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W&L Law Professor David Baluarte Awarded Fulbright for Statelessness Study

Washington and Lee law professor David Baluarte has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant to study the stateless population in Argentina. Baluarte will conduct his research at the University of Buenos Aires Law School, where he also will teach refugee and asylum law in the immigration clinic while conducting his research.

With the ratification of two conventions in the 1950s, Argentina made an international commitment to protect refugees and the stateless, those who have no country of nationality and are often condemned to roam the globe without the protection of any government. Over 5000 refugees and asylum seekers from 65 different countries reside in Argentina, making it one of the largest systems of refugee protection in the Americas.

Baluarte says that while much is known about the refugee population in Argentina, virtually nothing is known about stateless population in that country.

“Argentine legislators have recently proposed legislation to protect the stateless population in accordance with that country’s international obligations under the 1954 Convention,” says Baluarte. “I plan to collaborate with Argentine partners to incorporate a statelessness perspective into their work on behalf of refugees, to better understand statelessness in Argentina, and to inform the legislative process underway to protect stateless persons.”

In addition to the research project, Baluarte will teach in his host school’s immigration law clinic, where he will incorporate a specialized module about refugee protection into their curriculum. This module will involve instruction about regional and international standards and will incorporate a comparative component in which students learn about the U.S. system of refugee and asylum protection.

Baluarte is one of approximately 500 faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2016-2017. The Program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, a division of the Institute of International Education.

Last year, W&L was recognized as a top producer of Fulbright scholars thanks to the successful applications of three law professors, Jill Fraley, J.D. King and Johanna Bond. Fraley studied property law in Ireland, King researched Chile’s criminal defense system, and Bond worked on access to legal aid in Tanzania.

Baluarte teaches and writes about topics ranging from immigration, refugees and stateless persons, and transnational law with a specific focus on international human rights law and practice. He also serves as director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, a semester-long practical lawyering experience available to third-year students as part of W&L’s innovative third-year curriculum.

Last year, Baluarte joined the advisory council of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, an independent non-profit organization dedicated to promoting an integrated, human rights based response to the injustice of statelessness and exclusion. He is also a member of the board of directors for the ACLU of Virginia.

Before coming to W&L, Professor Baluarte was a Practitioner-in-Residence and Arbenz Fellow in the International Human Rights Law Clinic (IHRLC) at American University Washington College of Law. In addition to his clinical teaching responsibilities in that capacity, Professor Baluarte managed projects and consulted for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI).

Before beginning his teaching career, Professor Baluarte served as a staff attorney in the Immigration Unit the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and as a staff attorney at the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL). Professor Baluarte earned his J.D. from American University Washington College of Law, where he was a Public Interest and Public Service (PIPS) Scholar, and his B.A. from Brown University.