View as webpage




September 29, 2021


Oct 1

Legal Challenges & Humanitarian Responses to Hurdles Facing Asylum Seekers at the US-MX Border

Oct 6-7

20 Years of Indigenous Advocacy Conference

Nov 4-6

Arizona Law Homecoming & Reunion Weekend


Last week, along with several members of our Arizona Law family, I participated in the opening week of events at the University of Arizona Washington, DC Center for Outreach & Collaboration.

The lineup included two important Arizona Law-related sessions:

“Diplomats as Legal Liaisons: A New Model for Legal Education” (YouTube)

"Fulfilling NEPA’s Vision Through 21st Century Data Science" (YouTube)


With LawCats Heidi Nielson ('15), Matthew Ruskin ('15), and Alla Seiffert ('14) (l-r).

As part of this exciting week, we connected with DC-based policymakers, attorneys, anda special treat—several of our Arizona Law alumni.

Until the footnotes,



Foreign Diplomat Training Program Proving to be “Powerful Resource”

210921_Diplomats_0024 for LOTL.jpg

"A View from the Classroom" panel featuring Professor Shefali Milczarek-Desai, Professor Sylvia Lett, and Counselor Guillaume Michel, moderated by Chris Gast (l-r).

Last week, the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, along with Mexico's Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE) and Instituto Matias Romero (Diplomatic Academy), hosted a group in Washington, DC, for “Diplomats as Legal Liaisons: A New Model for Legal Education,” a hybrid in-person and online event celebrating the success of the Foreign Diplomat Training Program

A joint venture developed by Arizona Law in partnership with the SRE, the program trains diplomats and diplomatic staff on the foundations of U.S. law, enabling them to better advise their citizens living, traveling, and conducting business in the United States.

Since its launch in 2018, more than 140 professionals have successfully graduated from the program, including consuls general, directors of protection, consular support specialists, and a wide range of ministry officials in the areas of consular affairs, trade, and North American relations. The program currently has 40 enrolled students.

210921_Diplomats_0015 for LOTL.jpg

Hon. Esteban Moctezuma, Ambassador of Mexico to the United States

210921_Diplomats_0011 for LOTL.jpg

With UA President Robert Robbins and Ambassador Moctezuma

I spoke to the guests at the DC event alongside University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins; Hon. Esteban Moctezuma, ambassador of Mexico to the United States; Rafael Barceló Durazo, consul general of Mexico in Tucson; and Teresa Miguel-Stearns, director of the Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library. Each speaker applauded the collaborative spirit of the program and stressed the need for continued partnerships between the university and Mexico. (See video.)

“[The Foreign Diplomat Training Program] has served as a powerful resource of information for Mexican diplomats and officials who have to analyze situations related to criminal law or immigration law in the U.S. every single day,” said Ambassador Moctezuma. “The quality of the program offered and the commitment to the training of our officers has been extraordinary. The collaboration between the Mexican government and the University of Arizona can serve as an encouraging example of what Mexico and the U.S. can accomplish together.”  

“I’m grateful to Ambassador Moctezuma and the diplomatic academy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for having the confidence in the University of Arizona and the James E. Rogers College of Law to deliver this critical educational program to diplomats and professionals of Mexico’s foreign service,” commended President Robbins. “It is exemplary of what we as a land grant university should be doing.” 

Rounding out the event was a panel featuring professors Shefali Milczarek-Desai ('01) and Sylvia Lett and the Hon. Guillaume Michel, head of legal affairs at the embassy of Mexico in the United States and a 2020 graduate of the program. The group shared insights and anecdotes on supporting foreign service professionals and how the unique needs of each foreign mission help to shape program curriculum. 

“Our partnership works well because of our collective passion to provide and support professionals with access to high quality education,” noted Chris Gast ('13), director of the Foreign Diplomat Training Program. “This program is successful because of the commitment of dedicated faculty and staff across multiple institutions, without which none of this would be possible.”

210921_Diplomats_0013 for LOTL.jpg

210921_Break_0005 for LOTL.jpg

210921_Diplomats_0003 for LOTL.jpg

The event was part of a week-long series celebrating the opening of the University of Arizona Washington, DC Center for Outreach & Collaboration.

The DC Center was established in 2020 to extend the impact of the UA’s research and scholarship efforts. The nearly 14,000-square-foot office space—located at the corner of 13th Street Northwest and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest in Washington, DC—serves as an East Coast extension for several university entities, including the College of Law.

Partnerships Stretch Across the Border

The University of Arizona and the College of Law have deep cultural and historical ties with Mexico, and both have established several far-reaching collaborations with government entities and institutions within the country. 

In addition to the Foreign Diplomat Training Program, Arizona Law also offers the Diplomado in Mexican Public Law and Policy, a Spanish-language specialized credential taught by leading scholars from the Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and only available at the UA.

