Externadista will travel to Uganda to work with women victims of armed conflict

María Daniela D. Villamil is a graduate of our House of Studies, professor of the Department of Constitutional Law, Master in Law from Harvard University, and will soon be based for a year in Kampala (Uganda, Africa) to contribute with her work to positively impact the citizenship of women in that country, from a transformative perspective of law.

Professor Villamil is a graduate of the Law School of our University. During her third-year studies she received a scholarship for having the best academic average of her course; in that same year she was elected T.A. of the Constitutional Law Department, and, upon graduation in 2016, the Universidad Externado awarded her another scholarship to work as a visiting researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).

“This came about thanks to an agreement that the Externado has had with UNAM for more than 30 years to promote the exchange of professors from both institutions. It is a project designed for the circulation of legal knowledge in Latin America, conceived by Dr. Carlos Restrepo Piedrahita and the then director of the Legal Research Institute, Héctor Fix Zamudio,” said the professor.

During her stay in Mexico, the professor dedicated herself to deepening and academically exploring the intersections between gender, sexuality and law. Subsequently, she returned to Colombia and began working at the Externado as a professor in the Department of Constitutional Law, teaching classes on Human Rights, International Human Rights Law and Gender and Law.

She recently completed her Master of Laws (LL.M) studies at Harvard University and was also the winner of the Satter Human Rights Fellowship, an award given to the best Harvard students, which consists of financing a 12-month stay in a specific country for graduates who have a special affinity for issues related to serious human rights violations in contexts of a breakdown in the rule of law or armed conflict.

“There were very demanding requirements as to what kind of place you could go to. Uganda emerged as an option because this country has had a very intense armed conflict for many years, it also has a regime that is not democratic and has a particular characteristic that made the possibility of working there very interesting for me, and that is that one of the main forms of violence that was exercised during the conflict, which is still ongoing, but on a smaller scale, is sexual violence against girls, boys and adult women,” added the teacher.

With her work in Kampala, the Externadista hopes to continue contributing to this transformative view of law that can have a positive impact on women’s citizenship, and to think about how the law, beyond demanding trials or jail or the more punitive versions that exist in the face of circumstances such as sexual violence, can also be a tool to advance social justice.

“It is also important to include sectors of the population that, because of these victimizations, suffer painful exclusion, as is the case of women survivors in Uganda, with whom I will have the honor of working next year,” concluded Daniela D. Villamil.

About her work at the Externado, the professor said she is very grateful for all the opportunities she has received from the University, and to show her gratitude she will continue to promote projects to make our University a safe place free of violence for all people, especially for girls, adolescents, women and members of the LGBT community.

From Universidad Externado de Colombia we wish Professor Daniela D. Villamil much success during her stay in Kampala, Uganda, and congratulate her for her brilliant and outstanding academic career.