Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA
 

News Release

October 02, 2008
Fulbright and Jose Siderman Family Establish Human Rights Fellowship at Southwestern

Family of Victim of Anti-Semitism in Argentina Launches Human Rights Initiative on Eve of Jewish High Holidays

In an effort to promote the training of young Argentine lawyers in civil liberties and human rights, the family of Jose Siderman and the Fulbright Commission in Argentina have established the Fulbright-Jose Siderman Human Rights Fellowship at Southwestern, which will bring an Argentine law graduate to Los Angeles to complete an LL.M. degree in Civil Liberties and Human Rights or Advocacy at the law school, including an externship with a civil rights organization.

The Fellowship is named for Jose Siderman, a successful Argentine businessman who, because he was Jewish, became a victim of the country's military dictatorship "dirty war" that began in the mid-1970's and who suffered from egregious abuses including kidnapping, torture and exile as well as the regional governor seizing all his property and assets.

In a landmark human rights case heard and decided in federal court in Los Angeles in September 1996, the government of Argentina agreed to settle damage claims by Mr. Siderman and his family after a 14-year legal battle led by the American Civil Liberties Union, making it the first foreign government ever to be put on trial in the United States for abuses committed on its own soil.

The fellowship is being made possible by Mr. Siderman's son, Carlos, who today owns and operates Los Angeles-based Property I.D., America's leading provider of real estate property disclosure reports, in tribute to his father and to help ensure the future protection of human rights in Argentina. A special reception marking the establishment of the Fellowship is planned for October 7 on the Southwestern campus.

"This is a very special response to injustice. Jose Siderman was the victim of intense anti-Semitism and torture, who spent 14 years seeking justice though the courts. By establishing a human rights fellowship in his memory, the Siderman family is offering a new generation of human rights lawyers the tools to continue his struggle and demonstrating their faith that the very victims of human rights abuses have the strength to fight evil," said Southwestern Professor Jonathan M. Miller, who was instrumental in structuring the fellowship.

"To be able to honor my father on the eve of the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur is very profound. The Argentina military government hunted my father down with fanaticism, using torture and humiliation, exile and intimidation. Yet my father never lost faith in the possibility of justice and that eventually individual human rights would be recognized. I am so grateful to Jonathan Miller and the staff and faculty of Southwestern Law School for giving my family an opportunity to give back to Argentina's aspiring law students, who in turn will make their country one of the most civilized nations in Latin America," said Carlos Siderman.

The Fulbright Commission in Argentina will select one Siderman Fellowship recipient per year as part of its regular grant competition. The program involves nine months of study at Southwestern and a three-month externship. Applicants must be law graduates from an accredited Argentine law school and will be selected on the basis of their academic ability, English language fluency and potential for furthering human rights and social justice in Argentina. The fellowship provides funds for living expenses, books, health insurance, and round-trip airfare from Argentina. Application information is available online.

For more information about the program, please contact Leslie Steinberg, Southwestern's Associate Dean for Public Affairs or Professor Jonathan Miller.

About Fulbright in Argentina

The Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States and Argentina (Fulbright Commission) is an independent, non-profit, bi-national organization created in 1956 by the signature of an agreement between the two governments to administer the Fulbright grants. Its mission is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of Argentina through the sharing of ideas, knowledge, skills and individual experiences.

Since its creation, the Commission has awarded over 3,500 grants to Argentine and U.S. citizens. These grants have enabled the recipients to study, teach and conduct research in the United States as well as in Argentina. Argentine and U.S. Fulbright alumni have made major teaching, research and professional contributions in a variety of disciplines from science and humanities to business and diplomacy.

The Commission in Argentina is managed by a Board of Directors composed of ten members, five U.S. citizens and five Argentine citizens. The U.S. Ambassador and Honorary Chair of the Commission, is responsible for appointing the Board Members, who are selected on the basis of personal and professional background. Usually, Board Members represent academia, business, diplomatic and professional fields. The Board supervises and administers the development of the Fulbright program in Argentina.

About Property I.D.

Property I.D. is the largest natural and environmental hazard disclosure company in the country. By developing its own and the most complete and accurate Geographic Information Systems, Property I.D. is able to pinpoint the proximity of officially mapped Federal, State and local hazards to commercial and residential real property. Using smart and effective solutions to meet the ever-growing disclosure needs of its clients, Property I.D. provides the most comprehensive, accurate and best-insured disclosure report available anywhere. Property I.D.'s dedication to its reports and its clients has created a level of continued growth and innovation that remains unrivaled in its industry. Visit www.propertyid.com for more information.