IRC Visits Cite Soleil

NBLSA International Relations Committee 2008 Ralph Bunche Building Bridges Trip -- Port-au-Prince Haiti - Day 2 Mar 17 5:45 PM
NBLSA visits Cite Soleil
Today, NBLSA’s delegation to Haiti visited Cite Soleil. Children with ill fitting and dirty clothes walked through streets layered with trash amidst the bustle of marchands and tap-taps on dusty but lively streets. Many of the marchands or vendors are children themselves, fighting to stay alive in a place where gang violence have claimed the lives of many young children. Cite Soleil however has seen some improvement in the last months, according to Herode, the programming director of Pax Christi who directs the Soccer for Peace program in Cite Soleil. Over the past year, the political situation in Haiti has stabilized and brightly colored buildings are slowly springing up around Cite Soleil. However, many of Cite Soleil’s children are largely deprived of an education, health care, shelter and clean water.
NBLSA members delivered and distributed 35 boxes of soccer equipment, sports clothing, games, and school supplies to the children of Cite Soleil through the Pax Christi Soccer for Peace Program. Additionally, Michelle Augustine, the NBLSA’s International Relations Committee Chair, presented the organizers of the Soccer for Peace program with a check for money that was collected from NBLSA chapters around the country.
While interacting with the children, the delegation was visited by a group of three Amnesty International researchers who had heard about the NBLSA presence in Cite Soleil. Impressed by NBLSA’s commitment to the children of Haiti, the researchers expressed an interest in working with NBLSA in the future.
NBLSA members also visited the homes of two of the children who participated in the Soccer for Peace program. The visit to Cite Soleil moved several of the students, and encouraged them to make steadfast commitments to continue their efforts to combat poverty in Haiti.

IRC Goes to Haiti

NBLSA International Relations Committee 2008 Ralph Bunche Building Bridges Trip -- Port-au-Prince Haiti - Day 1 Mar 15 2:14 AM
On Friday March 14, 2008, students from BLSA chapters around the country visited Port au Prince, Haiti.
The delegation of students consisted of:
Michelle Augustine, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Sheryl Montour, University of St. Thomas School of Law
Michael Leslie, University of St. Thomas School of Law
Natalia Ventsko, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Elizabeth Alston, Southern Methodist University
Damion Blair, University of Windsor and Detroit Mercy
Diana Dessources, Touro Law New York
Edwina King, University of Windsor and Detroit Mercy
Uchechi Anyanwu, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Monique, Howard University School of Law
Nashelle, Howard University School of Law
Jose Massingue, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Askala Harris, Loyola University New Orleans Business School
Eddie Koen, Samford University, Cumberland School of Law
Jennifer Charlot, Columbia University alumni
Marlynne Bidos, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Jessica Rucker, University of St. Thomas School of Law
Christa Forman, Howard University School of Law
A delegation of 20 NBLSA members lead by NBLSA International Relations Chair, Michelle Augustine, met with Rock Cadet the Doyen, at the Palais de Justice in Port au Prince, Haiti. The Doyen explained to the visiting group that his position was essentially that of chief prosecutor for Port au Prince. He also went into great detail about the daily activities of his position, and elaborated on the finer points of the differences between common and civil law. After meeting with the Doyen, the students went on a walking tour of downtown Port au Prince. Among the sites visited were the Presidential Palace and the National Museum of Haiti. Later in the day the group drove by the house of former President Aristide, made a trip to visit local artists and then sat down to eat Haitian delicacies at a popular local restaurant, Medaille.
In the evening, the group had the pleasure of meeting with renowned human rights attorney Mario Joseph. Mr. Joseph took time out of his busy schedule to share with the group information about cases that had helped him to develop a reputation for being a highly competent and vocal advocate of the poor and disadvantaged of his native Haiti. Mr. Joseph elaborated on his professional history. He explained how he came to practice human rights law and over the course of the discussion, he reiterated several times the need for social consciousness in the practice of law. Mr. Joseph ended his talk by encouraging everyone present to be effective and efficient advocates for their clients and he expressed a need for assistance with the very important work that he does. Tomorrow the delegation will visit the Cite Soleil, an area of Haiti which was at one time considered to be the worst slum in the northern hemisphere. Over the past year Cite Soleil has made great improvements and the residents have made an effort to improve the neighborhood. NBLSA members will be donating soccer equipment, school supplies, and money to Pax Christi, a group dedicated to helping children break out of the vicious cycle of violence and poverty for which the Cite Soleil is known.

