Fellows and researchers

On this page:
Associate Fellows
O'Brien Fellows in Residence
O'Brien Graduate Fellows
Visiting Fellows & Scholars
Rathlyn Program Coordinators
Interns

Associate Fellows

Malado Agne (2020-2021)

Malado Agne
Malado Agne est enseignante à l’Institut des Droits de l’Homme et de la Paix (IDHP) de l’Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar. Docteure en droit de l’Université Le Havre-Normandie, elle a consacré sa thèse à l’étude du statut juridique de l’islam en France. Elle a enseigné le droit dans plusieurs universités, en France et au Sénégal. Elle a également travaillé dans le domaine de la justice.

Ses recherches portent sur les relations entre État et religion et sur les sources africaines du droit. Elle est affiliée au Centre Universitaire Rouennais d’Etudes Juridiques (CUREJ).

Elle poursuit actuellement un projet de recherche intitulé « Le Sénégal dans le contexte de la régulation internationale des migrations : aspects juridiques et politiques de la réception dans l'ordre étatique de sources exogènes. »

Pierre-Luc Bouchard (August 2020-July 2021)

Pierre-Luc Bouchard
A member of the Quebec Bar, Pierre-Luc Bouchard manages the Legal Aid Clinic of the Refugee Centre in Montreal.

Over his career, Pierre-Luc Bouchard has represented several asylum seekers and refugees in their immigration procedures before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

He believes in social justice and helps people in difficult situations to establish themselves in Canada.

He is also co-president of Alternatives, an organisation that works in international cooperation, and he is also a board member of the Milton Park Community.

Edin Hodžić

Edin Hodžić
Edin Hodžić (DCL 2014) is co-founder, Director and Head of Public Law Program at Analitika – Center for Social Research from Sarajevo, a leading think-tank in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He holds a DCL from McGill University, LLM from the University of Oxford and BA in Law from the University of Sarajevo. Previously, among his several professional engagements, Edin worked on war crimes cases at the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was Editor-in-Chief of The Pulse of Democracy (Puls demokratije), an online publication on legal and policy issues in BiH published by Open Society Fund Bosnia and Herzegovina. He worked on a number of research projects and published several books, papers and research reports in the broad field of public law, including a co-edited volume on media and minorities in South-East Europe, and a book on constitutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He acted as a consultant on numerous occasions, advising the government and international organizations alike. Recently, Edin advised UNDP and the BiH Council of Ministers in the course of drafting a comprehensive transitional justice strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Edin’s research interests mostly lie in the fields of constitutional law and international human rights law, but he also remains committed to combining insights from political science and political theory. He is particularly focused on exploring the theory and practice of collective and minority rights and complexities of transitional justice.

Abdourahmane Seck (2020-2021)

Abdourahmane Seck
Dr Abdourahmane Seck est en poste à la Faculté des civilisations, des religions, des arts et de la communication de l'Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, au Sénégal, où il enseigne au Centre d'étude des religions qu’il a dirigé entre 2012 et 2014. Il a une formation multidisciplinaire englobant la philosophie, l'anthropologie et l'histoire moderne et contemporaine de l'Afrique.

Dr Seck est l’auteur de nombreux travaux autour de la dynamique des liens sociaux, politiques et symboliques en Afrique, avec un accent particulier dans les domaines de la religion, des migrations et des historiographies décoloniales.

Il vient de co-fonder le Collectif décolonial : Groupe d’Action et d’Étude Critique - Africa (Gaec-Africa) et travaille sur un projet de recherche intitulé "L’Afrique peut-elle peser dans le débat migration et droit international?"


O'Brien Fellows in Residence

Öykü Didem Aydin - December 2020 - November 2021

Öykü Didem Aydın
Dr. iur. Öykü Didem Aydin is an Associate Professor and a member of the Department for Constitutional Law at the Hacettepe University Law School, Turkey. Öykü Didem Aydin holds a master's degree from Ankara University and Milan University (1994), and a doctorate from Freiburg University (2001). They worked as a research project manager in the Max Planck Group between 2001-2003.

Professor Aydin has received scholarships from organizations such as the European Union, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and the Max-Planck Institute. After returning to Turkey in 2004, Professor Aydin worked as an assistant professor, doctor and lecturer. Ökyü Didem Aydin researches national and international criminal law, criminal law reform politics, freedom of thought, thought crimes, women's rights, sexual rights and children's rights.

