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Fellows at the Center

Zulfia Abawe, Ph.D. Fellow

Zulfia Abawe has lived, studied and worked in diverse environments from Asia to Europe. She holds a Masters degree in Public Policy from Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, Germany. She has an LLM in International Human Rights Law from Cardiff University, United Kingdom. She has participated in International Youth Leadership Conferences in Czech Republic and New York. With a passion for Human Rights and Public Policy, she has worked as the National Governance Specialist with the First Vice Presidency Office in Afghanistan. She also worked with Linda Norgrove Foundation in Scotland for two months as Development Intern with a focus on women’s human rights. She has further engaged in promoting Gender Equality through conducting research and working as the Gender Equality Campaign Intern with the United Nations Association-Wales.

Kazuo Fukuda, Ph.D. Fellow

Kazuo (Kaz) Fukuda is a Rotary Foundation’s Global Grant Scholar pursuing a PhD in Law and Democracy at Indiana University. After receiving an MA in Political Science from Purdue University in 2006 with particular focus on international law and human rights, Kaz started his professional career with the Embassy of Japan in Washington D.C., learning first-hand the importance of “soft power” in international relations, for 3 years.

Subsequently his career saw an important shift from bilateral work to multilateral work or from public diplomacy to international development cooperation. Over the past 6 years, Kaz worked for the United Nations Development Programme in Montenegro and Lao PDR where he was in charge of governance/rule of law projects.

In Lao PDR, Kaz provided management and technical support for ongoing legal sector reform, including the country’s first-ever penal code drafting and unified judicial training institute establishment, harmonization of domestic and international legal obligations, legal aid centers, human rights monitoring through treaty reports and Universal Periodic Review (UPR), and case management system development for prosecutors and judges.

Drawing from past experience, Kaz is interested in studying rule of law construction in vulnerable or weak democracies such as Lao PDR. In particular, his primary research focuses on exploring the role of informal justice systems in improving access to justice for the general public.

Jonathan Henriques, Ph.D. Fellow

Jonathan Henriques holds degrees in Law (JD, IU Maurer Law) and Anthropology (BS). He has experience working with rural communities in East Africa on various development projects. He also has worked in Northern Iraq on a project researching Kurdish constitutionalism. During his last semester of law school he was a legal extern at a human rights NGO, and contributed to civil litigation regarding human rights violations committed in Liberia during the Charles Taylor regime. After graduating from law school, Jonathan was a visiting fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge, where he developed research on the relationship between transitional justice mechanisms and institutional reform in Liberia. He also served as project director for a study commissioned by the European Parliament assessing the state of EU implementation of a UNESCO convention. Jonathan is a Ph.D. candidate in Law and Democracy at CCD. His research examines constitutionalism and constitutional reform in post-conflict settings particularly in East and North Africa. He is currently developing research on the relationship between conflict dynamics during civil war, including insurgent group behavior and peace negotiations, and post-conflict constitution-making processes. Jonathan is also working on constitutional reform projects in South Sudan.

Kwangsup Kim, Ph.D. Fellow

Kwangsup Kim studies constitutional design with a mission to protect human rights and balance the powers for pro-democracy. After retiring from the Navy in 2000, Kwangsup worked as a Sr. Counselor for the Korean National Assembly. In January 2011, he won the Grand Prize from the Speaker of the National Assembly. Kwangsup has worked in the FKCC (Future Korea Constitution Committee) preparing constitutional law of unification, and in the UN-MDG FORUM, a group which advocates food security and works to eradicate poverty. Over time Kwangsup has also gained political campaign experience, most notably during the Korean presidential election of 2007 where he participated in making a presidential election pledge as a member of policy room. Since 2007 Kwangsup has been an academic director and vice chairperson of the Committee of Women’s Rights at the Human Rights & Welfare Institution of Korea. He also became a member of the Board of Directors at The Correction Welfare Society of Korea in 2012.

