2014-2015 Fellows

From 2008 until 2015, Law and Human Rights Fellows at the University of Minnesota were hosted by the Human Rights Center at the Walter Mondale Law School. 

During the 2014–2015 academic year, the International Fellows and Scholars program office at the Humphrey School is hosting 13 international fellows from 9 countries. In addition to the leadership development training, access to academic coursework, and cultural immersion, fellows have the opportunity for professional development and colleagueship through the Hennepin County Mentorship Program.

Government of India Fellows

The Indian government initiated this fellowship program to offer leadership development opportunities to top officers in public service positions with the government.

Puneet Agarwal

puneetMr. Agarwal has been in the Indian Civil Service since 1997 in the Indian Defense Accounts Service. He studied Chemical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur and was awarded a Bachelors of Technology degree in 1994. During his career, Mr. Agarwal has been involved in diverse areas of government ranging from procurement, audit and finance; the preparation of the Central Government Budget, the implementation of UNDP funded projects in India, multilateral cooperation in SAARC and bilateral cooperation with countries in Asia and Russia. Currently, he is a Director in the Department of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance in New Delhi. Mr. Agarwal plans to continue serving in the government for the next 20 years and he expects that by pursuing a one year mid-career Masters in Public Affairs Program, he would be equipped with new knowledge, critical thinking, and tools for effective policy analysis, including design, advocacy and evaluation.

Sandeep Kumar Mishra

sandeepMr. Mishra joined the public sector in 1993 as Management Trainee in the Steel Authority of India Limited, after graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur. His two last positions in the Indian government have been as the Additional Secretary of Environment in the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, and also as Additional Director in the Directorate of Information and Publicity. Prior to that, he served as Private Secretary to Delhi Chief Minister for over eight years. Part of his achievements with the Delhi government has been the implementation of the Bhagidari scheme (citizen-government partnership) and the successful organization of the 2010 Commonwealth Games. His present occupation involves improving the environment and quality of life in Delhi by drafting its Clean Air Agenda and policies related to solar energy, solid waste management and groundwater usage. His future career goal is to work on environmental issues and advance his skills in management and policy analysis of public problems during his one year program in the Masters of Public Affairs.

Rajesh Kumar Sharma

rajeshMr. Sharma has been in the Indian Civil Service since 1999. He holds a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) in Statistics with specialization in Bayesian Inference from University of Delhi. While completing his M.Phil., he submitted dissertation titled ‘Bayes Factors and its Ramifications. Later he worked as Lecturer of Statistics in P.G.D.A.V. College for a short period before joining the civil services. In civil services, he has been involved in policy making and monitoring of several government programmes in diverse sectors such as agriculture, rural development, defense etc. At present he works for the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances in New Delhi. Mr. Sharma’s current position has offered him a unique opportunity to understand a large scope of governance reforms. He is in charge of the Governance Knowledge Centre, the country’s digital repository of knowledge in governance. He expects that the Masters of Public Affairs will give him an opportunity to foster his knowledge in global developments, and strengthen his skills and capabilities, which will enable him to think differently and innovate in spearheading the reforms in public service delivery in his country.

Hubert H. Humphrey International Fellows

The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program provides a year of professional enrichment in the United States for experienced professionals from designated countries throughout the world. Fellows are selected based on their potential for leadership and their commitment to public service in either the public or private sector.

Kimberly Esteban Molitas Gonazles, Philippines

kimberlyMs. Gonzales is the Executive Assistant and Senior Aide to the Deputy Chief of the Philippine National Police for Operations (DCO). She analyzes and endorses decisions made by the DCO after review, and makes recommendations on courses of actions where applicable. She coordinates with the PNP Command Group, the Personal Staff, and Support Units on behalf of the Deputy Chief for Operations, while also serving as a member of the Special Committee of the Chief, Philippine National Police on High Impact Projects. She earned a degree in public safety from the Philippine National Police Academy, and a master’s degree in Transnational Crime Prevention from the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia. During her fellowship at the University of Minnesota, Ms. Gonzales plans to gain a tighter grasp of policy analysis and public administration, as well as observe the implementation of existing policies on transnational issues. As member of the law enforcement she would like to look into the domestic and international policies that embody inter-agency investigation of transnational issues and the involvement of stakeholders in the investigation of these issues or crimes. Upon her return to the Philippines, with fresh knowledge on policy analysis and administration, she plans to be involved in policy making. She also will advocate the education of the public and her fellow officers on transnational issues, to help her organization in the analysis of related policies, and to eventually help her country rise above the challenge of transnational issues.