Valentin Migabo - June 2021 - May 2022

Valentin Migabo
Politologue et spécialiste en gestion des conflits et de la paix, Valentin Migabo peut enfin publier ses travaux sur la situation qui règne dans la région des Grands lacs, en Afrique, minée par plus de 20 ans de conflits. Depuis mai 2019, il est le premier chercheur invité par le comité Scholars at Risk de l’UQAM (SAR/ Universitaires en danger, en français). Ce réseau universitaire permet à des chercheurs de partout dans le monde, et dont la vie est menacée, d'obtenir des postes dans des universités où ils pourront effectuer leurs recherches en sécurité et en toute liberté.

Congolais d’origine, Valentin Migabo possède une solide expérience en tant que travailleur de terrain dans les zones de conflit ou post-conflit. Il a participé aux Opérations de maintien de la paix en Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre. En 2009-2010, son mandat en Côte d’Ivoire, au sein de l’Unité post-conflit du Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement (PNUD), l’a amené à participer à la mise en œuvre du programme de désarmement, de démobilisation et de réinsertion sociale des anciens combattants. Grâce au Fonds Social de la République Démocratique du Congo (FSRDC), un organisme qui a pour mission de participer à l’effort de reconstruction et de développement du pays, il a collaboré, en partenariat avec la Banque Mondiale, à la conception d’une cartographie des conflits dans les provinces orientales et du Sud-Kivu (2014-2018). De 2011 à 2016, il a été agent humanitaire pour le compte de diverses organisations non gouvernementales, toujours en RDC. Enfin, il a aussi été chercheur au Centre de recherche ouest africain (WARC) et membre du réseau du Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique (CODESRIA), de 2007 à 2009.


O'Brien Graduate Fellows

See our page on Current Graduate Students & Postdocs to see which students have received O'Brien Fellowships.


Visiting Fellows & Scholars

Slava Balan - 2020-2021

Slava Balan
Slava (Veaceslav) Balan, LLM'15, is a human rights researcher and practitioner, originally from Moldova, now settled in Canada. In 2008-2014 and 2015-2018, he worked with the United Nations in Moldova, including for three years as national coordinator of the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR). In 2005-2008, he served as the mobilization and campaigns coordinator with Amnesty International Moldova, and, in 2004-2007, he lectured at the Moldovan Academy of Public Administration.

Slava Balan holds a Master’s degree in Comparative Law from McGill University (2015), another Master’s degree in Comparative Constitutional Law from the Central European University (2002), and an equivalent of Bachelor in Law degree from the Moldova State University (2000).

Presently, Slava is pursuing a PhD in Law program at the University of Ottawa. His research project focuses on human rights-based approach (HRBA) to international, national and local development, policy, and law-making.

He collaborates with McGill Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, the University of Ottawa Human Rights Research and Education Center, and Moldovan Equality Council.

As part-time international consultant, he contributes to the work of UN Women Ukraine on applying human rights and gender-based approach to local development and decentralization reform. He also collaborates in Freedom House’s annual Freedom in the World report, as well as with Moldovan community-based and human rights NGOs.

Slava’s current areas of professional and academic interest include human rights and gender-based approaches to (sustainable) development, policy-making and law, United Nations human rights system, protection of minorities, representation and elections.

Sonia Cancian - 2021-2022

Sonia Cancian
Dr. Sonia Cancian is a social historian with an expertise in migration history and personal narratives. She has focused her attention on letters and other personal narratives in an endeavour to underscore shared human experiences that characterize mobility and transnational lives across time and space. Her interdisciplinary work engages with migration history, gender studies, family studies, literature, the history of emotions and experiences, communication studies, memory studies, post-conflict resettlement, phenomenology, narratology, and human rights studies. Dr. Cancian is also an International Member of the McGill Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Montreal.

She holds a Ph.D. in Humanities (History, Concordia University) and has received numerous fellowships, including SSHRC and FRQSC doctoral fellowships, the Women’s Centennial McGill Major Fellowship, and the McGill Eakin Visiting Fellowship in Canadian Studies. In 2008, she and Prof. Donna Gabaccia developed the Digitizing Immigrant Letters project (University of Minnesota), an award-winning research tool on 19th-20th century migrant correspondence. Recent scholarly appointments include Zayed University (Dubai, U.A.E.), the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Berlin, Germany), and the McGill Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Montreal.

Among the new volumes she has authored and edited are: Emotional Landscapes: Love, Gender, and Migration, co-edited by Borges, Cancian, and Reeder (University of Illinois Press, 2021), and With Your Words in My Hands: The Letters of Antonietta Petris and Loris Palma (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2021). New projects examine emotions of inclusion/exclusion in global migration history, and memories of violence and migration in post-conflict resettlement.

Mauro Cristeche - 2019-2021

Mauro Cristeche
Mauro Cristeche is a Researcher at Argentina's National Research Council (CONICET) and Assistant Professor of Constitutional Law at the National University of La Plata (UNLP), in Argentina. He is a Researcher and Board Member at the Institute of Legal Culture (UNLP), where he coordinates the Area “State, Public Policies and Rights”.

