Class XII (2014-2015)

3. Katharina Dechert

Sponsor Club: Rotary Club of Laramie, Laramie, Wyoming, USA Sponsor District 5440
Host Club: Rotary Club of Kenmore, Kenmore, Brisbane, QldSponsor District 9600

Katharina is from Laramie, Wyoming in the United States. She received her undergraduate degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Wellesley College in 2010. Between 2010 and 2012, she worked as a human rights accompanier in Guatemala, supporting the work of Guatemalan human rights activists within a solidarity model. Her work took a wide perspective of what constitutes human rights, ranging from direct violence and oppression to rights to land and indigenous identity and culture. She believes strongly in the importance of ally-ship, solidarity and horizontal movement-building in creating a world that is just and fair for everybody.

From 2012 to 2013, she interned at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. Working in the Office of the Secretariat of the Trust Fund for Victims, she aided in the drafting of legal filings and supported the operational responsibilities of the team, including event planning and network building. Most recently, she spent four months in Ecuador supporting the political advocacy of an international non-profit dedicated to providing legal aid to refugees and asylum seekers in their first country of arrival. She came back to Australia with a newfound interest in refugee rights, particularly in the Central American region which has been close to her heart and which experiences ever-more complicated forms of violence. She will focus her master’s research on unaccompanied migrant children from Central America, seeking to contribute to the search for durable solutions in the United States and Mexico to the increasing number of people fleeing violence and seeking international protection. Her interests continue to lie in human rights in the Americas and North-South relations, focusing on solidarity relationships and non-violent support for human rights movements. She hopes to continue this journey after finishing her degree at UQ with greater knowledge and a growing network of allies and friends.