The college has also partnered with UNAM and Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México to host the first International Congress of Law Librarians in the Americas, and is home to an ever-growing population of Mexican students pursuing their Juris Doctor through an advanced admissions path established to make obtaining this credential more accessible for students who have studied law outside of the U.S. 

Original Story on our Website


News from UA Qingdao

Class of 2021 1.jpeg

Professor and Director of the University of Arizona's law program with Ocean University in Qingdao, China, Robert Woods shares this update in celebration of the recent graduating class and the beginning of a new academic year.

"Now starting its seventh year, the dual degree program between the University of Arizona College of Law and the Ocean University of China School of Law continues to excel. Last year, the program received special approval from the China Ministry of Education to increase the class size, so this year’s incoming class numbers 124 students, up from 100 students in previous years. The academic level of the students also continues to rise. For the 2020 UA-OUC cohort, the average score on the Chinese college entrance exam was 582, while the average score of this 2021 cohort is up to 590 – commensurate with the overall average score of 598 for all students at Ocean University (which is one of the top universities in China).

Even more impressive and exciting are the continued postgraduate achievements of UA-OUC graduates. For the 2021 graduating class, 47% are now pursuing LLM or JD degrees at prestigious universities in China and abroad, including King’s College London and University College London, University of Amsterdam, Osaka University, and in the U.S. at UC Irvine, USC, Boston University, Vanderbilt, and of course the University of Arizona.

The academic year has just begun, but already the UA-OUC graduate students are making their mark. For example, 2021 graduate Shiqi Xu is pursuing her LLM at Vanderbilt and reports that in her Contracts and Torts courses, she has no difficulty understanding the professors and the material, for which she credits her two years studying American law with the UA professors at OUC, and we are thrilled to report that Shiqi was one of only seven new members accepted to Vanderbilt’s Woodbine Immigration Pro Bono Clinic – the only LLM student and the only non-native English speaker accepted. Congratulations to Shiqi Xu and to all of our UA-OUC graduates."

We look forward to another successful academic year at UA Qingdao and to the continued success of all our students.

20 Years of Indigenous Advocacy Conference, October 6-7

20yrs_RegNow_1200x628 web.png

Registration is open for the 20 Years of Indigenous Advocacy: A Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples conference, October 6-7, 2021. The event will be fully online and live-streamed via Zoom.

The conference will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the creation of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples mandate. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) program and there will be a special event as part of the conference acknowledging the work of IPLP and its graduates in promoting and protecting Indigenous peoples’ human rights around the world.

The two-day conference will focus on the work and lessons learned over the course of 20 years of UN Indigenous human rights advocacy by the UN Special Rapporteur. Invited speakers include the Indigenous human rights advocates and movement leaders who were directly involved in the creation of the mandate, UN appointed officials involved in the initial launch of the mandate, Indigenous human rights defenders on the front lines of Indigenous human rights advocacy today, and surprise guests.

Details and Registration

Alumni Aces


Arizona Law alumni Brad Vynalek ('99) and Jeff Simmons ('86) share these photos from their outing at the Ryder Cup Captains Challenge. Brad writes,

"I even beat out a former Ryder Cup captain, David Stockton, on a closest to the pin par-3. (That said, I had about a million bad shots, too….insane course and insane wind and overall lack of skill. Looking like I will not be leaving my day job anytime soon.) I am doing everything I can to represent UA (head covers on my woods) in Whistling Straits. Go UA Law and Team USA."

Thanks for sharing these great pics and your success on the green, Brad and Jeff.


No, migrants in immigrant detention facilities are not required to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Verify This, interview with professor Shefali Milczarek-Desai

On our website:

Arizona Law Reaches Academic, Diversity Milestones with New Class of LawCats


The University of Arizona does around $750 million in funded research annuallyand that figure continues to grow. This puts us in very rare university company. And much of that research, especially on big medical, engineering, space, optics, defense, and other science is accomplished through federal funding. 

The University of Arizona of Arizona Washington, DC Center for Outreach & Collaboration can become the beating heart for all our Arizona alumni—including several hundred law alumni. It can also serve as a place to advise prospective students. And with modern but familiar University of Arizona design and images, it is a great space for exactly the kind of presentations and engagement that the week of opening events reflected.

If you are in DC and did not get to join the UA events last week—make your way to 1301 Pennsylvania NW. If you are visiting DC, leave time to see the space, right in heart of downtown DC—mere blocks from the White House and many agencies.


On a more somber note, the display on the National Mall of more than 670,000 small white flags was a powerful image of COVID’s losses, and yet, too, of life and resilience.


Facebook      Twitter      Instagram      YouTube