July 22, 2016
Professor Lucia Silecchia and her students at the Palace of Justice in Rome.

Earlier this summer, 15 law students from The Catholic University of America studied international human rights law in Rome and explored the Eternal City.

As participants in the International Human Rights Summer Law Program offered by the Columbus School of Law, the students spent three weeks taking classes at the Rome Center of The Catholic University of America and the Australian Catholic University.

Lucia Silecchia, a Catholic University law professor for the past 25 years who directs the program, says that, “Rome is one of my favorite places in the world and I enjoy the chance of exploring it with others — especially introducing it to those who have never been there before.” Silecchia has accompanied students to Rome every other summer since the program was established in 2010.

Each student took two courses that focused on international human rights law, spending four hours a day in class. In addition, the students visited numerous legal institutions including the Italian Senate, the Italian Supreme Court, the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, and the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

“Sadly, both historically and in our present time, there is no shortage of examples of the violation of human rights and disrespect for human dignity, particularly with respect to those who are the most vulnerable,” Silecchia said. “Fortunately, however, it has also been my observation that there are many willing to dedicate their professional careers, talents and energy to the preservation of and protection of human rights and dignity in our fragile world.”

Margueritta Matar, a third-year law student focusing on criminal law, said, “The most important thing to me that I learned was that the world is so diverse and it is important to learn about other cultures besides your own. I also learned that it was okay to wander around and adventure in a new country for the purpose of the experience.”

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