Humanity in Action is pleased to introduce the recipients of the 2015 Lantos-Humanity in Action Congressional Fellowship.
Each year, Humanity in Action and the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice bring together a small group of outstanding students and young professionals from around the world for a five-month long internship at the office of a United States Representative or a Congressional Committee. Named in memory of the late Congressman Tom Lantos and sponsored by the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, the program aims to strengthen ties between emerging European and American human rights leaders and to provide European university students with an inside perspective on the workings of Congress, American government, political parties, minority issues, economic and social developments and human rights issues. Fellows also participate in a weekly seminar series to learn about American political, social, legal, economic, educational, religious, cultural, and human rights issues.
The 2016 Humanity in Action Congressional Fellows:
United States (Amsterdam Fellowship 2014)
Representative Mike Honda (Democrat – California)
Originally from the Dominican Republic, Carlos Adolfo Gonzalez Sierra is a passionate DREAMer, activist and scholar. His commitment to public service is rooted in his experience growing up undocumented in the United States. Carlos graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Latino Studies. He has interned at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Commission on Latino Affairs, worked as a community organizer in Chicago, and as an organizing trainer for the United States Student Association. Most recently, he was a Deputy Field Coordinator for Raise Illinois Action, a coalition of community-based organizations working to raise the minimum wage in Illinois. He is passionate about civic education and organizing in low-income and immigrant communities.
France (Diplomacy and Diversity Fellowship 2014)
Representative Juan Vargas (Democrat – California)
A French national, Daphné was born and raised in The Hague, the Netherlands. She is a Master in Management graduate from EMLYON Business School, France, with a specialization in Economics, Corporate Strategy, and Corporate Social Responsibility. Her interests in geopolitics and development have led her to work for various international organizations; from the European Space Agency office in Washington DC, to a European Sustainable Urban Development program (URBACT) in Paris, to the European External Action Service (EU Diplomatic Service) in Brussels. She also volunteered in Burkina Faso, gaining valuable on-sight experience of a developing West African country. More recently, she assisted the Trade Department of the US Embassy in Paris. Daphné is a 2014 Diplomacy and Diversity Fellow.
United States (Berlin Fellowship 2014)
Representative Anna Eshoo (Democrat – California)
Beverly Li was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. She graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA in 2014 with Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, with a focus on intergroup relations. She has participated in research projects at Whitman and Stanford University. As a Multicultural Recruitment Intern at the Office of Admission at Whitman, Beverly was passionate about providing access to quality education to students from underrepresented backgrounds, organizing over 150 fly outs for prospective students. She served as a student representative for the Board of Trustee’s Diversity Committee, and assisted in helping hire Whitman’s first Associate Dean for Intercultural Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer. She is devoted to promoting diversity initiatives and creating inclusive policies.
Representative Grace Napolitano (Democrat – California)
Born and raised in Zwolle, the Netherlands, Pirmin Olde Weghuis is an American Studies graduate student at the University of Groningen. He also completed the Master’s Honours Programme and spent a semester abroad in the United States. Convinced that the meaning and significance of human rights always depend on an individual’s willingness to defend them, Pirmin became an active member of the Youth Organization Freedom and Democracy, and a student representative in the Arts Faculty Council. His master’s thesis examines discourses of liberty and equality in the Early American Republic. He enjoys alpine climbing in the summer and skiing in winter. After graduation, Pirmin hopes to acquire a Ph.D, and plans to pursue a career in global governance.
Representative Jim McDermott (Democrat – Washington)
Rediet Wegayehu grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from the Addis Ababa University in 2010 and is now expected to earn her MSc. in Global Studies from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Rediet co- founded and led a student organization named In Action to advocate for youth and women empowerment. After graduation, she worked as a political analyst at a government agency in Addis Ababa. Rediet is now writing her Master’s thesis on the impact of democracy assistance, a case study on UNDP Ethiopia. Rediet has over five years of research related experience working with NGOs, and International Organizations (such as UNDP, UNUCRIS, EUISS) based in Ethiopia, Belgium, and France.
United States (Paris Fellowship 2014)
Senator Cory Booker (Democrat – New Jersey)
Ajwang M. Rading is a 2014 graduate from UCLA with a B.A in Political Science and a minor in Film & Television. He has also studied at Harvard Business School, under its SVMP and HBX programs. Ajwang is the Co- Founder & Chair of the UCLA Global Citizens Fellowship, which empowers undergraduate students to pursue public service projects in international communities. He has served as Youth Advisor to the Clinton Peace Centre in Northern Ireland as well as Director of Global Citizenship for its international summer school. His interests include addressing socioeconomic inequality and poverty, particularly for minorities and women, and geopolitics. He is an alumni scholar of both the Jackie Robinson Foundation and Institute for Responsible Citizenship.
Representative Marcy Kaptur (Democrat – Ohio)
Gal Buyanover is a graduate student of Middle Eastern History in Tel Aviv University. Gal is particularly interested in the modern history of Iran. She has dedicated a large part of her academic work to studying the rights of oppressed groups, particularly women and ethnic and religious minorities. She has worked as a research assistant at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, covering almost every aspect of the Middle East. She lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, and spends her free time reading, watching movies, baking and attempting to learn new languages.
Representative Jim McDermott (Democrat – Washington)
Tamas Olah grew up in Budapest, Hungary. He is currently studying international relations at the Corvinus University of Budapest. He previously studied at the Central European University and the University of Helsinki as a visiting and exchange student, respectively. Tamas is writing his thesis on the American Presidential War Powers. He has interned with Decade of Roma Inclusion Secretariat Foundation as well as with the Israeli Embassy in Budapest. He serves as the editor for the Security Policy Review, a student-based academic journal on international security policies. His particular interest in how the American constitutional system intersect with minority and human rights issues in the United States drew him towards the Fellowship.
Scotland (John Lewis Fellowship 2015)
Representative Alcee Hastings (Democrat – Florida)
Georgina grew up in Liverpool and has studied in Scotland for nine years. She is currently a doctoral student in economic history, and she has held fellowships at Yale University and the Library of Congress. Her Masters thesis focussed on political consciousness and liberation theology in campesino communities in Nicaragua. Whilst studying at St Andrews University, she was elected Director of Student Advocacy, and worked to improve access to university for marginalised socio-economic groups. She was also an advisor on student rights to the Rector of the University, Kevin Dunion. She has been an organiser in numerous human rights and justice campaigns, and has interned at WaterAid, working on the human right to water. Her hobbies include cycling and music.
Hungarian American Coalition
Jozsef studies at the Law Faculty of ELTE in Budapest, Hungary. Through his service with Roma and Jewish civil society organizations, including the Romani Design Social Firm, Romedia Foundation, and Roma Informal Education Center, he has cultivated a passion for advocacy in Hungary. From fighting for the recognition of the Roma inthe Holocaust to promoting human rights for all Hungarians, Jozsef has focused this passion on working on Roma discrimination issues and developing a career as an advocate for Hungary’s Roma population. Jozsef has has previously studied at a summer school program in the United States that is administered by the Hungarian-American Fulbright Commission. He has also spent time working in the United States with Teach for America and Teach for All to implement a similar TFA education program in Hungary. He has participated in international anti-discrimination conferences and human rights trainings in the UK, Macedonia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Netherlands and Denmark. In his free time, Jozsef enjoys traveling, reading, and researching.