Nermina Zecirovic-ArnaudAlumna, Class of '13

Being a fearless voice for disempowered communities resonates with Nermina Zecirovic-Arnaud, a native of Novi Pazar, in southwest Serbia. Before attending CUNY Law, Zecirovic-Arnaud worked for an international organization promoting women’s rights in countries emerging from conflict. Her original interest in being a lawyer traces back to the late Rhonda Copelon, who founded CUNY Law’s International Women’s Human Rights (IWHR) Clinic.

“I realized the advocacy work I was passionate about was being done by people with law degrees,” Zecirovic-Arnaud said. “I chose CUNY because I was inspired by the work of IWHR and by Rhonda’s vision.”

During Zecirovic-Arnaud’s summer fellowship, she interned at Geneva for Human Rights Global Training, a non-governmental organization that trains human rights defenders across the globe. While there, she completed a human rights training course and monitored and analyzed meetings of the 17th session of the Human Rights Council and the Human Rights Committee.

At one session meeting, she met a human rights defender from Sri Lanka who worked to make positive change for people affected by the country’s civil war. He helped produce a movie shedding light on atrocities committed against an ethnic minority by the Sri Lankan government.

“He was unconditionally devoted to defending the rights of the Sri Lankan minorities and, I thought, that’s the kind of advocate I want to be: fierce and fearless,” Zecirovic-Arnaud recalled.

She is now a staff attorney at the New York City Commission on Human Rights, working to ensure no New Yorkers suffer unjust discrimination of any kind. She is doing her work fiercely and fearlessly.

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