November 16, 2017
Last summer, Christopher Bustamante Osorio ’18 worked on LGBTI rights in Chile and shared this photo from a Pride Parade.

Since 2017, two Rutgers Law School students can spend the summer in South America with nonprofit organizations working for LGBTI rights as part of an internship program, created by Professor Jorge Contesse and sponsored by the Transnational Legal Initiative, in partnership with Rutgers’ Center for Gender, Sexuality, Law and Policy.

Rutgers Law’s Transnational Legal Initiative provides students with stipends to cover transportation, housing and living expenses. During the internship, students spend at least four weeks working at leading non-governmental organizations in Chile and Colombia.

The Initiative is supported by a seed grant from Rutgers University-Newark Chancellor, Nancy Cantor.

2017 TLI-Rutgers interns

Last summer, Christopher Bustamante Osorio ’18, who attends Rutgers Law in Camden, and Maria Jose Padilla ’17, who graduated from the law school’s Newark location, spent part of the summer in Santiago, Chile, and Bogotá, Colombia, respectively.

“The program allowed me to work with an organization and see how it is creating change for the LGBTQ population in the country of Chile,” said Osorio, who worked with Fundación Iguales, a leading non-governmental organization that has lobbied for the adoption of anti-discrimination,and same-sex marriage laws in Chile. “The mentors at the organization allowed me to join them on visits and to see where the organization gets involved. I was able to visit the United Nations in Santiago and . . . I would ultimately get to visit the senate in Valparaíso, Chile, and meet the President’s staff when bringing signatures about the “freedom bus.”

Padilla, who hopes to become a civil rights attorney, worked with Colombia Diversa, an organization involved in strategic litigation on LBGTI rights.

“My experience with Colombia Diversa helped me learn about what in actuality was taking place in the country. Colombian cities, like Bogota where I interned, tend to be liberal, but this is not the case for most of the country, where people are disowned or persecuted for their sexual orientation,” she said. “As part of my fellowship experience, I helped identify and digest LGBTI jurisprudence under Colombian Constitutional Law, in this way building a record for future impact litigation cases that Colombia Diversa can take on.”

Professor Contesse, a human rights expert who oversees the internships, said students work with leading attorneys and advocates and work on policy and advocacy issues on behalf of LGBTI communities in Chile and Colombia. “The idea is that Rutgers students can see how international law and human rights law can work in practice, and in different legal and social contexts,” Contesse explains. 

To apply, students must submit a resume; statement of interest detailing the relevance of the internship to past experience and professional goals; a letter of recommendation from a faculty member; and a transcript.

Applications must be submitted to cgslp@law.rutgers.edu by January 31, 2018. Students must use “TLI Summer Internship” in the subject line of the emailed application. All Rutgers Law students are eligible.

For questions, contact Professor Contesse at jorge.contesse@rutgers.edu.

About the Center

The Rutgers Center for Gender, Sexuality, Law and Policy (CGSLP) facilitates interdisciplinary and publicly-engaged research, curricular, and programming initiatives in furtherance of gender- and sexuality-based equity in law and policy. CGSLP seeks specifically to examine questions of social inequality from multi-disciplinary and intersectional standpoints, attending to the complex ways in which gender and sexuality interact with a range of social dimensions.

Rutgers Law Media Contacts:
Mike Sepanic (Camden); Elizabeth Moore (Newark)

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