Monthly Archives

October 2013

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The Privacy v. National Security Debate in pictures

On Oct. 3, 2013, the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions brought together four international experts on privacy and national security for a debate on one of the hottest topics in the United States today. Featured speakers included Marc Rotenberg, president and executive director of Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington, D.C.; Bruce Schneier, internationally renowned security technologist, author of 12 books, and author of the newsletter Crypto-Gram and blog Schneier on Security; Steven Bradbury, former head of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel; and Andrew McCarthy, former Assistant U.S. Attorney, contributing editor for National Review and lead prosecutor in the federal convictions related to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Here’s a look back at the debate, in pictures.

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Faculty Perspective

The Intersection of Law and Public Policy, by Dr. Artika Tyner

Dr. Artika Tyner

Dr. Artika Tyner, Director of Diversity and Clinical Faculty Member at the School of Law

In as little as 100 credits and in less time than it would take to earn both degree separately, students at the University of St. Thomas can earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in public policy. This dual degree program in law and public policy empowers students as they acquire the leadership skills necessary to make a significant impact on the world they live in. As a proud alumna of both programs, I can attest to the transformative power of this rich learning experience. My law and policy degrees have prepared me to serve as a leader in my community and an engineer of social change.

Public Policy
Students in the Public Policy program learn to identify how particular policies are placed on the agendas of policy makers, understand influences on policy development, and acquire expertise in administrative law, policy implementation and program evaluation. Students also gain an understanding of the theories of policy making and ethical leadership in preparation for management positions in public affairs.

Law
Students studying law at the University of St. Thomas benefit from the law school’s unique blend of a faith-based perspective, practical skills, a theoretical legal education and on-going mentoring. The law school is committed to preparing students to become accomplished servant leaders in the practice of law, the judiciary, public and community service, business, education and other areas.

Program Highlights
Seeking a dual degree in law and public policy affords students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience serving clients in the Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services, to engage in dialogue with thought leaders in the public policy arena, and to develop leadership and advocacy skills in policy development course work.

Law and Public Policy students visiting the Department of Education.

Law and Public Policy students visiting the Department of Education.

Each summer, students also are given the opportunity to study law and public policy in our nation’s capital, allowing them the ability to grow and develop as professionals prepared to excel in a highly competitive global economy. Last summer, I had the privilege of serving as a guest lecturer during the Washington, D.C., Summer Seminar. I shared my policy research related to juvenile law and education law. The student participants and I also had in-depth discussions with key policy makers at the Department of Education, Children’s Defense Fund and Congressional Budget Office.

For more information about the joint degree program, please contact me at artyner@stthomas.edu. You also may contact Professor Patricia Jensen, Program Director of the public policy program, at jens9559@stthomas.edu.

Mission in Action

An Evolved Mission, by guest blogger Maggie Green (’08), attorney, Donohue Green Law Offices.

Maggie Green

Guest blogger, Maggie Green (’08), Attorney, Donohue Green Law Offices

Our law school’s greatest attribute is the ever-present Mission. When I reflected on whether law school would lead me to my vocation, the Mission provided me with a stronger sense of purpose. At that time, I thought that the only way to “Live the Mission” was to provide legal services to underprivileged or underserved individuals.

I volunteered at an immigration clinic during law school. It was a unique experience and it presented many great challenges and learning opportunities. The most important lesson that I learned that year was about my appetite for this type of work. Too often, I internalized the desperation exhibited by clients at the clinic. It was personal, tragic, stressful, and I left the clinic each day feeling somewhat disenchanted, as if all the available legal resources couldn’t possibly address the needs of those clients. I knew I liked helping others but immigration law was not a good fit for me. My interpretation of the Mission evolved – integrating faith and reason in the search for truth through a focus on morality and social justice reaches beyond legal clinic environments.

From that experience, among others, I learned that in order to be an effective attorney, I needed a career where I could thrive personally and professionally. For me, this meant working with clients to prevent future legal problems and conflicts. In my practice, I truly enjoy helping clients address issues from the planning perspective. It is in this capacity that I also get to help clients devise estate plans that will make (or have made) a positive impact on the community. Whether it’s funding life changing medical research, supporting family members or friends, or contributing to a philanthropic initiative in the community, I love helping clients accomplish what is important to them.