Gladys Kudzaishe Hlatywayo, Zimbabwe

gladysGladys Kudzaishe Hlatywayo is a civil society activist and leader from Zimbabwe. She has more than ten years’ experience in Zimbabwean civil society and began her activism as a student leader at University of Zimbabwe before joining Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a local coalition advocating for a democratic Zimbabwe. She has also worked for Casals and Associates, a USAID contracted grant making company that was working with civil society in efforts to further the democratization process in Zimbabwe. Currently, she is the Executive Director of Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust, an organization that focuses on education for rights, peace and development. During her fellowship, she intends to broaden her horizons of knowledge and leadership skills on policy discourse so as to better position herself in providing thought leadership to her country. Upon her return, she intends to set up a think tank within her current organization, which focuses on providing policy alternatives in the field of peace building and transitional justice and conducting policy advocacy for the same alternative policies to gain traction.

Sanjay Kumar Jain, India

sanjayMr. Jain is the Senior Superintendent of Police within India’s National Police Service. He supervises the Investigation Division in India’s National Human Rights Commission, studies human rights violation reports, and trains law enforcement officers on human rights issues. Until last year, he was the Deputy Commissioner of Police in the Delhi Police. He received an honors degree in Commerce from Delhi University, a Master’s degree in Police Management from Osmania University, and a certificate from the Indira Gandhi National Open University. As a British Chevening Scholar, he studied in the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2009. During his fellowship at the University of Minnesota, he plans to design a workable model for a ‘gender inclusive city’ that will aim to reduce crime against women in rapidly growing cities through studying international practices and initiatives that mobilize public authorities, NGOs, and the community to create a safe, non-discriminatory environment for women to gain equal footing with men. He also plans to implement similar initiatives to help overcome the gender-related human rights problems. 

Lilia Muslimova, Ukraine

liliaMs. Muslimova is Assistant Consultant of the People’s Deputy of Ukraine within the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. She works as an aide to the MP of Ukraine and to one of the founders of the Human Rights Advocacy Initiative Group in the USSR, Mr. M Jemilev. She also acts as spokeswoman of the Chairman of the Mejlis of Crimea Tatar People and, in the past, she was elected a member of the City Council of Simferopol and a delegate of the national parliament – the Qurultay of Crimean Tatar People. She earned a specialist’s degree in Political Science from Taurida Ecological Institute and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the National Academy of Public Administration. During her fellowship at the University of Minnesota, Ms. Muslimova hopes to study the relationship between the local and federal government, as well as representatives of ethnic minorities and best practices for developing policies to balance interests, ensure adaptation, and integrate ethnic minorities to social and political life. Upon her return to Ukraine, she plans to develop mechanisms to ensure inter-ethnic peace and protect the rights of minorities, especially with respect to the Crimea Tatar people.

Lilia Elizabeth Rojas, Ecuador

liliaMs. Rojas is Director of International Affairs in Ecuador’s Coordinating Ministry for Strategic Sectors. She coordinates, prepares, and negotiates proposals to obtain international cooperation in the areas of renewable energy, water resources, and telecommunications. She also coordinates the Ministry’s relations with different countries, multilateral organizations, international cooperation agencies, and foreign companies that are interested in investing in Ecuadorian strategic sectors. She previously worked as the Manager of Bilateral Relations with Brazil in Ecuador’s Ministry of International Affairs. She earned a degree in business administration from Universidad del Azuay, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of the Pacific, and a master’s degree in international business from ESC Rennes School of Business. During her year at the University of Minnesota, Ms. Rojas plans to acquire knowledge about environmental policies, their implementation, and innovative financial mechanisms for environmentally sustainable projects. Upon her return to Ecuador, she plans to design specific environmental policies and strategies and create environmental governance models, compliance indicators, and regulation proposals.


