The history, the food, the culture, the very air, (and yes, the classwork too) captivated nearly two dozen students who enrolled in the law school’s 2013 International Human Rights Summer Law Program in Rome.
The three week mini-semester was held May 18 to June 8, drawing 20 student participants who studied in one of the world’s most important and beautiful cities. This human rights program enjoyed its inaugural year in 2011, and was offered for the second time in 2013.
The program allows students to earn three or four credits over a concentrated three-week program of study. The “Eternal City” is home to the Holy See, a major international advocate for human rights and provider of humanitarian relief throughout the world. It is also the headquarters Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, as well as other legal and humanitarian institutions of interest to those studying human rights. In addition, Rome’s historical, religious, cultural, and legal significance make it a perfect setting for an intense study of human rights law.
Each student selected two courses from a menu of five, attending their classes on the welcoming campus of the Pontifical Lateran University. Course selections include existing offerings in Catholic University’s curriculum, as well as courses designed specifically for the program.
The coursework was intense, but timed was carved out for students to tour various places around Rome. The students were guests of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation, the Italian Constitutional Court, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Development Law Organization. Students also attended a Papal Audience and a Papal Mass for the Feast of Pentecost.
They also enjoyed an optional day trip to Assisi -- a UNESCO World Heritage site best known as the birthplace of Saints Francis and Clare, and also the site for international gatherings on world peace and ecology.
“We also welcomed as a guest speaker Monsignor Paul Tighe, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications,” said Catholic University law school Professor Lucia Silecchia, who directs the International Human Rights Summer Law Program
. “At a lunch with our students he showed them the iPad he lent Pope Benedict to use in sending the very first Papal tweet late last year.”
CUA Law Professors Donna Coleman Gregg, Karla Simon, and Roger Colinvaux also taught in the program this year. Because the program is completed in the second week of June, students have the opportunity to pursue summer employment after it is completed.