Class 19 (2020-2022)
Gabriel Bernardo da Silva, Brazil
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Global Studies
Human Rights | International Development | Migration | Refugees
Sponsoring Rotary District: 2110
Worked in: Sri Lanka, Thailand, Switzerland, Italy
Degrees from: State University of Londrina - Brazil, Pontifical Catholic University of Parana - Brazil and University of Catania - Italy
Future plans: "My greatest professional aspiration after my master's degree is to find a position in some great international organization (of relevance and importance such as UN agencies and international NGOs) where I can be useful to leave a mark on the world and create a positive impact, mainly on the lives of those who suffer most."
Gabriel is a political scientist, sociologist and lawyer with a passion for human rights and peace building. Communicative and dynamic, after working as a teacher and lawyer, he volunteered for 4 years in several areas related to humanitarianism and international relations around the world.
In 2014 Gabriel was in Sri Lanka developing socio-educational initiatives with children victims of the tsunami and the civil war and also contributed with resilience and peacekeeping projects. After this period, he went to Thailand and lived in a refugee camp at Samuth Sakhon and served at a school on the outskirts of Bangkok, caring for about 130 migrant and refugee children from Myanmar. In addition to these activities, he liaised and collaborated with NGO partners which provide legal aid to migrants in situations of high social vulnerability and to detained refugees.
At the end of his field experience in Asia, he interned with FMSI (Marist International Solidarity Foundation) as a Child Rights Advocate at Geneva, and Fundraising Office at Rome, advocating with embassies to lobby for the Universal Periodic Review reports presented by the FMSI and assisting the follow-up of public policies related to human rights and international development.
In 2016 Gabriel was nominated by the Marist Institute to open a new project in southern Italy aimed to help children and young refugees, especially unaccompanied minors. He worked in 6 refugees camps in Sicily and was part of the group of "Emergency Response" from the Italian Red Cross, working in the Save and Rescue Operations as a Humanitarian Law Operator in the Mediterranean Sea during 2017-2019. He was part of the team responsible for Red Cross local committee for the RFL (Restoring Family Links).
Besides, Gabriel was appointed the general director of the social center CIAO (Centro Interculturale di Aiuto ed Orientamento), opened in January 2019 by the Marist Institute. The center offers a wide range of services free of charge to refugees and immigrants who, in some way, need help in their integration process. He was also an international researcher at the University of Catania and member of the Legal Clinic, an advanced legal training program in International and European Law promoted by the International Law Department.
Gabriel has a particular interest in human rights implementation policies, international development, humanitarianism and refugees. With the tools gained from the Peace Fellowship program, he seeks to influence institutions and states in the construction of policies that have as their horizon the integral development of individuals and societies and the most complete implementation of human rights, trying to be a bridge-builder between cultures mobilized towards concrete responses aligned to contemporary challenges.