Do I live the Mission? Do I integrate faith and reason into the search for Truth through a focus on morality and social justice? I think, yes, most days. I definitely do my best to use my legal skills to help clients in a meaningful and moral way.

We all, in some way or another, strive to live out the Mission. After all, the Mission is what attracted many of us to UST Law.

Murphy Institute

Inside the UN: Syria

This semester, two UST Law students who are Murphy Institute Scholars  blog about their internship experiences working to support the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See at the United Nations in New York and Geneva.  Rachana Chhin writes from New York, and Joseph Grodahl Biever from Geneva.  To catch glimpses of the workings of the Holy See at the U.N., bookmark this blog and follow along.
Joseph Grodahl Biever
first published Wednesday, September 18, 2013
“As if it were normal, we continue to sow destruction, pain, death.”

Pope Francis spoke these words in his homily at his Sept. 7th prayer vigil for peace in St. Peter’s Square, with tens of thousands joining in person and countless more Christians, Muslims, and others joining in prayer around the world. Many of us at the Mission joined the mass dedicated to peace here at the beautiful gothic Notre Dame Basilica that evening, with the Nuncio concelebrating. The place was packed, and although I understood only marginally more than “Alleluia” and “Amen”, it was quite beautiful.

The long and bloody civil war in Syria, and in particular the possibility of a military strike by the United States and France against the government of Bashar al Assad, has of course been the focus of much attention here in Geneva lately. Yet, perhaps as the fruits of prayer, we have seen some small signs of hope here. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met here in Geneva late last week, agreeing to keep communication open. Also, the Human Rights Council this week held a meeting to focus on the situation there. The Nuncio made the position of the Holy See clear, that “no military solution is a viable option in Syria.” Particularly poignant to me was noting that “justice and peace are not mutually exclusive and both can be pursued together so that impunity is not tolerated and reconciliation made possible.”

You can view the Nuncio’s statement before the Human Rights Council here (To skip ahead to his statement, scroll down to Chapter 51).

The Monastery of St. Moses the Abyssinian (Deir Mar Musa) in Syria. (Bernard Gagnon, Wikipedia)
The Monastery of St. Moses the Abyssinian in Syria. Source: Bernard Gagnon, Wikipedia

On a personal note related to Syria, I discussed with a Lebanese colleague about the uncertain status of Fr. Paolo Dall’Oglio, SJ, an inspiring Syria-based Italian priest I had the privilege to meet in 2001. Dall’Oglio ran the restored ancient monastery of St. Moses the Abyssinian, dedicating it as a center of hospitality and Christian-Muslim friendship. I remember staying the night at this wonderfully peaceful place, waking up early to climb the hills above the monastery to watch a breathtaking sunrise over the Syrian desert. That he may have been killed in this awful war is potentially a sad loss for the Syrian people and for all. Please pray for him and for all Syria.

 

 

Murphy Institute

Inside the UN: Life at the Mission and the Symphony of Catholicity

This semester, two UST Law students who are Murphy Institute Scholars  blog about their internship experiences working to support the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See at the United Nations in New York and Geneva.  Rachana Chhin writes from New York, and Joseph Grodahl Biever from Geneva.  To catch glimpses of the workings of the Holy See at the U.N., bookmark this blog and follow along.
By: Rachana Chhin

Published on: Thursday, October 10th, 2013

I’ve been in New York for almost a good two weeks now. As expected, my internship with the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations has begun in earnest.

I’ve been assigned to cover developments within the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly, focused on international legal matters. It’s really quite exciting and I’ve already observed and sat in on some high-level discussions having to do with everything from migration and development, to the rule of law, and international terrorism. As an International Relations major in college, this is doubly a dream come true to be at the UN and serve the Church while doing so.

1275486_10200499881249425_2140319294_oDSC00040 DSC00037DSC00050 (Clockwise starting at the top left: Isaiah 2:4 Wall, Migration Meeting, “Good Defeats Evil” statue in front of UN, St. Patrick’s Cathedral)

My day at the Mission begins at 9AM sharp, when all of the staff members and interns come to pray Morning Prayer of the Divine Office together, otherwise known as the Liturgy of the Hours. The Papal Nuncio, His Excellency Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, then assigns us our daily tasks from the UN Journal. During this time, I ordinarily meet with the Legal Attaché of the Mission to see if he needs anything else from me.

