Victoria Bennett

HRTS MA Student

I am Victoria L. Bennett and a new student in the HRP Master’s program for Fall 2019. I have lived in AZ for the past 4+ years and currently reside in Phoenix. I’m originally from Ft. Wayne, IN, and have since lived in Illinois, Georgia, Kentucky and now here. As of July 2019, I now commute on the weekends, for my job at a law firm in Tucson. For the better part of the past 12 years, I have been a non-traditional student while working as a full-time paralegal in Georgia, Indiana/Kentucky, and Arizona. A divorce in 2006 and an eventual empty nest in 2008, led me to this journey that I am still on today. Luckily for me, I have always known that my path was to become the best human rights practitioner I can be and to do something meaningful with my life to change the world for the better. With that never-ending passion for all things social justice and human rights guiding me since I can remember, I eventually earned my B.A. in Political Science with a minor in International Affairs (Latin America concentration) from Indiana University in 2013. My scholarly studies have included issues ranging from the plight of Afro-Cubans after the revolution (spurred on by my study abroad trip to Cuba in June of 2012), impunity and the ICC, the issues surrounding apartheid in South Africa and the TRC, slavery and the Cherokee, human trafficking in Guatemala, and rape as a weapon of war in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda to name a few. In May 2018, I graduated from Arizona State University with a M.S. in Global Technology and Development with my studies culminating in research regarding the protracted refugees from the Horn of Africa and issues of the decades-long warehousing, human rights and development, and the roles that technology and innovation can play to bring positive change into the camps to alleviate poverty, improve the health of the refugees and provide skills-based learning to aid those who wish to repatriate when the opportunity presents itself.

I am often asked why or how did I become a paralegal and why I’ve done it for so long (over 28 years now) knowing what my true passion has always been. Simply put, life happened and how grateful I am that it did in this way. I am a mom to two sons ages 33 and 29, and the grandmom to (although officially I am known as her “Gigi”) a beautiful little girl we call Ali (pronounced as Alley). I am overjoyed, to say the least, to now be part of a program solely focused on an array of human rights issues and to learn from the experts It is my hope that after graduation, I will be more than prepared to enter the field of human rights practice and, to further my education even more, and enter law school. It is my further hope to someday become a human rights lawyer because now more than ever, I believe the world needs more of us to stand up and speak out for those that are marginalized, oppressed and forgotten. I look forward to the next 2 years of learning, collaborating and expanding my knowledge in all matters of human rights and social justice.