Meet Our Candidates
Esra Y. Alamiri
Working Title: States’ Obligations to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence and Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: A Gendered Legal Analysis and Proposal for Gender-Sensitive Reforms
Supervisor: Professor Chi Mgbako
Esra Alamiri is a Kuwaiti feminist and human rights lawyer who is currently working as a teaching assistant in the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham Law. Through her work in the clinic, Esra is building and co-supervising projects that address gender justice in South West Asia and North Africa (SWANA), such as the female Syrian refugee crisis, Yemeni women and transitional justice, and domestic violence in Kuwait.
Esra has been a member of the Kuwait Bar Association since 2007. After receiving her LLB from Cairo University, she worked as a senior lawyer in the legal division at the Ahli Bank of Kuwait and head of the complaints unit. After obtaining her LLM from Fordham University, Esra worked as a consultant with the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights at the Women’s Refugee Commission, andlater as a clinical teaching fellow at the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic.
In 2012, Esra co-founded a human rights NGO in Kuwait, Human Line Organization (HLO). HLO specializes in training, monitoring, issuing reports, and providing information to UN human rights bodies on violations in Kuwait. She engaged with many human rights treaty body mechanisms, including CEDAW, CCPR, CAT, and CRC. After heavily advocating for the inclusion of women in the judiciary during Kuwait’s CEDAW periodic review in 2011, CEDAW’s experts included her recommendation to Kuwait. Kuwait accepted the recommendation and began accepting women as prosecutors in 2013. She also contributed to the establishment of the first civil society alliance for the State of Kuwait UPR in 2015.
Esra authored and contributed to several human rights reports. For instance, in 2012, she published a study entitled Protecting Women and Girls from Violence in Kuwait with UNDP. Also, in June 2017, she co-authored a study entitled Shelters and Safe Houses as a Mechanism to Protect Women and Girls from Gender-Based Violence in Kuwait with the Women’s Cultural and Social Society. Her work was recognized when she was awarded the Arab Woman Award in the legal field in 2016.
Her SJD research focuses on international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, gender justice, state-sanctioned gender-based violence, conflict-related sexual violence, socio-economic rehabilitation for victims and survivors of sexual violence.
Working title: Highly-Skilled Migrants in the Health Care Sector in Saudi Arabia: A Proposal
Supervisor: Professor Jennifer Gordon
Yusra Alshanqityi was a legal intern at the African Services Committee in New York City where her work focused on immigration matters such as asylum and deferred action applications. She engaged in housing investigations at the Fair Housing Justice Center, which provides a full-service fair housing program for New York City and the seven surrounding counties. Alshanqityi worked as a research associate with the Consultative Assembly Counsel of Saudi Arabia on “Mapping Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Policies in the Arab World.” She is the director and co-founder of The Forum for the Empowerment of Women in the Legal Profession: International Women in Law Inc., a not-for-profit organization based in New York City which aims to empower women in the legal profession and serves as a platform providing consultation and guidance to foreign lawyers.
After she received her LLB from King Abdulaziz University, Alshanqityi worked as a trainee lawyer at the Allied Law Firm in Jeddah. She received a dual-concentration LLM in International Law and Justice & International Dispute Resolution from Fordham Law School. Her SJD research focuses on international labor law and immigration law.
James K. Annor-Ohene
Working Title: Implementing ADR to Enhance Justice Delivery in Developing Nations: The Case of Ghana in Comparative Perspective
Supervisor: Professor Thomas H. Lee
Father Annor-Ohene received his LLB from the University of Ghana and his LLM from Fordham Law School. He has a diverse record of educational and occupational experience in Ghana. Father Annor-Ohene received his Certificate in Theology from St. Peter’s Regional Seminary and his Certificate of Philosophy from St. Paul’s Catholic Seminary, both in Ghana. He held positions as teacher, chaplain, and assisting priest at Catholic schools and parishes before immigrating to the United States, where he has served as Parochial Vicar at St. Ann’s Church in Yonkers, New York.
The main focus of Annor-Ohene's research is to assess and explain the extent to which court-connected alternative dispute resolution (CCADR) is providing legitimate, effective, and accessible justice to the public, especially the poor.
