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Global Justice Students Travel to India to Support Alumnus, Local Attorneys Fighting Sex Crime

March 31, 2015  | 2 min read

Each spring break, the Nootbaar Institute's Global Justice Program and the New Delhi-based non-profit Counsel to Secure Justice -- founded by Pepperdine Law alumnus Jonathan Derby (JD '04) -- bring a group of Pepperdine students to India to conduct a workshop for local attorneys working on issues ranging from bonded labor slavery to sexual violence against women and children. This year the workshop focused on oral advocacy skills, specifically direct and cross examination. Students assisted by working one on one with the Indian advocates, culminating in a simulated court experience on the final day.

"I was amazed at the strength and courage of the advocates we met and worked with," said Brian Howaniec (3L). "I know India is in good hands as long as those advocates continue to stand up for the rights of sexual abuse victims."

Fellow 3L Filomena Gehart was similarly impressed. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with Counsel to Secure Justice, an organization that provides both legal and social support to sexual violence survivors. It was an incredible learning experience to practice oral advocacy techniques together with the Indian attorneys that will help us all become better advocates for our clients and work towards a more just process.”

"This trip was incredible," said Stephanie Brown, recipient of the 2015 Parris Award for Global Justice. "Working with Counsel to Secure Justice created an acute awareness of the fight for gender equality and the fight against gender violence in India. I was able to work closely with incredible advocates fighting for justice for the most vulnerable across India. It was an inspiring week of advocacy with some really cool tourist opportunities on the side." 

While in India, the Pepperdine group toured two New Delhi slums, visited schools operating in extreme environments, and met with local non-profit leaders, teachers, and schoolchildren. The students were also able to visit the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort, and they spent two days hiking and debriefing in the Himalayan Mountains.

For more information and pictures, visit the Global Justice Program's Facebook page.