International Week of Service

NBLSA Adds a Drop to the Bucket

NBLSA’s International Week of Service – February 18 to 22

Proposed Week of Activities

Monday 18

Soccer Equipment Drive benefiting Pax Christi’s Soccer for Peace Program

Tuesday 19

Movie: Ghosts of Cite de Soleil

Wednesday 20

School Supplies Drive benefiting Pax Christi’s Outreach Program

Thursday 21

Conference call for all chapters and interested groups on situation in Haiti

Friday 22

Give your dinner to a hungry child

Cite de Soleil is Haiti’s biggest and poorest slum…

an enclave of violence, street kids, poverty, disease and HOPE!

Pax Christi’s Soccer for Peace Program aims at keeping young boys off the streets and away from gang violence.

If each BLSA chapter gets at least 100 people from their schools, neighborhoods, workplaces or families to contribute at least $10 one Friday in February, we can feed the Soccer Team for a year…



On March 14th 2008, NBLSA’s International Relations Committee will go to Port-au-Prince Haiti to learn more about Haitian culture and the impact of Haiti’s socioeconomic environment on young children. International Week of Service will introduce NBLSA’s International Relations Committee’s (IRC) Drop in the Bucket Project on Haiti. The IRC will focus one major fundraiser and two gear drives on helping Pax Christi Haiti with its Programming in Haiti’s Cite de Soleil. The IRC wishes to foster an understanding of the situation in Haiti among young law students in the U.S. while helping an organization of young professionals in Haiti fulfill their own commitment to social justice in Haiti.

A day in Cite de Soleil

The IRC’s weekend will consist of discussions, service activities and panel discussions. The highlight of the weekend however, is a Day in Cite de Soleil, Haiti’s largest and poorest slum.

The day in Cite de Soleil is a chance for NBLSA members to come face to face with the daily lives of young children in Haiti. This is a chance for NBLSA members to see the bigger picture of poverty in our back yard and the effect of poverty on the lives of Haiti’s most vulnerable. More than just learning about the slum, NBLSA members will interact with the young children of the Pax Christi soccer team. IRC will donate school supplies to the group as well as soccer supplies for their soccer team. IRC will also present to Pax Christi Haiti funds collected in its “Give a hungry child your dinner” drive for the program's feeding project. The IRC aims at collecting at least USD15 000 dollars for this project with the hopes of funding the soccer team, to cover its feeding program and other administrative costs for a year.

Impact Litigation

Part of the weekend will be spent discussing human rights and international law issues with Pooja Bhatia, a Harvard Law School Fellow (Class of 2007) working in Haiti with Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI). Mario Joseph, one of Haiti’s top attorneys will also be at our discussion if his schedule permits it. He is the founder of BAI.


Each school will be asked to participate in fundraising attempts for the trip. We need money to send the equipment to Haiti, the equipment and school gear and most importantly, the give a meal for a hungry child drive.

We will give each chapter access to promotional materials to help with fundraising. For more information, contact us at or And join our google group for updates on our Haiti Project:



NBLSA will visit Haiti on March 14 to 16 2008 to learn more about the political, social and economic situation in Haiti. NBLSA will utilize dialogue and community service to bring together young professionals from Haiti and the U.S. to work together on community service projects as well as discuss the U.S. Haiti relationship.

All BLSA members nationwide are welcomed to join us in Haiti as we visit Cite de Soleil to perform a day of community service and cultural immersion.

