Bilingual in Manhattan: SIL’s Third Annual Community Outreach Event

Vol. 41 No. 4

By

Bruce Horowitz (bhorowitz@pazhorowitz.com) is a partner with Paz, Horowitz, Robalino, Garcés in Quito, Ecuador. He specializes in intellectual property law and anticorruption compliance and anti-extortion practice.

 

During the Spring Meeting of the Section of International Law (“SIL”), the U.S. Lawyers Abroad Committee sponsored its third annual Community Outreach Event. This year, our member participants visited the Manhattan Academy for Arts and Language, a public high school in operation for two years. The school, just a 15-minute walk from our conference hotel, is for students whose first language is not English and who are interested in the arts. Our Section members who visited the school are all bilingual lawyers who went to talk about (1) the importance of being able to speak and work in at least two languages, (2) the importance of international law, and (3) the professional opportunities that are available in international law for people who, like these students, will have at least two languages under their belts.

Each of our member volunteers spoke with small groups of between three and seven students, and the lively discussions quickly spun off into their, and our, different areas of interest.

As we have done each year following the Community Outreach event, our member participants joined together over a meal or coffee to talk about the experience. As one of the members who had participated in last year’s award-winning event and again this year said, “It was a real privilege and, as it was last year in Washington, it was one of the best things this year about the International Section meeting. I hope the students got as much out of it as we did.”

Although we were not there to critique the school, we all came away from the experience with great admiration for the teachers who created and run this experimental ELL (“English language learner”) academy. None of us had previously met an entire class of students with such positive energy about their school experience and such positive expectations about their future. All of these students are recent immigrants from other countries trying to fit in and to figure out their own individual identities within a new culture; this fact makes the students’ and the school’s achievement even more special.

Many thanks to the ELL students, their teachers, and the principal and vice principal of the Manhattan Academy for Arts and Language for hosting our visit and to the Section member participants: Juliana Campagna (Professor, Hofstra Law School, USA); Bruce Horowitz (Paz, Horowitz, Robalino, Garcés, Ecuador); Fernando Jamarne (Alessandri & Cia, Chile); Rosa Lima (state assistant district attorney, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA); Terry Selzer (Stampe, Heume & Hasselriis, Denmark); and Laurence Wiener (Wiener, Soto, Caparros, Argentina).

Many other section members would have participated in the event but for the fact that, this year, because of scheduling conflicts, the event took place in the morning before the beginning of the regular section events.

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