UC Law student finds inspiration at the Irish Centre for Human Rights

Each summer, the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights at the University of Cincinnati College of Law provides opportunities for law students to gain hands-on experience working in locations around the globe. In 2019 one of these students was Evan Gildenblatt, an Urban Morgan Fellow who traveled to Ireland to work at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland in Galway.

Gildenblatt enjoyed the kindness, hospitality and natural beauty of Ireland, but what impressed him most was the dedication of the people he met at the Centre. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights were adopted in 2011, but some argue that their implementation has been irregular in the years since. Gildenblatt worked with Dr. Shane Darcy on a project examining how the treaty bodies engage with these principles. Understanding this relationship helps to ensure national governments enact policies that are effective in protecting human rights.

Law student on cliffs of moher overlooking ocean

Evan Gildenblatt on the Cliffs of Moher overlooking the North Atlantic

“Being at the Irish Centre with these people who have dedicated their lives to the advancement of human rights — whether that be through humanitarian aid, peacekeeping, scholarly research or working with international or non-governmental organizations — was something I will value the rest of my life, “ he says.

While there, he attended the 20th annual International Criminal Court Summer School, which featured lectures and panels with experts from around the globe. Speakers included Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and Peter Charlton, judge on the Supreme Court of Ireland.

A native Ohioan, Gildenblatt has travelled extensively. “I’ve been lucky enough to have some great international experiences over the years, and that has certainly shaped my worldview,” he says.

As an undergraduate, he studied at Kent State University in the Center for Applied Conflict Management (now the School for Peace and Conflict Studies). Gildenblatt credits the faculty there, experts in several aspects of human rights, with solidifying his resolve to work in the field.

NUI qaudrangle with buildings

National University of Ireland Galway. Photo/Evan Gildenblatt

Gildenblatt considered several law schools across the country but ultimately chose UC.

“Meeting with the folks here and seeing the dedication and hard work they’ve put into cultivating this incredible institute over the past 40 years really inspired me,” he says. "We're privileged here at UC Law to have the oldest endowed human rights institute of any law school in the country. If there is something human rights-related that you want to do, they can help you make it happen."

He hopes his work in human rights and international experience will lead to a career in diplomacy, but also sees a lot of important work to be done closer to home. “There are opportunities right here in our city related to access to education and health care, access to legal advocacy, access to fair housing — these get overlooked sometimes, but human rights really start at home,” he says.

We're privileged here at UC Law to have the oldest endowed human rights institute, of any law school in the country. If there is something human rights-related that you want to do, they can help you make it happen.

Evan Gildenblatt

Law students learn to analyze problems and resolve conflict, and Gildenblatt believes those skills are applicable anywhere.

“The better that you’re able to interact with people and truly understand and empathize with them, the better you can solve public policy issues and work to make the world a better place,” he says.


Featured Image: Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland. Photo/Evan Gildenblatt

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