NBLSA is teaming up with Pax Christi Haiti for this project. NBLSA will work with Pax Christi on their Soccer for Peace Project. The Soccer for Peace Project aims at ending the cycle of violence that has plagued Haiti in the past years. Pax Christi visits Cite de Soleil periodically to play soccer with the youth of Cite de Soleil. Gangs recruit the youth of Cite de Soleil early in their lives as agents of violence. Pax Christi hopes to affect the younger students with an agenda of peace as well as give them a chance to engage in meaningful recreation.

NBLSA will visit Cite de Soleil and work with Pax Christi on their Soccer for Peace Project. NBLSA will also donate soccer equipment and school supplies to the youth of Cite de Soleil. We are counting on the chapters to help us get soccer equipment, used or new, to donate to the children of Cite de Soleil. We also will need donations of school supplies like crayons, pencils, pens, writing paper, sharpeners, erasers, chalk and markers.

Each member will be responsible for the costs of the trip. Airfare varies according to where you are in the U.S. Lodging costs for the weekend will be $75.00 per person. You may also be responsible for some transportation costs if our fund raising efforts fail. Lodging is limited so RSVP early to ensure room availability.

To RSVP, or for questions, email or by February 20th 2008.

Tentative Schedule

NBLSA’s International Relations Committee Weekend in Haiti
Friday March 14 to Sunday March 16

Friday March 14

Venue: Matthew 25 (Boarding house)

Conversation with Pooja Bhatia - Harvard Fellow in Haiti and Attorney Mario Joseph, Director of BAI, Bureaux Des Avocats Internationeaux

Saturday March 15

Venue: Matthew 25
Morning breakfast

Venue: Cite de Soleil (Community Service Site)

Community Service Activity
Presentation of School Supplies

Venue: Cite de Soleil
Presentation to young boys playing soccer
Soccer Game with young boys
Party for kids

Venue: TBA
Social with Pax Christi

Sunday March 9th

Venue: Matthew 25

Morning Ecumenical Service
Round Table discussion on U.S. Haiti Relationship

Departure to Airport

To find out more about Pax Christi, click on this link.

To read more about Cite de Soleil, see:

Pax Christi visits Cite de Soleil periodically to work with the children who live there, many of whom are homeless and orphaned, and all living in extreme poverty.


Welcome Back!

To those of you who have secured wonderful international internships for the summer of 2008, CONGRATULATIONS! For those of you who have not yet started looking, we have some more tips for you in this month's Career Development Corner.

At our last meeting, we decided to postpone international week of service until we have a better understanding of the needs of two programs in Haiti. I will visit Haiti this month and will speak to two organizations which we will work with in the Spring. Once I return from Haiti, we will update you on our revised plans for International Week of Service.

We hope to hear from you on how to serve your needs better. Don't forget to send us your stories of internships and travel abroad.


Interning in Haiti


Fonkoze is Haiti's Alternative Bank for the Organized Poor. Fonkoze was created by Ms. Anne Hastings. It is the largest micro-finance institution offering a full range of financial services to the rural-based poor in Haiti.

Fonkoze is a Haitian Creole acronym for Fondasyon Kole Zepòl, which means, "The Shoulder-to-Shoulder Foundation". The word itself conveys the meaning, "in the midst of sharing." Fonkoze's mission is to build the economic foundations for democracy in Haiti. Established in 1994, Fonkoze currently has over 115,000 depositors, over 45,000 active borrowers (99% of whom are women), and 32 branch offices spread throughout every department of Haiti.

Anne Hastings, Executive Director of Fonkoze, is interested in finding solutions for extreme poverty. Hastings believes that microfinance, education, health care and case management plays large roles eradicating poverty. Hastings was Senior Partner and Managing Director of Scanlon and Hastings, a management consulting company in Washington DC, from 1985 to 1996 and a Senior Analyst at Advanced Technology in Reston, Virginia from 1982 to 1985. Hastings holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and an Honorary Doctorate in Business Leadership from Duquesne University. She also held research fellowships at the Brookings Institution and the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