Helga Kristín Auðunsdóttir
Working title: Hedge Fund Activism: A Comparative Analysis
Supervisor: Professor Sean J. Griffith
Helga Auðunsdóttir is an Assistant Professor at Bifrost University in Iceland where her main academic fields are company law, legal methods, and legal innovation. She served as Head of the Department of Law from 2012 to 2015. Previously, she worked as an in-house lawyer for an investment company, and as Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Miami School of Law, where she taught European company law and European competition law.
Auðunsdóttir holds an LLM in US and Transactional Law from the University of Miami where she was the recipient of the Cobb Family Fellowship. She also holds an LLM degree and a BSc degree in Business and Law from Bifrost University. She has additionally studied law in Greece at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Professor Auðunsdóttir is currently leading a project funded by the European Union on developing a blended learning approach in legal education. This project focuses on the intersection of law and business as well as the ways in which universities cooperate and communicate with students. Auðunsdóttir is also an academic mentor and a judge in the LawWithoutWalls program, a global multidisciplinary consortium of law and business professionals focusing on encouraging innovation in legal education and practice. Professor Auðunsdóttir’s dissertation focuses on a comparative analysis of hedge fund activism in the United States and Europe.
Prosper Andre Batinge
Working Title: The Rule of Law Is the Holy Grail of Development
Supervisor: Professor Paolo Galizzi
Prosper Andre Batinge, a native of Ghana, is a Rule of Law for Development attorney. Prosper has been a member of the State Bar of Indiana, USA, since 2017 and a member of the Ghana Bar since 2020. Following his JD studies, Prosper pursued his LLM studies in Rule of Law for Development at the John Felice Rome Center, an offshore campus of Loyola University Chicago, which is strategically situated in the eternal city, Rome, and houses the nerve centers of global development agencies. Prosper’s sojourn in Rome allowed him to engage closely with diverse literature on Rule of Law and Development, deepening a desire in him to unravel the precise nexus between the Rule of Law and Development.
Following this desire, Prosper’s SJD research at Fordham investigates the integral role of the Rule of Law in development discourse, design, and delivery for optimum output of development input, a dodged reality in development efforts over the last decades.
Prosper’s interests embrace quite a range, including constitutional law, international law, human rights, and prison reforms.
Working Title: Sexual and Reproductive Rights at a Crossroads: A Study of Private/Public Partnerships to Promote Women's Rights in International Law
Supervisor: Professor Martin S. Flaherty
Mariarosa Cutillo is Chief of the Strategic Partnerships Branch, within the Division of Communications and Strategic Partnerships of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Mariarosa brings with her more than 20 years of professional experience working in the private sector. Before joining UNFPA, she was the Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Benetton Group, as well as President and CEO of Benetton’s UNHATE Foundation. On issues relating to corporate sustainability, she has served as director of Valore Sociale per l’Impresa Responsabile (a multi stakeholder corporate social responsibility organization) and as a legal expert for various institutions. At the beginning of her career, she worked extensively for Civil Society Organizations, including leading the movement of the Global March against Child Labour within the European Union.
In addition to various public/private partnerships and development initiatives, Mariarosa represents UNFPA as member of the Prada Group Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council.
Mariarosa was a professor in International Law Cases in the Faculty of Law of the University of Milan-Bicocca and senior lecturer at the Catholic University of Milan, Faculties of Law and Political and Social Sciences. Mariarosa obtained a degree in Advanced International Law from the Faculty of Law of the Catholic University of Milan. She has post-graduate specializations in human rights and business administration, and is author of numerous scientific and wider-disseminated publications on business and human rights, labor rights, sustainable development issues.
Working Title: A Comparative Analysis and Investigation of Solitary Confinement Reforms
Supervisor: Professor Youngjae Lee
Alison Gordon has worked as a litigation lawyer in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. She received her Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Music degrees from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, and she graduated with a Master of Laws (James Kent scholar) from Columbia Law School. Her SJD research focuses on solitary confinement reforms in the United States.
