|“The exceptional faculty at William and Mary exposed me to a variety of perspectives on world issues that have both shaped and solidified my desire to work in the international arena. More importantly, their encouragement and their example gave me the confidence to believe that I can have a meaningful impact on the lives of those suffering from injustice.”|
Sarah B. Falzone (2009)
Economic Associate, U.S. Department of State, Abuja, Nigeria
“The exceptional faculty at William and Mary exposed me to a variety of perspectives on world issues that have both shaped and solidified my desire to work in the international arena. More importantly, their encouragement and their example gave me the confidence to believe that I can have a meaningful impact on the lives of those suffering from injustice.”
Sarah Falzone graduated from William and Mary Law School in May of 2009. Prior to law school, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Southwest Pacific nation of Vanuatu. While working with the Peace Corps, Sarah decided to pursue a degree in law with the intention of continuing to work overseas in developing and underserved areas.
As a student at William and Mary, Sarah focused her studies on international law. Her courses included Public International Law, International Human Rights Law, Islamic Law, Comparative Law, Post-Conflict Justice and the Rule of Law, and International Criminal Law. During the summer after her second year, Sarah interned for the Geneva-based nonprofit organization International Bridges to Justice in its Phnom Penh, Cambodia office. While in Cambodia, her work included documenting client histories and human rights abuses within the Cambodian legal system. Sarah traveled throughout the country to visit clients in prison, witness local prison conditions, and interview judges, lawyers, and prison officials about potential violations of prisoners’ rights.
Following graduation, Sarah moved to Abuja, Nigeria to complete a Post Graduate Fellowship with International Bridges to Justice. The fellowship was sponsored and funded by the law school. Her work as a Post-Graduate Fellow included conducting a baseline survey of the Nigerian criminal justice system and an assessment of the need for legal services to the poor. She interviewed a broad range of justice sector officials and researched available data in an effort to evaluate the most pressing needs facing the Nigerian legal system. International Bridges to Justice will use the results of Sarah’s research to develop a locally based program tailored specifically to Nigeria’s needs.
Upon completing her fellowship with IBJ, Sarah took a job at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja as an Economic Associate. Her duties were similar to those of a first-tour Foreign Service Officer. She worked on a variety of topics, including U.S./Nigeria bilateral trade statistics, Nigerian gubernatorial elections evaluations, and served as the Embassy liaison and organizer for the third annual conference of the Partnership on Trade, Industry and Commerce in Lagos. She also traveled to northern Nigeria to observe and evaluate cross-border trade with Niger, focusing on how trade activities impacted the lives and economies of those living near the border crossings.
Sarah’s coursework and field experiences at William and Mary opened many doors into the world of international law, and no doubt will continue to do so. Despite having little experience working in economics, the Embassy's Economic Counselor felt Sarah was qualified to be an Economic Associate because she had an internationally focused law degree from William and Mary. He felt confident that her educational background provided Sarah a more than adequate foundation to carry out the requirements of the job.
Sarah completed her work with the Embassy in Abuja in August 2010 and has since relocated to Dakar, Senegal, where her husband is posted. She is currently home with their baby daughter, born in December 2010, but plans to find work with an NGO in Dakar in the near future.