Our first committee meetings at the UN usually last from 10AM in the morning until 1PM in the afternoon. After a lunch-break back at the Mission, we return for the second sessions and continue until those are over around 6PM. There are frequently quite a few “side-events” hosted by various other mission-delegations that we can attend throughout the day. I make my way back to Hoboken and either spend the remainder of the evening relaxing or finishing up any outstanding reports for His Excellency. As you can see, our days are quite structured and full of things to do.

When I’m not on assignment, I’ve been taking the opportunity to make the most of my time in New York by sightseeing, trying out different foods (did I tell you just how amazing Bagels and Lox are?), and catching up with friends and colleagues who live in the area. After all, what opportunity will I get to be here for a time like this again? There are so many interesting things to see and do that, I’ve come to believe, a person can live their entire life here and not see every nook and cranny.

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The United Nations Headquarters.

New York can be a bit overwhelming at times, I’ll admit. But there’s a certain sense of peace when I take a step back and remind myself of why it is that I’m here: to serve the Mission, to learn about international law, and to walk alongside others helping to fulfill the UN’s noble mission, as outlined in their Charter. To that end, I am confident that my first two years in the JD/CMSA joint-degree program have equipped me for working on various issues at the UN by integrating solid legal formation with the richness of the Catholic Social Tradition.

This leads me into my last point in that our work here, in many ways, confirms for me the universality of the Church. One of the most pleasant surprises of the internship so far has been getting to know the other interns, hailing from such nations as Syria, Kenya, Spain, and Canada, among others. This is a communion that can teach the world much. That we can come together as part of the same Mission, and yet call so many different places home, with our own unique stories and upbringings, and still share our lives with each other so seamlessly is nothing short of amazing.

Pope Francis recently spoke on catholicity and I think the same ideas are relevant here at the UN, where the world gathers together:

Let us ask the Lord to make us more catholic – to enable us, like a great family, to grow together in faith and love, to draw others to Jesus in the communion of the Church, and to welcome the gifts and contributions of everyone, in order to create a joyful symphony of praise to God for his goodness, his grace, and his redemptive love.

How beautiful is that vision of a “joyful symphony of praise” radiating from the Church? To be sure, our work at the UN is quite different in many senses, but nonetheless how exciting it is to expectantly wait for what the next few weeks and days will bring as we continue along the way — with each other and among the family of nations. Thank you for journeying with us! Please keep Joseph and me in your prayers and we shall continue to pray for you.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations. 

Murphy Institute

Inside the UN: Murphy Scholars Report On Modern Slavery

This semester, two UST Law students who are Murphy Institute Scholars  blog about their internship experiences working to support the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See at the United Nations in New York and Geneva.  Rachana Chhin writes from New York, and Joseph Grodahl Biever from Geneva.  To catch glimpses of the workings of the Holy See at the U.N., bookmark this blog and follow along.

“Modern day slave trade… affects some 30 million persons. This criminal $21 billion-a-year industry is entrenched in almost all the supply chains providing food, clothes, and electronics to the world market. The products of our daily usage should remind us of the responsibility to be aware of how workers, who make our life more comfortable, are dealt with.”

Thus began the Nuncio’s statement Thursday before a meeting of the Human Rights Council focused on the issue of contemporary forms of slavery. Given the dark but now seemingly distant history of slavery in the United States, it is especially difficult for me as an American to stomach both the existence and scope of modern day human slavery around the world. 30 million is a number nearly equal to the entire population of Canada, something nearly impossible to fathom, at least for me.

You can view the Nuncio’s statement before the Human Rights Council here (To skip ahead to his statement, scroll down to Chapter 26).

The Holy See’s focus before the United Nations on this scourge of modern slavery is in line with attention given to it by Pope Francis.

The UN Office at Geneva (formerly housing the League of Nations) commands a prominent place along the western shore of Lake Geneva.
The UN Office at Geneva (formerly housing the League of Nations) commands a prominent place along the western shore of Lake Geneva.

Incidentally, as my own work is primarily at the Mission, this meeting also was my first visit to the UNOG (United Nations Office at Geneva). Obtaining my security badge, exploring a bit of the premises, and hearing the flurry of languages was certainly exciting for me, even while the gravity of the meeting topic was itself sobering.