Working Title: Agency Costs of Syndicated Lending: Legal Development through Legal Transplantation of a Transactional Structure (Illustrated on the Example of Syndicated Loans)
Supervisor: Professor Nestor Davidson
In her career, Irina Ilyuk has focused on project finance and banking law. For over six years, she has worked as a corporate attorney in Russia where she structured and negotiated project finance transactions, restructurings, and refinancings for market leaders. Irina was an integral part of the group of experts working on the legal development of syndicated lending and project finance markets. She has received multiple awards for this work and has created forms of standard agreements for housing financing that were used by major banks and developers throughout Russia.
Ilyuk has received her LLB from the Omsk State University in Russia and LLM, cum laude, from Fordham Law School. After graduating from Fordham Law School, Ilyuk was admitted to the New York State Bar and has worked as a litigation lawyer representing clients in real estate matters. she has constantly provided pro bono services in the areas of housing, immigration, and mortgage law.
Her dissertation is focused on agency risks of syndicated loans and legal development through a transplantation of a syndicated loan transactional structure.
Ilyuk is the President of the SJD Society at Fordham Law School and is responsible for facilitating engagement between Fordham SJD candidates and other universities’ SJD programs.
Working Title: The Power of Political Activism, Civil Society and Instrumental Compliance with International Law to Promote Anti-Discrimination Legislation for Minorities and Achieving Peace Agreements: Arabs in Israel as a Case Study
Supervisor: Professor Martin S. Flaherty
Maroun Maalouf is a common law-trained and certified attorney. He received his LLB from the University of Haifa, where he also served as a Teacher Assistant and an Everette fellow, interning for the Dirasat: the Arab Center for Law and Policy. He also took part in the Legal Feminism Clinic, where he co-supervised an advocacy group for the promotion of rights of marginalized women and bringing reconciliation through this group of Arab and Jewish women. He was also an active member of the Model United Nation’s Club, winning several awards.
He was admitted as an attorney at the Israeli Bar Association in 2016. Prior to his admission, he worked as a student in several law firms and at the Court Hall in Nazareth tutoring Arab and Jewish high school groups on topics of democracy, peace, justice, and law firms. He was also an intern for several civil society organizations and NGOs promoting human rights and civil rights in Israel. Later, Maalouf completed his mandatory legal internship at the Haifa District Attorney’s Office – Civil Department, where he dealt with many civil cases during his service at the Public Sector.
Afterward, he completed his LLM at Fordham Law in New York with honors, where he specialized in International Law and Justice as a Fulbright scholar grantee. Maalouf was also part of the International Law Journal fellow graduates and of the International Human Rights Clinic, where he assisted in designing a human rights manual in cooperation with Amnesty Japan and presented it in Tokyo with the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice. Currently, Maalouf is serving as co-supervisor for the International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham, working on various projects related to human rights violations, such as juvenile detention, enforced disappearance, and domestic violence, in many parts of the world.
Maalouf also worked in the Private Sector as a Legal Consultant and Director of the Middle East Division at Barbri International and later as an Associate at Tadmor Levy & Co., one of the leading law firms in Israel, at the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice group, where he advised and represented local and international clients in a wide range of corporate and commercial disputes.
Maroun also served as an Advisor for the Holy See Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations in the New York Headquarters and gained experience in the Diplomatic Sector, where he covered many Security Council, General Assembly, Ecosoc and other Committees’ meetings at the United Nations. His SJD research focuses on the tools of international law to promote anti-discrimination legislation and human rights for Middle Eastern minorities, as a method to achieve reconciliation and peace, with an emphasis on solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Abigail Joan Marcus
Working Title: Grand Corruption - Harnessing Private Enforcement Mechanisms
Supervisor: Professor Sean J. Griffith
Abigail Marcus was a fifth-year associate in the New York office of Latham & Watkins LLP, where she was a member of the firm’s banking group. She represented lead arrangers and borrowers in domestic and cross-border acquisition financings, re-pricings, restructurings, and payoff transactions. Prior to working at Latham, she was a business analyst at the management consultancy, Blaqwell Inc., where she assisted law firms in the US (AMLaw 100), UK, and Canada in developing strategic plans to improve their performance. Marcus also practiced law in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she worked as a transactional law associate focusing on private equity and merger and acquisition transactions, and advised clients on corporate governance matters.
Marcus obtained her Bachelor of Arts and LLB degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and her LLM from NYU School of Law.