Interested in Fonkoze? There are two great internship opportunities available to you!
Fonkoze is accepting interns in their dynamic rural microcredit and business development programs that are on the cutting edge of innovation in rural poverty reduction as well astheir pioneering educational program that combines basic literacy training with practical education in business development, sexual and reproductive health, and use of financial services. Fonkoze has listed as conditions for acceptance of an internship with them:1. A match between your skills and our needs 2. Available to live in Haiti for a minimum of 3 months3. Fluent in Creole (preferred) or French or willingness to study Creole4. Ability to finance your entire internship (unless you are a Creole speaker)For further information, contact:

Anne H. Hastings, Director

Since its inception in 1994, Fonkoze has steadily grown until today it is the largest microfinance institution in Haiti offering a full-range of financial services to the rural poor. Through its network of 18 branch offices, located in every Department of Haiti, Fonkoze provides its clients access to: (1) microcredit, using the Grameen Bank method of solidarity lending, (2) savings, (3) currency exchange, and (4) a money transfer service. As it recognizes the problems of the poor go beyond the need for financial services, Fonkoze complements these services with educational programs like literacy, business skills and sexual and reproductive health training. As Fonkoze continues to grow, the popularity and demand for its services grow too.
Information adapted from Fonkoze’s Website:

Career Development Corner


By Jackée Missick
Juris Doctor Candidate, December 2008
Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center
National Black Law Student Association,
International Relations Committee
Touro BLSA Northeast Representative


i. Fun
ii. Experience
iii. Resume Enhancer

Get Applications
Find out the application deadline dates
Find out if you would need a Visa to enter the country
Find out if you need a work permit and or insurance.
Find out if you need any references or school information and start working on them now.

Consider positions that pay
i. Every little bit helps
Consider getting a part-time, weekend job while you are abroad
i. Research what is needed for that (work permit)
Hit your family up for extra cash.
i. Talk to them about your trip in advance and try to get them on board.
Plan a budget and start saving now

Be familiar with the type of work the company does
Find out if they have been in the news lately

Stay away from Countries with domestic conflicts going on.
Research the country and neighbourhood of the job to see if you would be safe.
Research the accommodations where you will stay during the internship.

Even if the application does not ask for it, consider writing a personal statement and why you want to work/study there.
Your application should distinguish you from others
i. Highlight your accomplishments
ii. Highlight your diversity

Figure out what the language differences are.
Figure out if you can cope with the cultural differences.
Don’t wait for the last minute to do this research-you want to be very prepared once you get there

Talk to people who have done study or work abroad programs
Talk to classmates who are from the countries you are thinking about going to.

Plan to get your applications in at the start of the application process.


This month we focus on the students of Nigeria's Chapter who recently elected a Executive Board. We Congratulate the New Board and wish them the best of luck as they work with the other Black law students in their region to form the first ever African Coalition of Black Law Students.

I will share with you an email sent by the Nigerian chapter to NBLSA:

Dear Alice,

NBLSA NIGERIA really appreciate thechallenge and encouragement. Africa as a continent will undeniably be strong with honour someday we believe. Here is the list of our New Executive Board Members.We hope that the African Coalition comes to pass so that our forced push will move things and make change happen accordingly.

New Executive Board Members:

Adeleke Kayode Emmanuel SECRETARY
Eniola Badmos Modupe TREASURER
adeola omollola omojola DIRECTOR OF SOCIALS
T.A Benson Director of Communications bensononspase
A.O owolabi Librarian froggielakes
Kilani Mulikat oluwa funke Director of Moot court trial
olojede A.Sunday DIRECTOR OF

Here is the list. You will get other email addresses soonest. Our website is

we hope to hearing from you soonest.

The African Coalition has to be generated in due time ..give us the required mail address of our partners in Africa. In NBLSA LOVE

We're Here to Serve You!

Welcome to our space!

We are happy to launch the first of several monthly editions of the International Connection. The International Connection was created as a mouthpiece for NBLSA’s International Relations Committee. The International Relations Committee has adopted 4 goals for this academic year:

1. To celebrate cultural diversity within NBLSA
2. To help NBLSA members successfully prepare for careers in International Law
3. To change the structure of the Black Law Students International Division
4. To keep NBLSA members aware of issues affecting black communities in the global village

This blog will serve as a vehicle to further these four goals.

