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Farmer’s son reaps Harvard fellowship

WASHINGTON D.C. – World Bank lawyer El Cid Butuyan was named distinguished Harvard Wasserstein Fellow for Public Service for 2007-2008. Butuyan is a son of a farmer and retired public school teacher from the northern province of Isabela. A graduate of Harvard Law School in 2004 and of the University of the Philippines, Butuyan was recognized for his “outstanding contribution and dedication to public interest law." He is the first non-American graduate of the law school to be honored with the fellowship. The Wasserstein family, which recently gave $25 million to fund Harvard’s new academic center, endowed the Harvard Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship to recognize lawyers who have distinguished themselves in public interest work and have made significant contributions to their fields. It honors those who use their legal education to advance the goals of social justice in their work and invites the holder of the fellowship to deliver talks and lectures on public interests law and mentor Harvard students who wish to pursue opportunities in public service and public interest advocacy. Past recipients of the Wasserstein Fellowship include such legal eagles as the Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal, the ACLU national legal director, a senator from North Carolina, the special counsel and advisor to the UN ambassador for War Crimes, a U.S. Federal District judge, the legal director of NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, the general counsel for Human Rights Campaign, the founder of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, and the director of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Butuyan has made his mark in international circles for his work on anti-corruption at the World Bank, where he is a legal counsel at its Washington D.C. headquarters. He worked on Whistleblower Protection and the sanctioning of corrupt companies in World Bank projects worldwide, which earned him distinctions and awards. He has also assisted African states in drafting anti-corruption legislation and Eastern European and Central Asian countries in advancing procurement reforms. In addition he has been recipient of various awards from the former Prime Minister of Peru, Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Willy Gaa, and recently, at the U.S. Capitol, from members of the US Congress. He was part of the impeachment prosecution team against former President Joseph Estrada, where he worked with former Solicitor General and Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo as one of the private prosecutors. He is the younger brother of Atty. Joel Butuyan who, together with Atty. Harry Roque, was the principal lawyer in the impeachment articles against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the principal beneficiary of Estrada’s removal from office. Joel Butuyan and Roque also represent the Philippine journalists who filed a class suit against First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. Aside from Butuyan, other Filipinos who made good at Harvard include Oscar Franklin Tan, who delivered the commencement speech at the Harvard Law School; Kiwi Camara, the youngest ever graduate in the history of its law school; and Genuine Opposition spokesperson Adel Tamano, who also delivered a speech at the law school in 2005. In various fora and sessions attended by young lawyers and law students at Harvard, Butuyan emphasizes that there is no one track, no one-size-fits-all formula for a successful and fulfilling career in the service of public interest, except that one must have an abiding keen sense of history and clear understanding of purpose. - Philippine News