In her SJD thesis, Marcus explores the possible role for private power in responding to corruption and addressing lacunae in domestic and international enforcement regimes. Her academic interests also include corporate law and corporate governance, law and development, and law and philosophy.
John Yeboah Mensah
Working Title: Back to the Past to Safeguard our Future: Traditional Institutions and their Role in Environmental Governance
Supervisor: Professor Paolo Galizzi
John Yeboah Mensah is an Assistant Lecturer at UPSA Law School. John obtained his LLB from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). He went ahead to acquire an MBA in Logistics and Supply Chain Management from KNUST Business School. He worked as an intern with the African Center of international Criminal Justice (ACICJ) and the African Center on Legal Ethics (ACLE) at Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Law School, where he helped in the promotion and organization of conferences and training programs on the International Criminal Law and legal ethics for young African Lawyers.
After graduating from KNUST business School, he was awarded the Vivian Leitner Global South Scholarship to pursue a Master of Law (LLM) in International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School in New York City, where he received his LLM degree.
Mensah was appointed a Dean’s Fellow with a joint appointment at the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice and the Access to Justice Initiative at Fordham Law School. In this capacity as Dean’s Fellow, Mensah worked, inter alia, on initiatives to promote access to justice in civil matters and conferences to highlight the challenges facing low-income communities in addressing civil matters. At the Leitner Center, Mensah researched legal issues on climate change in Africa and further worked as a Teaching Assistant in International Law, Human Rights, and Corporate and Social Responsibility. He was also tasked with coordinating Fordham’s Summer Law Program in Ghana.
His research focuses on the examination of the traditional legal systems and institutions and their role in addressing current environmental crisis, at the regional, national and global levels.
Working Title: Regulatory Implications of Financed Claims in International Arbitration: The Case of Regulation
Supervisor: Professor Jacqueline Nolan-Haley
Mohamed Sweify is civil and common law-trained bilingual attorney who is pursuing a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) at Fordham Law School. He maintains a broad civil and commercial practice in the areas of international commercial and investment arbitration. He has a significant experience of different institutional rules under most major arbitration institutions. Mohamed is a member of the Egyptian Bar Association and the New York Bar Association. He speaks Arabic, English and has a reading knowledge of French.
Before joining the SJD program at Fordham in 2017, Sweify practiced international arbitration in an international law firm in the Middle East and then joined the Financial Crimes Department at the Egyptian Public Prosecution where he conducted broad criminal investigations in high-profile cases such as stock market corruption, bribery, and money laundering. During his first year at Fordham, Sweify externed in the chambers of Judge Jenny Rivera, the associate judge of the New York Court of Appeals. Sweify read law in Cairo University School of Law where he received a Bachelor of Law, ranking in the top 5% of the 2009 class. He holds an LLM (2013) in International Business and Comparative law from Indiana University School of Law and an LLM (2015) in International Arbitration from Pepperdine University School of Law, where he was a recipient of the JAMS fellowship due to his academic excellence. He currently serves as a board member of the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee in New York, as Vice President of the American Constitution Society (Fordham Chapter), and a teaching fellow in the Legal English Institute at Fordham Law School.
Sweify writes in the fields of international dispute resolution, cross border-business transactions, international commercial and investor-state arbitration, international treaties, ethics of counsels, mediation and negotiation, and criminal law. His publications include: “Ethics in Drafting and Issuing Dissenting Opinions” (Journal of Arab Arbitration Volume 24, June 2015); “Investment-Environment Disputes: Challenges and Proposals” (14 DePaul Bus. & Comm. L.J. 133, Winter 2015); “The Art of Using Power as a Tool of Influence in Mediation” (ADRJ Nov. 2016); and “Mediator’s Proposal & Mediator’s Neutrality: Finessing the Tension” (28 ADRJ 129, 2017). Forthcoming publications include “Criminal Harassment to Arbitrators: An Egyptian Perspective” (International Journal of Arab Arbitration, Kluwer Arbitration August 2019); “Denationalizing Counsel Ethics in International Arbitration” (American Arbitration Association (AAA/ICDR)); “The Implications of Criminal Conviction upon Enforcing Arbitral Awards in a Different Jurisdiction”; and “Diversity and Inclusion in ADR Disputes: Roots and Fruits”.