July 19, 2018

A group of CUA Law school students and faculty traveled to Rome, Italy for the 5th Annual Catholic University's International Human Rights Summer Law Program, held May 19 to June 9, 2018.

Professors Lucia Silecchia, Stacy Brustin, and Sarah Duggin accompanied the students in Rome, teaching courses that explored the intersection of international human rights law with other substantive areas of law, including international environmental law, corporate social responsibility, and immigration and refugee law. Several students also opted to conduct direct research with Professor Silecchia, exploring the involvement of the Holy See on selected human rights issues.

In addition to the intense 3-week, 4-credit program of study, students visited various legal institutions in Rome including the Italian Senate, the Corte of Cassation (Italian Supreme Court) and the Headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization. The group was welcomed by name at the May 23 General Audience with Pope Francis. As has become tradition, the first Saturday of the program was devoted to a day trip to the town of Assisi in the mountains of Umbria.

The International Human Rights Summer Program in Rome was first offered in 2011 with a specific commitment to offering students the opportunity to explore human rights law in depth. Each time the program has been offered, the course selections have revolved around different questions of human rights -- and their correlative responsibilities. The nature of these rights, their source, and their scope are among the most important questions of the social order. Both historically and in the present day there is no shortage of examples of disrespect for human rights and human dignity. Responding to this is a task that, in a particular way, falls to lawyers whose special training and knowledge allows them to work in and with the institutions and legal authorities that can protect, promote and clearly articulate fundamental human rights. This is also a task that lies very close to the heart of the mission of Catholic University's Columbus School of Law, which includes a core commitment to the ideals of the dignity of each human person; respect for the inviability of all human life; justice rooted in the common good; the recognition and protection of human rights as gifts of the Creator; care for the poor, the neglected, and the vulnerable; and the obligation of love for one another.

Professor Silecchia, who has directed the Rome Program since it was first launched noted: "CUA Law students and colleagues had the opportunity to explore some of the most complex and vexing questions of our time. I hope they came away with a deeper understanding of these areas of law, a greater appreciation of their role in shaping our world, and fond memories of their time in Rome."

Click here to view photos from the program. To learn more about the Summer Abroad programs at CUA Law click here.