Hearing the statements of various nations in the meeting, it was apparent that the issue of modern slavery is one of grave concern to all nations of good will. And it was gratifying to hear the forceful statement by the Nuncio, pointing both to the practical realities of the issue while also harkening to the underlying principles:

“A culture of greed and total disregard of human dignity is at the root of the slavery phenomenon. This culture detaches freedom from the moral law with the consequence that the victims of contemporary slavery become a mere commodity in the market of consumerism.”

Reflecting back on the meeting, I am reminded of St. Josephine Bakhita, a 19th century Sudanese saint who was kidnapped and sold into slavery at a young age. She has a gripping story and is an appropriate source of intercession for all those trapped in slavery today.

St. Josephine Bakhita, pray for us.

First posted by Joseph Grodahl Biever, Monday, September 16, 2013 http://blogs.stthomas.edu/murphyscholarreports/2013/09/16/modern-slavery/

Mission in Action

Mission in Action: Advocating Catholic Beliefs in the Public Square

By guest blogger, Jennifer Kraska (’04), Executive Director, Colorado Catholic Conference

A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern. ~Pope Francis, September 16, 2013

For nearly six years I have served as the Executive Director of the Colorado Catholic Conference.  The Conference represents the three dioceses of Colorado on issues of public policy and legislation.  While growing up my Mom would counsel my brothers, sisters and I that when you are in mixed company there are usually two subjects to avoid – politics and religion.  I joke with my Mom that I must have been “selectively listening” during the times she offered that advice because today my job consistently involves talking with diverse groups of people about politics and religion!

I am blessed to have a job that I truly love; I get to present and advocate the Church’s position on a variety of important issues that have a tremendous impact on the community in Colorado.  My job involves being a part of all aspects of the legislative process including: developing and amending legislation, testifying on behalf of or in opposition to legislation, lobbying legislators, developing and communicating the Church’s position on legislation and matters of public policy to disseminate to the Catholic community and encouraging all people of good will to become more involved in the public square.

For many people politics is a subject to be avoided at all costs, yet as Pope Francis recently reminded us “Politics, according to the Social Doctrine of the Church, is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good.” (September 16, 2013). It is my hope that, in my own small way, I am making a contribution to the common good guided by a spirit of charity and truth.

I graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 2004 with a joint J.D. and M.A. in Catholic Studies and I am grateful to have received a faith-based education which prepared me, in many ways, to do the job I am doing today.  During our law school graduation in 2004 each of the graduates were given a picture frame with the law school’s mission statement on one side and a picture of the law school on the other side. The frame sits on a book shelf in my office and is a continual reminder to me that the mission did not cease to become relevant to me once I graduated, but rather the mission to integrate “faith and reason in the search for truth through a focus on morality and social justice” is a life-long mission to be pursued and lived every day.

Uncategorized

Inside the UN: Murphy Scholars Report – Joseph Heads into the Mountains

Catching a glimpse of the choir chapel at the monastery, with a solitary nun in prayer.
Catching a glimpse of the choir chapel at the monastery, with a solitary nun in prayer.

This past Sunday, the Nuncio generously invited me and another intern to come along on a short trip up into the mountains, about an hour east into France. He was making the journey to say Mass that morning at a Carthusian monastery, Le Monastère de Notre-Dame de la Gloire-Dieu – Les Montvoirons. With the session of the Human Rights Council beginning this week in Geneva, and much other work to be done at the Mission, it was a nice blessing to be able to escape for a few hours.

The setting was truly magnificent. Although formed in the 1960s, relatively new as monasteries go, walking onto the monastery grounds and into the church nevertheless conveyed a sense of being transported out of the modern world. On a clear day, which alas was not this day, there is a breathtaking view of the Alps, particularly Mont Blanc. To make up for my failings as a photographer, I suggest visiting the website of the monastery for a better view of the place.

Apart from daily prayer together, and some time on Sundays, the nuns at this monastery live a life of solitude and silence, hallmarks of their order. They live a highly contemplative and only slightly less ascetic life than that of the monks of Grande Chartreuse seen in the 2005 documentary film Into Great Silence. There was a particularly glorious moment for me when, during the “sharing of the peace” in Mass, two of the sisters went to each and every visitor gathered in the congregation (there were many) to share “la paix du Christ”. It was a stirring moment to see the joy on the sister’s face and the depth of peace in her eyes. A remarkable place, one which I am already hoping to find a reason to return for another visit.

Reposted from  https://blogs.stthomas.edu/murphyscholarreports/, September 10, 2013.