20th Anniversary Alumni Reflections: Salma Taleb
In celebration of the Human Rights Program's 20th Anniversary, Salma Taleb (B.A. Communications and Philosophy ‘15) recently reflected on her time with the HRP and the impact it had on her career path.
Human Rights Program (HRP): What did you do with the Human Rights Program while you were a student at the University of Minnesota?
Salma Taleb (ST): During my senior year of college, I took Professor Barbara Frey’s International Human Rights Law class, and through this opportunity, I was introduced to the program. I interned at the HRP as a communication intern, since my B.A. was in communication. The internship was a great opportunity to meet and interview so many amazing advocates locally and globally who would visit the program. Following my internship, I continued to work part time in the same role until I graduated.
HRP: How did your work with the HRP affect your career path?
ST: After graduating, I joined Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, where I obtained my J.D. with a concentration in International Law. During my law school, I continued to work in Human Rights. I took various classes including Health and Human Rights, where we worked extensively with Heartland Alliance on Syrian refugee issues in Lebanon, which was extremely rewarding for me as a Syrian myself. I summarized the core of my work during that class in an Op-Ed article that was published by the Northwestern Public Health Review. I also worked with a classmate on submitting a report to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child related to the impact of Qatar’s Kafala system on Children, specifically the children of migrant workers residing in Qatar. In June of 2017, the Committee found that Qatar’s Kafala System deprived children from their family environment and resulted in “slavery-like work conditions.” It was a huge outcome, and I was very proud of the work we did. I also was enrolled in the immigration clinic program for a full year where I exclusively represented migrant children who were victims of abuse, persecution, and other inhumane or degrading treatments.
HRP: What are you doing now?
ST: Currently, I work as a Commercial Finance associate at Goldberg Kohn Ltd. In Chicago. I continue to write about children rights and I continuously represent children on Pro Bono bases on issues related to DACA and Asylum.