The International Relations Committee (IRC) will focus on celebrating the diversity of NBLSA during the 2007– 2008 term. NBLSA members have roots in countries all over the world and there is so much we need to learn about each other in order to form a stronger alliance and accomplish our common goals. The IRC will release a list of activities that can be done during the International Week of Service to help chapters get in touch with the cultural richness of their membership, as well as learn about the wider black community in the international community.

The IRC is further invested in helping more NBLSA members get internships in International law. The IRC will feature discussion pieces on internship opportunities, resume building, finding mentors in International Law, finding people in International Law and learning about the work of our peers in the International legal field.

The IRC will also work on helping the International Law School Division build stronger coalitions in their regions. The IRC is working on creating an African Coalition of Black law students as well as a Caribbean coalition of law students. The IRC will work with these groups to increase the general body’s awareness of issues affecting black communities in the global village. This year our focus is on Haiti, and we will also focus on issues such as child labor and trafficking and of course AIDS. NBLSA’s International Relations Committee is working hard to help you prepare for a successful career in International Law. Every month we will highlight the stories, the tips, the news and the people of International law. We welcome you to look at our blog spot to find the information you need to help you as you plan a successful career and learn more about the committee. We further ask for your contributions to the IRC blog, to share your experiences of International Law on this blog with the wider membership, comment on articles on Facebook and the blog, and post news stories of interest on the blog and on facebook.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Young Black Professionals in International Law


This month, Thallen Womack Brassel of NBLSA spoke to Ms. Magda Theodate about her career in International Law. Ms. Theodate's bio is followed by excerpts from Ms. Womack's conversation with Ms. Theodate.

Ms. Theodate is a U.S. and France trained attorney, and recognized specialist in public procurement matters with multi-lateral entities. She is admitted to the State of New Jersey Bar, and has over nine years of international experience in her field.

Currently, Ms. Theodate is the Regional Procurement Specialist for the Caribbean, with the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC. In that role, she provides advice to five countries (Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago) on the management of procurement issues related to IADB loans. Ms. Theodate also has expertise in the area of international public sector reform, with emphasis on procurement and contracts policy reform. She has worked with the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development in Paris, France, the World Bank’s Africa Region, as well as the US Congress, and a private law firm.

Ms. Theodate is a US national, and fully fluent in French and Spanish. She has lived and/or worked in the U.S., Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

Ms. Theodate answers our questions about the making of her career.

How I broke into the field of international law:

I always knew I wanted an international career, working with clients and colleagues from around the world. I chose The American University Washington College of Law for law school because I knew that the School and its dean, Claudio Grossman, valued international experiences and encouraged law student study abroad programs. Through the law school's exchange program with the University of Paris X-Nanterre in Paris, France, as well as one semester spent in an internship with the International Chamber of Commerce, Court of Arbitration, I knew that I was on track to having a rewarding career as international lawyer.

Advice to aspiring African-American law students:

First, I would encourage students to join the American Bar Association Section of International Law. The Section has terrific resources, both in terms of people and information, to help you once you make the decision to pursue a career in international law. Second, I would recommend creating plan A, B, and C (all inter-related) for your personal and professional development; a sort of mission statement, if you will. If one plan fails, go to the next. Then, take stock of the skills and assets you have to advance your plan, creating alliances to help you along the way (and whom you can help down the line), and remaining persistent. Lastly, stay humble, be grateful for your blessings, and be patient. I suffered through some difficult years in and out of law school, including family issues, two trans-Atlantic moves by myself, and unemployment, but I knew where I wanted to go, and had an idea what it would take to get there. I committed to making my dreams come true, but remained flexible to the unexpected curve balls life sometimes threw me.

Most Recent Publication(s): "Working Abroad: What You Need To Know To Make It Happen." American Bar Association Section of International Law Newsletter, Winter 2006/Spring 2007.