To be a successful human rights advocate, one has to not only research efficiently and write persuasively. Efficacious advocates must also understand their audiences and the mechanics of the organizations or groups to which they are advocating. Being in Geneva, sitting in sessions, and speaking with officials provided such an understanding.
What are you hoping to do with your law degree?
I hope to work in the field of immigration law. Immigration law is a fast-moving, rapid-growing field with a multitude of sub-groups. I am fascinated by the overlaps in human rights, international, and immigration law. Asylum seekers can typically discuss issues that fall into all three, for example. Additionally, I am very interested in business and corporate immigration, as I have learned (partly through the work of the clinic!) that the business sector greatly drives change in the human rights arena.
What would you say to another student contemplating participating in a similar trip?
Don’t think twice! This is a rare and invaluable opportunity for folks who are starting to dip their toes in the world of international human rights. Aside from it being surreal to observe officials from nations worldwide interact and explain their positions, it is a fantastic networking opportunity and experience for young attorneys to have under their belts.
How, if at all, did the COVID-19 pandemic impact your summer job plans?
Like most of my peers, COVID-19 impacted my summer employment plans. I was slated to work at a large, corporate immigration law firm in New York City, but the summer program was cancelled. I was disappointed, but prioritizing public health, especially in a city like New York, was understandable and necessary. I was lucky to have the support of the Law School Career Center in securing another position with the Detainee Rights Clinic of the James H. Binger Center for New Americans.
Could you describe a few of your experiences at the Detainee Rights Clinic?
At the Detainee Rights Clinic, my experiences have included appearing in person at the Immigration Court, drafting memoranda and briefs, communicating directly with clients, and generally learning the ins-and-outs of being a successful immigration attorney. I have had a multitude of opportunities to speak in Court and draft legal documents, all while being under the supervision of recognized immigration law professionals.
What are you most looking forward to at the Law School in the coming year?
I am excited to solidify my particular interests in my last year of law school. I will continue pursuing the international law and human rights law concentrations, as I will take the necessary courses to complete the requirements in the first semester of 3L year. Additionally, I will continue working with the Human Rights Litigation and International Advocacy Clinic as a student director. I am excited to continue working with other student directors and our faculty director, Associate Professor Jennie Green, on continuing projects. I am also excited to work with the 2Ls joining our team, as I thoroughly enjoy the relationships I have formed with like-minded students at the Law School.
Would you recommend Minnesota Law to a student interested in human rights?
100 percent! This institution is known worldwide for its human rights curriculum, which speaks to the caliber of education that students receive. In fact, when our group was in Geneva, various U.N. and NGO officials remarked about our program and extensive human rights library. Folks with a goal of breaking into and exceeding within the world of human rights will significantly benefit from carrying the prestige of the University of Minnesota Law School with them.