Humayun Masood Sandhu, Pakistan

humayunMr. Sandhu is Senior Superintendent of Police for the Police Service of Pakistan. He supervises twelve police stations and three subdivisions in the District of Pakpattan. He holds Open Kaatcheries for addressing grievances of the public, monitors sectarian cases, and meets with public representatives, religious leaders, peace committees, and NGOs. He is a civil engineering major from the University of Engineering & Technology and earned a master’s degree in human resource management (HRM) from the University of Technology, Sydney. During his fellowship at the University of Minnesota, Mr. Sandhu hopes to familiarize himself with organizational development and the variables that influence change in management, as well as acquainting himself with the latest strategies used in counterterrorism within the context of HRM. Upon his return to Pakistan, he plans to apply the principles in bringing organizational change in the police, improving law and order, and ultimately improving the economy of Pakistan.

Serge Michel, Haiti

sergeMr. Serge Michel is Project Coordinator for the United Nations Office for Project Services. He is in charge of preparing financial documentation for the delivery of services. He oversees recruitment for the Health Unit and responds to queries on human resource matters. He earned a degree in computer programming from the Computer Technique Institute, a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the National University of Haiti, and a finance certificate from the University of Michigan. During his fellowship at the University of Minnesota, Mr. Serge hopes to expand his knowledge of finance and budgeting for public sectors and financial management for public and non-profit organizations. He also hopes to enhance his knowledge in project management and community leadership, and learn about the “American Dream” concept and how it could fit the context of his own country. Upon his return to Haiti, he plans to help the Haitian government design policy mechanisms to regulate the functioning of public and private institutions, create public policies to mitigate corruption, and actively participate in the preparation of law proposals, especially those dealing with finance.

Rahman Shah, Pakistan

rahmanMr. Shah was born and raised in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. His current position is Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) for the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan. The office of ADC is responsible to oversee the performance of various government departments located in the jurisdiction of the district, including law enforcement. His office also coordinates and monitors with the development agencies and development projects, which entitles his office to convene public assemblies to resolve issues pertinent to pre and post disaster relief and rehabilitation process. Mr. Shah successfully negotiated with the tribal society of Diamer, which allowed the construction of the 4500 MW Diamer-Bhasha Dam to begin the on-site project work. Mr. Shah earned a bachelor degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in International Relations from Karakoram International University, Gilgit. During his fellowship at the University of Minnesota, he will study models of public policy making and its relevance to the Pakistan’s public sector.  He is committed to return to Pakistan, and plans to design and implement policies that will serve better the public through reforms in public sector. 

Deborah Cristina Vera-Cruz, Cape Verde

christinaMs. Vera-Cruz is a Business Analyst and Software Project Manager for Prime Consulting, a Cape Verdian Software Enterprise. She has been working on the Integrated Human Resource Management System, but has worked on several projects related to E-Government in her country and abroad. She represented Cape Verde at the One Young World Summit and was a delegate speaker in the Transparency and Integrity Plenary Session. She earned a degree in computer engineering from Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas and a master’s degree in geographical information systems from the University of Cape Verde. During her fellowship at the University of Minnesota, Ms. Vera-Cruz hopes to broaden her understanding of strategic planning paired with regional planning and learn uses of technology to enhance literacy and education and the empowerment of women. Upon her return to Cape Verde, she plans to put her learning in action by applying these skills to sub-Saharan Africa and also develop a system for elementary schools that would push children to debate matters such as sustainable environments, human rights, and leadership through the use of technology.

Rawan Atef Yaghi, Lebanon

rawanMs. Yaghi is an English language teacher and the English language coordinator within the Nabil Adeeb Sleiman Secondary Public Schools. She teaches grades 10 and 12, designs exams and syllabuses for the English language department, and serves as the extracurricular activities coordinator. She is a co-author of Women Teaching Women English published by University of Oregon and a co-author of International Perspectives on Teaching and Learning with GIS in Secondary Schools. She established USPEaK which is a Lebanese organization that raises the level of social engagement and public achievement among youth and women through local initiatives supported by low cost English courses including TOEFL and SAT. USPEaK's mission is to serve better education, raise the level of awareness, promote citizenship, build foundations for democracy and build a peaceful community. She earned a teaching license from Lebanese University, Zahle, where she also studied English, and a teacher-training certificate from the Lebanese University, Beirut. She seats on the board of the Lebanese State Alumni Community which seeks to empower the cultural, educational, professional and academic relations between Lebanon and the United States.  During her fellowship year, Ms. Yaghi will focus on academic work that will provide her with the skills to later apply to a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. Upon her return to Lebanon, she plans to build the capacity of the institute that she founded, USPEaK, by implementing learned experiences in the United States in both the academic and professional levels.