Dora Duru has been named the Helen Strong Curry International Legal Scholar for the Class of 2020. Endowed through an estate gift from Jean Curry Allen (BA’44), the scholarship is awarded each year to a first-year student with a passion for international issues who plans to focus their upper-level studies on international law. The scholarship was named in honor of Allen’s mother, Helen Strong Curry.
“I’m excited to announce Dora Duru’s selection as the Helen Strong Curry International Law Scholar for the Class of 2020, and I look forward to her contributions to the International Legal Studies Program and to the legal profession,” said Ingrid Wuerth, who holds the Helen Strong Curry Chair in International Law.
A native of Los Angeles, Duru earned her B.A. in international relations at Stanford University and worked at a manufacturing company before entering law school. As an events intern with the Milken Institute, she worked on its 2015 Global Conference. At Stanford, she was involved with the Student-led Movement to End Mass Atrocities, known as STAND, which supported initiatives to raise awareness of, respond to and end mass atrocities and campaigns of genocide. Duru co-led a fundraising initiative for the Darfur Stoves Project, which provided fuel-efficient stoves to families in internally displaced person camps.
As a Vanderbilt 1L, Duru participated in a genocide/atrocity prevention simulation on the crisis in Zimbabwe organized by human rights expert Michael Newton, who teaches Vanderbilt’s International Practice Lab, in conjunction with the Vanderbilt Holocaust Lecture Series. Duru played the role of a member of an international non-governmental organization. “That was one of the most meaningful experiences during my first year of law school,” she said.
During summer 2018, Duru will travel to Germany and Poland as a fellow with the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) program to analyze the role lawyers played during the Holocaust and work as a legal intern in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy.
Duru’s interest in the field of international law has its roots in her mother’s experience as an immigrant to the U.S. from Nigeria. “My mother lived through the Nigeria-Biafra war as a child,” she said. “When I think about her story, I want to be involved in the international legal field. I have a strong desire to help people who have suffered from conflicts.”