$10k Scholarship Finalist

In the breakaway Armenian state of Artsakh lies Talish, a quaint village that is my namesake. At five years old, drawn by the image of my name engraved on the globe, I’d search the pre-Soviet map at my grandparents’ house to find the village, using my index finger to guide my journey. I would grow excited when I’d see my name nestled near the tiny, mermaid-shaped country I knew as Armenia. Since then, I dreamt of visiting Talish, peppering my parents with questions about the village. I was confident that when I finally had the chance to visit, I would be welcomed to a lush, green village full of hospitable villagers.

Growing up, I was surrounded by stories, photographs, and books documenting the Armenian Genocide that had terrorized my family. I learned that my great-grandfather murdered two men to escape his own death, and that my great-grandmother was left an orphan because her family was murdered. But even with my knowledge of our people’s history, Talish was, in my mind, a haven—a village that withstood the ravages of war and, like me, stubbornly carried on the Armenian culture despite the trauma it had endured.

I was 21 when I finally had the opportunity to visit my namesake. But instead of lush greenery and hospitable villagers, I found dilapidated structures, abandoned homes, and the remnants of a bloody warzone. In fact, every soul had fled Talish as soon as the 2016 NagornoKarabakh war erupted, never to return. I didn’t dare pick up so much as a rock to keep for myself to take back to America, because the village had already been raped of everything it once was. In that moment, the impacts of being voiceless in the face of injustice were ever so clear.

When I returned to America, I was even more determined to continue fighting for the voiceless. Through my political work, I was able to help those in my community who were also suffering from oppressive systems, and speak up for those who couldn’t. But it was in college where I was finally able to contextualize my long-held desire to give marginalized people a voice within the international arena. Through simulation courses mimicking ICC war crime trials and UN peace conferences, I had the opportunity to delve into the vital role international law plays in safeguarding human rights around the world. I realized that while Talish was ravaged without global attention, the law could ensure that others didn’t suffer the same fate.

My name has taken me on a 24-year long journey that has helped me recognize the role of the law in the pursuit of justice. Using my career as an attorney, I’d like to protect other homelands, other identities, and other namesakes, while ensuring that the voices of the victims of human rights violations are not diminished. The One Lawyer Can Change the World Scholarship would help ease the financial burden of attending law school, and ultimately support me as I advocate for change

I plan to pursue a career in international human rights law. I’d like to leverage my career as an attorney to amplify the voices of those communities whose voices are silenced, and to establish accountability for human rights violations within the international arena.

Harvard Law School is the ideal fit for me and my goal to become “one lawyer who’ll change the world” for many reasons: the scope of its international influence, the breadth of its clinical offerings, and its uniquely large class size are just a few of the reasons why I believe HLS is a great fit for me. I am confident that HLS will present me with countless opportunities to collaborate with fantastic minds from all types of diverse backgrounds, and to serve communities all around the world, even while still in law school.

There are many people I’d like to thank for giving me the chance to serve as an agent of change, from my teachers, professors, and mentors, to Don Macaulay for bringing the BARBRI group’s scholarship opportunities to my attention via LinkedIn. And I am particularly grateful for my family; they have taught me to understand the value of discipline and its role in affecting change, and have thus provided me with the ultimate chance to serve as an agent of change.

Winning this honor would serve as a constant reminder, and reaffirm my belief, that our society’s status quo is actually malleable, always worth questioning, and sometimes necessary to alter. Winning this scholarship will continue to motivate me as I embark on my law school journey and advocate for change.

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