His area of research includes economic, social, and cultural rights (ESCR), welfare and labor policies, poverty, and inequality. He is also interested in theoretical debates on economic policies and legal issues from a critical perspective. His current project focuses on analyzing some of the main welfare policies in Argentina, their link with the labor market, and their impact on ESCR, and exploring a comparative perspective with other countries.

He holds a PhD in Law from the University of Buenos Aires in 2013. In 2015 he was an Erasmus Mundus postdoctoral scholar at the Department of Public Law, International and Community of University Degli Studi di Padova (Italy). In 2016 he received the Young Researcher Award from the National University of La Plata, for his scientific work at the Faculty of Legal and Social Sciences. In 2017 he obtained a Fulbright scholarship to a postdoctoral stay at the Department of Sociology of Johns Hopkins University (United States). He has developed academic activities in other Universities in Europe and America, and he is currently a visiting researcher at the CRIMT, University of Montreal. In 2019 he is publishing (co-authored) the book “Investigaciones sociojurídicas contemporáneas”. He was an O'Brien Fellow in Residence at the CHRLP from August to December 2019.

Shimelis Kene - November 2020 - December 2021

Shimelis Kene
Dr. Kene received his Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) degree from McGill University in 2020. His doctoral thesis, entitled “Third World State Agency: A Postcolonial Critique of Ethiopia’s Antiterrorism Law” interrogates postcolonial and critical international law theories, and argues that neither adequately captures the nuance and agency involved in Third World states’ agentic adoption of Western discourses and instrumentalization of (international) law. His current areas of research interests include international (human rights) law, international criminal law, theoretical and Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL), and the UN. His ongoing research examines the role of international law in the North-South encounter.

Previously, Dr. Kene worked at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP); the Human Rights Office of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE); the Organization for Social Justice in Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian Federal First Instance Court. While in these positions, he worked on several community-based projects related to social justice, international human rights, access to justice, legal empowerment, and development. As Postgraduate Assistant at Northwestern’s Bluhm Legal Clinic, he conducted field research in Liberia under the auspices of UNICEF and wrote a report on the Liberian Juvenile Justice System.

Dr. Kene is a former O’Brien Fellow at the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. He holds an LL.M in International Human Rights from Northwestern University and an LL.B from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia). In his academic and other engagements, Dr. Kene aspires to foster shared and more nuanced understandings of complex intercultural issues and improve intercultural relations.

Tamara Thermitus - 2020-2021

Tamara ThermitusMe Tamara Thermitus, Ad.E., LLM, 2013, specializes in human rights. Her master’s at McGill Law focused on human rights, notably racial discrimination and defamation from a Critical Race Theory perspective.

She chaired the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse in 2017-2018. For over 20 years, she was a litigation lawyer in the Quebec Regional Office of Justice Canada.

Chief of staff to the Deputy Minister of the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Office in 2003, Me Thermitus was Director of Policy and Strategic Planning from 2004 to 2006. As chief negotiator for the federal government, she helped define the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s mandate, which is at the heart of the historic settlement of the lawsuits brought by former residential schools students, one of the most important settlements in Canadian history.

Me Thermitus has accumulated numerous commitments to counter discrimination. From 2004 to 2010, she was Chair of the Committee on Cultural Communities of the Quebec Bar. In this capacity, she was among the first to raise awareness among the Bar's bodies on issues relating to racial discrimination in the profession and in the judicial system in Quebec. In this context, she directed the writing of several memoirs dealing in particular with racial profiling and racial discrimination.

In addition to being a lecturer on these issues, she is notably behind the development of the course on the social context of law offered by the École du Barreau. In 2014, Me Thermitus was the co-initiator of the project leading to the the Québec Bar’s report: “Forum-Pour une profession inclusive”, Ethnocultural diversity in the legal profession”. In 2015, she was given the mandate to prepare the annual conference of the Québec Bar. She also chaired the Equality Committee of the Quebec Division of the Canadian Bar Association.

Me Thermitus has received several distinctions. In 2011, the Barreau du Québec awarded her its prestigious Mérite du Barreau distinction (2011). She has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Medal (2012), the Employment Equity and Diversity Leadership Award (Department of Justice, 2010 and 2016) and was a recipient of the Black History Month award (2012). In 2015, she was chosen by a jury chaired by the Hon. Louise Arbour as part of the 40th anniversary of the Charter of human rights and freedoms, for the Commission des droits de la personne et de la jeunesse. The same year, the Black Law Students Association presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Edward van Daalen - 2021-2022

Edward van Daalen
Edward van Daalen is a critical socio-legal researcher specialised in international human/children’s rights law and social movements.