Valentina Luketa, Ph.D. Fellow

Valentina Luketa has three years of experience in the nonprofit sector, and earned her B.A in International Relations and Diplomacy from Schiller International University, Germany and her M.A in International Human Rights Law from American University in Cairo (AUC), Egypt. Valentina has spent the past three years in Egypt where she actively participated in various legal campaigns promoting women’s rights in post-revolutionary Egypt on the grassroots level, working for organizations such as the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, IFES and German Development Organization. She has written a number of reports assessing women’s legal status in the Egyptian Family Law, women’s political participation and feminist perspectives specifically relevant to Egypt and the Middle East. Furthermore, she developed a project titled “Women in the Constitution”, aimed at ensuring the presence of a gender perspective in the process of writing of a new Egyptian constitution. As a University Fellowship fellow at AUC, she conducted comprehensive research on gender based constitutional design with a focus on the unique circumstances in the Middle Eastern region, in particular the relationship between religious and gender rights within the constitutional framework. Valentina’s research interests include gender-based constitutional design, feminist legal critique and Islamic Jurisprudence.

Rafael Macia Briedis, JD/Ph.D. Fellow

Rafael is currently in his sixth year of a joint J.D. / PhD. in Law and Democracy through IU’s Maurer School of Law and the Center for Constitutional Democracy. Prior to coming to Indiana, he obtained an undergraduate law degree from the University of Navarra and, while pursuing his J.D., he interned with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative, and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in New Delhi (India).

Rafael’s research focuses on the relationship between constitutional supremacy and popular self-determination in the context of constitutional reform processes, as well as on the implications of that relationship for the design of government institutions. He is particularly interested in Venezuela, and his current work looks at how the invocation of the theory of constituent power during the 1999 constitution-making process contributed to the subsequent breakdown of democratic accountability in that country.

Sikander Ahmed Shah, Ph.D. Fellow

Sikander Ahmed Shah is an Associate Professor of Public International Law (On Leave) at the Lahore University of Management Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan. Between 2012 and 2013, he served as the Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan.

He is the author of the book “International Law and Drone Strikes in Pakistan: The Legal and Socio-political Aspects” (2015) published by Routledge, which deals with the treatment of drone strikes under International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law.

To formulate the foundation of his academic career, he obtained both his B.A. in Economics as well as his Juris Doctorate (Cum Laude) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Since then he has been visiting research faculty at the University of Michigan Law School and the Wayne State Law School. His research is focused on how constitutional design can lead to a reduction of terrorism in Pakistan, and promote peace and security in the tribal regions.

Brittany Shelmon, JD/Ph.D. Fellow

Brittany Shelmon received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in History, focusing in 20th Century Wars with a minor in Philosophy. During her undergraduate career, Brittany studied Post Conflict Societies abroad in the Former Yugoslavia. Her independent work while abroad centered on organizations that represent families of missing persons. She is pursuing a joint degree with the Russian and Eastern European Institute, where she will continue to learn lessons from the breakup of Yugoslavia. Brittany spent the summer working in refugee resettlement and immigration advocacy in Washington, D.C., and also volunteers at a local domestic violence shelter in Bloomington.

