In June the Human Rights Program and our many partners at the University of Minnesota and in Antioquia that comprise our Minnesota-Antioquia Human Rights Partnership (or "Alianza") bid farewell to our esteemed Clinical Coordinator, Diana Patricia Quintero. Diana was deeply engaged with the development of the Alianza starting in October of 2012 and has been a key contributor ever since. Her efforts on the project focused mainly on enhancing the capacity for human rights legal clinical work at the four Antioquia schools engaged in the Partnership. In particular, she focused on providing the schools with resources and support to advance methodology and pedagogy in the areas of strategic litigation on behalf of vulnerable communities, individual case acceptance and advocacy, and community outreach and education on behalf of vulnerable populations.
Thanks in large part to Diana's leadership, the Alianza experienced tremendous success in its first two years. From the offset, Diana played a key role in build trusting relationships between and among our partner institutions in Antioquia. She oversaw the development of a new Human Rights Legal Clinic at the Universidad Catolica de Oriente and helped facilitate the construction of an academic network in Antioquia which now holds weekly meetings to discuss collaboration, strategy, and methods as they relate to human rights education. Additionally, she orchestrated important collaborations on case work between the University of Minnesota and our partners in Antioquia, including on the La Picacha case - which addressed the needs of an economically disadvantaged community in Medellín faced with displacement due to environmental challenges - and advocacy before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child regarding the myriad of human rights issues facing children in Antioquia and Colombia more broadly. Finally, Diana engaged directly in educating Antioquia law students by leading courses and workshops on human rights subjects and building an online library of Spanish-language materials for human rights research and education.
Diana's passion, ambition, and relentless optimism and will be sorely missed by members of the Minnesota and Antioquia human rights communities. We wish her the very best as she returns to her hometown of Cali, Colombia where she will continue to do human rights work as a professor in the School of Law & Social Sciences at Universidad ICESI.
Written by Claire Leslie Johnson