He holds a PhD (summa cum laude) in international public law from the University of Geneva, for which he studied the role of organised working children in the development of international child labour law. As certified university lecturer, he has designed and thought courses on international law, human rights, children’s rights and social movements at the University of Geneva and at the Sciences Po Law School where he resided as visiting fellow (2018-2020). He published various innovative chapters and articles published in leading human rights journals, including the International Journal of Human Rights and the International Journal of Children’s Rights. He is a core member of the Children and Work Network and founder of the Law and Cinema Club at the Sciences Po Law School.

His current postdoctoral research project (2021-2022) at the McGill University Faculty of Law is entitled “Targeting ‘Target 8.7’: A Socio-Legal Study on the Interrelations between the SDGs, the Global Legal Child Labour Regime, and Domestic Law and Policy”, for which he was awarded a Postdoctoral Mobility Grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation.


Rathlyn Disability & the Law Program Coordinators

Amanda Bowie-Edwards (2020-2021)

Amanda is a third year BCL/JD student at the McGill Faculty of Law. Originally from Thunder Bay, Ontario, she moved to Montreal during high school. Prior to studying law, she obtained a DEC from John Abbott College in Liberal Arts.

Outside of the classroom, Amanda serves as VP Clubs and Services on the Law Students’ Association. She also volunteers at the Legal Information Clinic and is an associate managing editor for the McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law. This past summer, she interned at West Island Community Shares, where she worked on projects aimed at supporting local NGOs. This work led to an interest in community-based approaches to human rights issues. She is also interested in the intersection between human rights, environmental justice, and intergenerational equity.

Elise Mallette  (2020-2021)

Elise Mallette is a third-year student at the McGill Faculty of Law and an Associate Editor of the McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law. In 2014, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and French with a thematic concentration in Socio-Cultural Identity from the University of Mississippi.

Elise is interested in international relations, environmental law, and sustainable development.

Nevada McEniry-Hatajlo (2020-2021)

Nevada is a final year BCL/JD student at McGill’s Faculty of Law. She grew up in Montreal and completed her bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies at Concordia University. She also completed a Women’s Studies certificate at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia. While working at Concordia, she worked at the CSU’s Legal Information Clinic, as well as at the CSU’s Advocacy Centre. These experiences helped guide her to apply to law school.

Nevada has really appreciated the more practical experiences she’s had in law school. Over the summer of 2019, she began shadowing the director of Innocence McGill, and is now a co-director for the 2019-2020 school year. This experience has solidified her interest in criminal law, but it has also taught her countless other things. In addition, she’s was a previous volunteer at a local sex-workers organization called Stella, in which she participated in an ongoing legal research project in documenting sex-work cases throughout Canada. Throughout her studies, she was also getting to know McGill better by working at McGill’s Office for Students with Disabilities.

Ellen Spannagel
Ellen Spannagel  (2020-2021)

Ellen is a second year BCL/JD student at McGill’s Faculty of Law. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism and Humanities from Carleton University.

She is passionate about work that is disability-inclusive and centers gender, sexual, and romantic minorities. She is also passionate about storytelling, and the ways in which knowledge is built, translated, and shared across regions and communities.

Zoë Christmas (2019-2020)

Zoë Christmas is a law student at McGill University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy degree from McMaster University, where she worked as a research assistant at the Bertrand Russell Research Centre.

She interned at the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy in early 2019 for the Bill C-81project on Canadian disability legislation, under the supervision of Professor Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry. She now works for Professor Beaudry as a research assistant.

She has also volunteered for the Legal Information Clinic at McGill, the Radical Law Students Association, and Open Door Books, a books-to-prisoners organization.


Interns

Emma Lodge (2020)
Emma Lodge

Emma Lodge is a second year BCL/JD student at McGill University's Faculty of Law. She previously studied Political Science at the University of British Columbia.

Prior to law school, she worked on Parliament Hill for two MPs through the Parliamentary Internship Program. Emma also volunteers as a case worker and student advocate with the Legal Information Clinic at McGill, with the L.E.X. (Law-Éducation-Connexion) Outreach Program, and spends her spare time running and cycling on Mont Royal. 

Chiara Montalbano (winter 2019)
Chiara Montalbano

Chiara Montalbano holds a law degree from Trento Faculty of Law with thesis “ Relationship between legal pluralism and human rights”. During her studies, she studied International law, in particular International human rights law. Moreover, she spent one year at the Faculté de droit de Lorraine to deepen her knowledge of French Law and contrast it with Italian law.

During her stay at McGill’s Faculty of Law, she did a research thesis under the supervision of Prof. Kirsten Anker. She keeps in touch with the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. She is also an Elsa member and UNICEF Volunteer.

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