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LLM Masters Degree, Human Rights Law

July 26, 2013

A young Egyptian man who has been living in New York City for the past 2.5 years studying English intensively in preparation for your program, I watch in great anguish from afar as so many noble young people are dying in my country, Egypt, in our quest for authentic democracy. For Egypt’s sons and daughters who, like me, seek a pluralistic democracy that protects the human rights of all minorities, enshrined in a constitution that treats all religions equally, protests continue to be called for to resist tyranny. Protesters are now frequently murdered in my country by both the police and the military. The only way that I can personally feel that my living in the United States on a student visa is justified—rather than returning to Egypt to defend these victims—is by going to law school, where I will be professionally prepared to better protect human rights in Egypt upon my return.

I am the type of young man who is fascinated by the dynamics of conflict and inspired by the hope of justice. For this reason, I have known since adolescence that I wanted to become a lawyer and that is the course that I have pursued. My heroes and role models are those who have devoted their lives to promoting, safeguarding, and denouncing abuses of human rights, both in Egypt and beyond its borders.

Now 31, I have invested many years carefully researching the way in which Egypt has long been administered corruptly, especially under Mubarak who brought official corruption to new heights of acceptability. It was in fact generally regarded as ‘normal’ throughout his lengthy rule. Now, respect for democratic guarantees of human rights for our minorities, Christians, women in particular, is under a new threat from an attempt on the part of the governing party to monopolize power. They have already pushed through a constitution that favors not only one particular religion but also one particular party as well, their own, despite the fact that there are many religions in Egypt. Coptic Christians, for example, are one-tenth of the population. Women, in particularly, have their human rights trampled upon by Egypt’s new constitution. Myself and my colleagues want to work as hard as we can for as long as we have to, to change this, and to advance respect for women’s rights in our country.

I am myself a liberal Muslim, one of many if not most Egyptians who very much want to build a secular society that protects the human and cultural rights of all minorities without favoring any one religion or social group, not even the one that is currently dominant, the Muslim Brotherhood. I feel that I am particularly well qualified for advanced study in this area given my extensive exposure to the subject of Islamic legislation as an undergraduate student, and my already in-depth understanding of the complex, evolving relationship between Islamic legislation, on the one hand, and civil or secular law on the other.

I have six years of solid performance as a practicing attorney, bringing cases before the court, defending women, in particular, in family court. I have also handled many cases of torture in the context of freedom of speech issues under the Mubarak regime. I remain an active member of the Egyptian Lawyers’ Association and continue to function as a member of the Policies and Human Rights Committees for this organization. I am also a member of the Culture Committee of the Middle East Association for Development. Along with several colleagues, we are laying the groundwork for our initiation of an Arab Association for Dialogue, and Human Rights, one of my central, long term professional goals. Before leaving Egypt, I also had the opportunity to begin working extensively in international business law, with corporate clients and cases of international arbitration. I see your program at XXXX as particularly distinguished in this area as well.

Being accepted into your program will represent the optimal springboard for a distinguished career in human rights law accompanied by extensive political participation in the great changes now taking place in Egypt. Especially for a student of law who is very much interested in a career in politics, your location in the nation’s capital provides unparalleled resources in terms of international relations and the networking and solidarity among political groups and non-governmental organizations. Some of the more progressive tendencies among American Muslims are also found in the Washington DC area. Being part of the Muslim contribution to interfaith dialogue is especially important to me because I treasure the hope of making meaningful contributions to resolving tensions between people of different faiths. This is very much part of my agenda as a Muslim, an Egyptian, and as an attorney. DC has enormous resources in my greatest area of interest, human rights and social change.

Completing the LLM Degree at XXXX represents an unparalleled academic opportunity, learning as much as possible from many of the finest minds in law, truly distinguished expert practitioners, government officials, and judges who teach on an adjunct basis, in addition to the full time faculty. It would be an enormous honor for me to be able to attend your program. On behalf of my country, Egypt, I also thank you for helping to prepare legal professionals in the area of human rights at a time of great trauma for our society as a result of the violent birth of democracy throughout the Middle East. Human rights are especially fundamental to progress in all its forms in our part of the world and it is a profound privilege to have the honor of dedicating my life to this cause.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for considering my application.

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