Mercer Law Students Attend Oxford Consortium for Human Rights


MACON – During Mercer Law School’s spring break, four students and faculty adviser Professor David Ritchie attended The Oxford Consortium for Human Rights.

Second-year students Janelle Russell, Maggie Conerly and Molly Lustig, along with third-year student Cat Jenkins, were selected out of many applicants to become Mercer-Oxford Scholars.

This program is a unique opportunity for select Mercer students to study human rights issues with internationally renowned scholars in the confines of the world’s top university.

Mercer-Oxford Scholars participate in an intensive week-long workshop at Magdalen College, Oxford, concentrating on contemporary issues in humanitarian law and human rights. The workshop is limited to 40 students from around the world, and as such, is an exclusive and career-impacting experience for those students chosen to participate.

The program is committed to understanding the particularity of diverse experience, the varied approaches to international legal instruments and the impact of community action on global politics, as well as building a foundation for recognizing the complexity of such issues when cultural, historical and political contexts vary drastically throughout the world.

“Being a member of the Mercer team at Oxford was, by far, the best experience of my scholastic career,” said Jenkins. “The lectures were not only presented by world-renowned experts but were so engaging that I gained a deeper understanding of topics, which also led me to reconsider previously held ideas. This in-depth learning environment was in-part fostered by being in the most recognized University across the globe.”

Specific seminars included international legal framework regulating armed drones, war and reconciliation in Rwanda, psychology of moral diplomacy, human costs of war in Afghanistan, and international humanitarian law.

The students returned seeking to put some of what they learned at Oxford into action at Mercer.

“Our group was inspired when we learned about the Global Women’s Narrative Project (GWNP) started by Dr. Lyn Boyd-Judson at the University of Southern California’s Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics. The GWNP empowers women by collecting and sharing personal narratives from women all around the world,” said Lustig. “Our group agreed that this project would be extremely successful in Macon. We were able to talk to Dr. Boyd-Judson about starting the GWNP’s first sister chapter on the east coast here at Mercer. We look forward to bringing this opportunity to Macon and empowering women in our community.”

“While at the program, one of the coordinators, Cheyney Ryan, said something that really resonated with me, ‘If you don’t know who’s responsible, you’re responsible.’ Applying this quote to our efforts of broadening the GWNP at Mercer, I believe someone has to take the initiative to make sure the forgotten narratives of these powerful women are made mainstream,” added Russell.