International justice advocate, human rights lawyer, and CEO of the Equality Effect, Dr. Fiona Sampson ‘87, took time to speak with Trent University students about her unusual pathway to a career giving a voice to those who often go unheard.
“I'm so thrilled to be back on campus – it's such a heart and soul experience being back here.”
A graduate of the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies and an honorary fellow of Catherine Parr Traill College, Dr. Sampson has strong ties to the Trent community that continue to influence her as a senior professional in law.
“I think the idea of learning at Trent was really critical to how I’ve come to use law as a tool for social change because at Trent I learned to think critically, but also to really take theory and apply theory in a practical way,” said Dr. Sampson. “The work that I do through the Equality Effect, and the human rights work that I do in support of advancing legal change for women and girls is grounded in theory and legal strategies that we develop as a team at the Equality Effect are definitely foundational in terms of legal feminist theory. But they’re all directed at achieving concrete change and that’s something really invaluable that I learned at Trent.”
The Traill Lawyer in Residence is a special program undertaken with the Law and Arts Degree, and Law and Business Dual Law Degree with the University of Swansea to bring influential lawyers to Trent to share about their life, their experience, and their expertise.
Speaking at her induction ceremony, Dr. Sampson spoke about her work in Kenya changing the laws regarding child defilement where she and her team won a landmark legal ruling in a mere 10 months.
Looking ahead, Dr. Sampson is now working to implement a special training program with local police to quickly identify and deal with cases that involve the sexual abuse of minors. Dr. Sampson’s core message, that individuals can make real change, was not lost to the audience of young lawyers.