Dr Thomas J White

2016 UC Berkeley Human Rights Fellows Selected for Mesa Refuge

The Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley School of Law, has selected two of its Human Rights Center Fellows for a weeklong writing retreat at Mesa Refuge in August 2016. The retreat is made possible by Dr. Thomas J. White, whose support gives students researching critical human rights concerns an opportunity to think and write about their findings.

The Human Rights Center is a multi-disciplinary research center that promotes human rights and international justice worldwide and trains the next generation of human rights researchers and advocates. The center applies innovative technologies and scientific methods to investigate war crimes and other serious violations of human rights. The Human Rights Center Fellows are graduate or undergraduate students selected from University of California campuses for yearlong fellowships to work with human rights organizations worldwide.

“The opportunity to spend time writing at the stunning Mesa Refuge is a gift to the human rights movement,” said Julie Lagarde, coordinator of the Human Rights Center’s Fellowship Program. “It is a truly inspirational setting and we expect great work from those selected.”

Awardees include Hayden Shelby, a 2015 Human Rights Center Fellow and doctoral student in City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley. Hayden’s research focuses on housing in Bangkok, Thailand. She has worked closely with the Four Regions Slum Network, a grassroots organization that advances housing rights.

Julia Sizek is a 2016 Human Rights Center Fellow and UC Berkeley doctoral student in Anthropology, who will work with the Native American Land Conservancy in Indio, California during her summer fellowship. At Mesa Refuge, Julia will write about efforts to protect Native American sacred lands in Southeastern California as well as review and revise the curriculum for Learning Landscapes, a cultural heritage program for Native American youth.

The student fellows will be accompanied by Alexa Koenig, the Human Rights Center’s executive director and a lecturer in residence at UC Berkeley School of Law. Alexa will be mentoring the two fellows and working on a project related to technology and human rights. She is the author of the just-published Hiding in Plain Sight: The Pursuit of War Criminals from Nuremberg to the War on Terror (UC Press) and the editor, with Keramet Reiter, of Extreme Punishment: Comparative Studies in Detention, Incarceration and Solitary Confinement (Palgrave MacMillan 2015).

For more information about the Human Rights Center or its Fellowship Program, visit