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Annah Icay '11 Interns at Philippine Senate

When Annah Icay ‘11 went to work in the Philippines this summer, it was more than just a summer job; it was a trip home. Born and raised in Manila, she and her family moved to Chicago, Ill. when she was 17 where they became United States citizens.

As an undergraduate student, Icay attended DePaul University, majoring in English and minoring in sociology. She chose English as a major because she knew she was going to go to law school, and she received advice from many people that she should learn to write well. “With English not being my first language,” she said, “I had to be better at it. So I just dove right in and chose it as my major.” Icay is frequently asked how she is able to read and speak English fluently when she has only been in the country for eight years; she states that it is because English is both taught in school and commonly used in the Philippines.

UC Law Values Drew Her

Following graduation from DePaul, Icay came to Cincinnati to study at the College of Law. She was particularly drawn to the school because of the things of which UC is most proud: location and size. She likes the fact that it’s an urban school, located in the heart of Cincinnati. She also enjoys the smaller class sizes, allowing for personal attention from the faculty and staff. UC Law also has a concentration in immigration law. Icay hopes to practice in this area following graduation, so she plans to focus on immigration-related courses, as well as international law courses, during her studies here.

Icay’s extracurricular activities are similarly related to these areas. She is an articles editor for the Human Rights Quarterly and the president of the Asian Pacific American Law Students’ Association. Being a part of the Human Rights Quarterly staff helps as well, she said, because of the broad array of areas she has been able to learn about. Additionally, this fall she will be participating in an externship with Cincinnati Interfaith Workers, where she will be able to deal first-hand with many of her interest areas, with particular focus on the intersection of immigration and labor issues.

Going Home to work in Human Rights Work

This summer, Icay was able to return to the Philippines to do human rights-related work. She worked as a legislative intern in the Philippine Senate, assisting Senator Francis G. Escudero. She said, “I chose to work with him because he currently chairs the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights.” Icay used one word to describe politics in the Philippines: intense. She assisted in drafting senate bills by consolidating proposed bills and resolutions with similar subject matter, and she also created senate committee reports by summarizing submitted bills, resolutions, and transcripts from hearings and technical working groups. In addition, Icay also conducted legal research and compiled laws and other materials in preparation for senate hearings, which she also attended.

The best part of her experience, though, was being able to meet with the Senator’s constituents. Icay found the experience particularly enlightening. “Their problems are very similar to the problems so many people are facing here in the United States,” she remarked. “Like so many here, they are concerned about things like evictions and other land issues, and about how to pay the medical bills for their son with cancer.” Icay also explained that the Senator shared many of the financial concerns of his constituency because his budget was not released by the government. Senator Escudero is a member of the opposition and is often battling the current president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and her administration. For this reason Escudero is considering running for President in the 2010 Philippine elections.

Author: Lindsay Mather, '11