University of Arizona Law Master of Legal Studies (MLS) graduate Robin Al-haddad was inspired to focus her career in international development and human rights advocacy after having worked for refugee resettlement agencies, advocating for and assisting newly arrived refugees, asylees, survivors of torture, and overseas in the U.S. Peace Corps program. She wanted to make an impact in the social justice and public policy field, so she decided to pursue her MLS, with a concentration in international human rights law, at University of Arizona Law.
Al-haddad, who earned a master's degree in development practice (MPD) in 2017 from the University of Arizona, says, “I believe having an MLS degree in addition to my MDP will give me skills and experience that others in the field may not have.”
She chose Arizona Law because she wanted the opportunity to work closely with female faculty members she described as “strong women who greatly exemplify the type of work that I hope to parallel.”
Once she began the MLS program, Al-haddad says she liked the diversity of students, faculty and staff and particularly enjoyed the unique perspective that the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) program brought to Arizona Law.
One of her fondest memories while attending Arizona Law took place in February 2017, following the president’s executive orders on the Muslim travel ban.
“Arizona Law held an open forum on immigration and the temporary suspension of visas for immigrants coming from Muslim majority countries,” she recalls. “I was amazed at how many people attended the event. The room was packed, people were sitting on the floor, and there were two overflow rooms filled with people watching the talk as it streamed live. It was really nice to see the Tucson community coming together over the issue and it helped to alleviate some of my anxiety about the situation.”
Al-haddad found her courses and professors to be very helpful, saying she would recommend the program to anyone thinking about pursuing their MLS degree.
“It is a flexible program, and everyone should have some basic understanding about the law, which can be useful for just about any profession,” she says. “There are also a lot of concentrations that you can do under the MLS program where you can specialize in your field of interest.”
More so, Al-haddad, who is currently working for a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) firm, which conducts program evaluations for international development, looks forward to applying her new-found skills and education right away. Using the knowledge gained through the program she will help bring change and greater insight to some of the social problems the agencies they work with face.
“I hope to be able to work with international aid agencies, non-governmental organizations, government organizations, and/or international corporations to advocate for fair and just public policy through working for a M&E firm, conducting assessments for international development and recovery programs,” she says.