Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Nicole Phillips, A Dedicated Human Rights Advocate

Nicole Phillips, IJDH’s incredible Staff Attorney, was recently featured on a feminist blog which profiles women in human rights law. The post tells the story of how Nicole helped fight for a women’s center on her college campus, and how she ended up at IJDH. It ends with Nicole’s favorite BAI/IJDH program, and advice for students who want to pursue human rights work.

Part of the post is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Women in Human Rights Law: Nicole Phillips

Sarah Winfield, Ms. JD
February 18, 2015

In January 2015, Katie Larkin-Wong gave a presentation to UC Hastings’ NWLSO chapter on the power of social media in career development. Fired up by her talk, I immediately resolved to start a column on women in human rights, as that area of the law is my passion. Each month, I’ll interview and profile a woman who practices human rights law, blogging about each interviewee’s life, passions, and advice for budding human rights lawyers.

For my first post, I interviewed Nicole Phillips, a staff attorney at theInstitute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). I had the pleasure of meeting Nicole when I was interviewed for, and selected to be a member of, this year’s Hastings to Haiti delegation. Nicole currently teaches a seminar on human rights and the rule of law in Haiti. The seminar will prepare the students in the delegation for a week-long trip to Haiti in early March.

Throughout the interview, I was struck by Nicole’s dedication to social justice work. As I learned about her life, I felt a strong affinity with her for this reason, but for many others as well,  not least because we are both Bay Area natives, were both exposed to feminist principles from a young age, and are both UCSD alumnae (go Tritons!) I am indebted to Nicole, who helped spear-head a movement to secure funding for the UCSD Women’s Resource Center (WRC), where I volunteered as an undergraduate. When Nicole was at UCSD, it was the only such center in the UC system that was not funded. Nicole and the other women in the movement protested and staged a months-long sleep-in on campus, obtaining funding within a couple of years. Nicole remembers visiting the WRC years later: “7 or 8 of us visited campus in 2006 and saw how beautiful – and huge! – the Women’s Resource Center is now. It was pretty remarkable to see the legacy of all our work, which at the time didn’t seem like a big deal, it just seemed like it needed to be done.” As a founding member of Hastings’ NWLSO chapter, I am inspired by Nicole’s work and hope to leave a similar legacy for future students – and thankfully I have had it much easier so far, no demonstrations required! I am honored to be Nicole’s student, and excited to share what I learned about her career as a human rights lawyer.


Click HERE for the full text.

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Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
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