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Preserving human rights

A spring international co-op in Greece with the European Public Law Organization taught Northeastern University junior John Hubbard how to proactively address human-rights issues around the world.

The EPLO is an international organization that facilitates research, teaching and institution-building for democratic institutions around the world. In his role, Hubbard wrote six- to eight-page proposal summaries for human-rights projects, which would connect the EPLO with civil society organizations that are in contact with people in need.

Those projects covered a range of issues, most notably addressing poverty in Vietnam, helping internally displaced persons in Georgia and training judges from Croatia, Turkey and Greece in European Union competition laws.

“When I learned of the EPLO, I thought it would be a good opportunity to go into these issues deeper,” Hubbard said. “Being here has opened my eyes to the inequalities that people face around the world.”

[media-credit id=20 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Hubbard, a dual major in political science and international affairs, said a course in transnational activism in global and civil society taught by assistant professor Denise Horn introduced him to the grant-writing process. This experiential-learning opportunity, he noted, allowed him to put that into practice in real world use.

“Human rights issues have always been important to me, because certain people don’t have the same rights that by luck I have because I was born in America,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard’s co-op position with the EPLO took root in 2009 more than 4,700 miles from Boston. Three years ago, Piji Protopsaltis, MA’97, the EPLO’s deputy director for management, attended an alumni event in Athens in which Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun, students and alumni discussed co-op and other global opportunities at the university.

Protopsaltis had an idea: given the organization’s philosophy of engaging academia to help solve human-rights issues, she wondered, why not partner with Northeastern to bring co-op students to the EPLO?

The arrangement, she said, matches the EPLO with bright, ambitious students who bring an American perspective to the organization’s efforts.

“I’m very happy with the connection we’ve made,” said Protopsaltis adding that she had reached out to the university’s international co-op office to get the ball rolling. “John has been an invaluable intern for us, and we’ve appreciated his contributions.” Junior John Hubbard completed a co-op in Greece with the European Public Law Organization in which he learned how to proactively address human-rights issues worldwide.