Willamette's newest Fulbright Scholar fights to improve children's lives

W. Warren Binford, director of the Clinical Law Program and an associate professor of law at Willamette University’s College of Law, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to Belville, South Africa.

With the grant, she will teach at the University of the Western Cape for a semester during the 2012-13 academic year. She will also conduct research on international law focused on children's rights.

Aware that the opportunities she’s received are not universally shared, Binford says she feels compelled to advance the economic, social and educational rights of others. By receiving the Fulbright grant, she hopes to improve the lives of African children, who face such challenges as war, poverty, hunger and racial discrimination. She leaves for South Africa in July.

“This Fulbright award forces me to overcome my fear and intimidation and to come face-to-face with the realities faced by Africa’s children on a daily basis,” she says. “My hope is to use the power of legal advocacy and scholarship to try to advance the rights and interests of Africa’s children in the hope that their lives improve while retaining their own unique cultural, familial and social wealth.”
During her Fulbright leave, Binford will write several chapters of her book on international children’s rights and co-teach a course titled “Children’s Rights in the African Context.”

She will travel to orphanages, refugee camps and rehabilitation centers for child soldiers throughout Africa to research children’s issues. She will also work with the university’s Children’s Rights Centre and Legal Clinic and collaborate with some of Africa’s leading experts on children’s rights.

“Although I have read widely about the challenges facing African children, I feel that I must see and taste and smell and feel their lives, even for a brief period, to maximize my understanding of the challenges they face,” Binford says.

Binford joins several other Fulbright colleagues teaching at the College of Law, including James Nafziger, Susan Smith and Michael Wise.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program provides highly competitive awards for students, scholars, teachers and professionals to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university teaching and teaching in elementary and secondary schools.