Samantha von Ende, JD/Ph.D. Fellow

In the fourth year of a combined JD/PhD program, Samantha von Ende is the product of two vibrant Jewish communities, in Overland Park, KS and Greensboro, NC, where she played competitive basketball and developed a passion for journalism, travel, and social justice. Sam graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biopsychology from Oglethorpe University in 2011, where she served as a student ambassador at the school’s Center for Civic Engagement, and with a Master of Arts degree in Bioethics from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, where she authored a master’s thesis entitled “The Civil Right to Health Care.” Before coming to Indiana University, Sam spent a year in Washington, D.C. working for advocacy and social entrepreneurship organizations. Since beginning her studies at the Maurer School of Law, Sam has served as the President of the school’s American Constitution Society Chapter, as the Executive Articles Editor of the Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality, as a research assistant to several professors, and as an intern in the chambers of Judge David Hamilton, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She spent her 2L summer interning at the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York City and will spend the summer of 2016 in New Delhi working directly with noted human rights attorney Vrinda Grover as a Milton Stewart Fellow. Passionate about science, technology, ethics, and law, Sam is primarily interested in exploring how advancements in social science and technology can illuminate the constitutional and legislative drafting processes and enable the social dialogues required by each such practice. She is especially interested in evaluating the dynamic relationship between culture and law, with an eye toward determining how a sound constitutional framework can simultaneously facilitate stability, protect essential civil liberties, and promote the reciprocal positive impacts of societal investment in human capital. At present, her research concentrates on the roles played by federalism, constitutional processes, and rights to expression in achieving social, economic, and political stability within plural societies, and has focused, thus far, on both the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Yiqiao Wang, Ph.D. Fellow

Yiqiao Wang is a doctoral student in Law and Democracy. He received a Bachelor of Law Degree from East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai, China. After graduation, he worked in a law office for one year before pursuing a Master of Law degree from IU Maurer School of Law, which he was awarded in December 2010. His current research focuses on the democratization of China, including constitutional design, judicial reform and the issues related to the ethnic minorities.

Colonel (Retired) Richard D. Welch, Ph.D. Fellow

Rick Welch received his B.S. with distinction in Police Administration at Eastern Kentucky University. He also received a minor in Military Science and was the Distinguished Military Graduate of the R.O.T.C. program. Additionally, Rick holds a degree in Law (JD, Capital University), Theology (MA, Cincinnati Christian University), and Strategic Studies (MSS, U.S. Army War College). In his civilian career Rick has worked in various sectors implementing, enforcing, and supporting rule of law in the fields of law enforcement, civil and criminal law, and as an elected Prosecuting Attorney. He is a licensed attorney in Ohio and a member of the American Bar Association and Ohio State Bar Association. As a military officer, Rick has participated in or supported campaigns to initiate, restore or support democratic initiatives around the world to include Vietnam, Cold War initiatives, Haiti, the Balkans, and most recently serving in Iraq where he was a key military advisor and liaison to local, provincial, and national political groups to build and enhance governance capacity and a key interlocutor in conflict resolution dialogue with armed groups (2003-2005) and where he served as chief of the national reconciliation section in Baghdad that supported national political reconciliation among the various ethno-sectarian, religious, tribal, political, exiled and armed opposition groups (2007-2011). Rick is a doctoral student in Law and Democracy and plans to focus his general research and field work on strengthening the democratization of Iraq, including effective constitutional design as a key foundational pillar, promoting human rights and criminal justice reform, and developing and promoting conflict resolution and national political reconciliation programs that include an effective Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) program for indigenous militia and insurgent groups to enhance security, strengthen rule of law, and promote stability critical to Iraq’s successful democratization.

Ahmed Elbasyouney

Ahmed has an LLM degree in Comparative Constitutional Law from Central European University where he focused, in his thesis, on post-Arab Spring judicial review. From August 2018 to September 2020, Ahmed has worked as a parliamentary staffer to an Egyptian MP focusing on issues pertaining to constitutional rights, judicial reform, and government scrutiny and accountability.

Prior to that, Ahmed has obtained a BA in Political Science and Public Administration from Future University in Egypt. During his undergraduate studies, he interned at the Congressional office of late Senator John McCain, and the Egyptian Ministry of Planning. Upon completion of his degree, Ahmed hopes to become a scholar of democracy, and further advise his government on rule of law matters.

Ami Acary

Ami is a Chin ethnic woman from Myanmar who has over eight years of experience in supporting the peace process and furthering political dialogue in Myanmar. This experience reinforced in Ami’s mind the importance of the design of Myanmar’s legal system to the country’s future. Ami has also worked with the CCD through their Burma program for many years, and has previously audited a number of constitutional design courses offered by the CCD.