Five Questions

June 24, 2008Duke Law News

1. Where are you from? Is your hometown famous/known for anything?
I was born in a little town named Santiago de Veraguas in the Republic of Panama and was also raised in the capital city (Panama City). The town where I was born is famous for being the birthplace of Omar Torrijos Herrera, one of the most famous leaders of the country and [the man] responsible for achieving the negotiations that brought the Panama Canal to Panamanian Administration. Herrera also was influential in setting the venue of the first UN Security Council meeting outside of New York, which was held in the Panamanian island of Contadora in 1973.

Santiago is also the capital of the only province or national subdivision to have coasts in two different oceans. On the other side, Panama City is famous for many things, of course, the most important is the Panama Canal. It is also world famous for its banking center, being the country with the largest merchant fleet in the world.

2. What made you choose Duke Law?
I chose Duke Law due to the enormous prestige this institution has both in the United States and in the world. Moreover, I looked in depth at Duke Law School because it has some of the most attractive offers for those interested in international law and the scope of things that can be done while enrolled here are enormous. I am lucky to have found what my passion really is and Duke is a prime center in which I can develop myself as great professional, as well as develop a sense of ethical behavior that truly reflects the ideal of how lawyers should act. The opportunities while at Duke are BIG and I am just hoping to be able to take the best advantage of my time here.

3. What do you ultimately want to do with your law degree?
[Generally, I would like] to be able to work in an international environment in which I can grow intellectually and later have the chance to practice worldwide. Although my ultimate desire is to serve the international community in an international organization, I think I may like to get some experience in the private sector of international law (international transactions, working for corporations, investment banks, or in contractual issues) and develop an expertise that I can later use effectively in an international organization such as the UN, the World Bank, WTO, ILO.

4. What unique accomplishments or abilities do you have that people might not know about you?
I am a person who possesses a great amount of intensity. People say that I have a photographic memory, and that I have the ability to see things from different perspectives.

I am fluent in three languages (Spanish, English and German) and have a decent knowledge of three other ones (Italian, Portuguese and French).

About accomplishments, I helped to revive the law review magazine of the Universidad Santa Maria La Antigua Law School in Panama, teaching high school students about the law making process and engaging them in both local and international simulations of parliamentary procedure. [Also, when] working for the UN Information Centre in Panama, I joined one of the UNHCR missions to the Darien jungle and helped to give some relief to indigenous refugees from Colombia, victims to the FARC Guerrillas.

5. What’s the best advice you have been given?
The first comes from my father, who said that it’s important to get to know yourself--explore your mind, and develop strong confidence in yourself. He [also] told me to put yourself in God’s hands, because with confidence in yourself and God in your side, you are unbeatable.

The second advice comes from my mother. She always tells me to give my best and always help others without expecting anything in return, because that way you always end up getting the most beautiful rewards.
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