Mariel Sanchez

Mariel is a graduate student at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, focusing on human security and international development. She is originally from Mexico and has spent time studying in France and doing volunteer work in Costa Rica. Prior to her graduate studies, she was a case manager and legal representative at the YMCA International Services, a refugee resettlement agency in Houston, Texas. Her cases involved immigration relief for victims of crime, asylum seekers, and family reunification for refugees and other low-income immigrants. Before starting in immigration law, she worked for a disaster relief program, where she provided case management and direct assistance to hurricane survivors. She also has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin. This summer, she continued her work in the human rights field with EPAF, further exploring issues of transitional justice and post-conflict development. After the fellowship, she wrote: "The fellowship kept me very busy and I enjoyed having variety in the work. I liked being able to contribute practical skills in preparing a grant proposal and a marketing plan, while also having the opportunity to be creative in designing a website, writing AP blogs and making videos. For me, the best part about the fellowship was that I wasn’t just doing a job, but that everything I did had the greater benefit of supporting human rights. Also, working with the people of EPAF and learning the stories of the conflict directly from the victims were the most rewarding aspects." Contact:

Initial Thoughts and Impressions

08 Jun

Nearly one week into my fellowship and I am feeling overwhelmed by the city of Lima where car alarms and constant honking wake me up to never-ending gray skies and humid air. A place where I had to wait in four separate lines to buy a cell phone that I am still figuring out how to use, and where I’ve already had to rethink my work plan after learning the grant proposal I thought I had two months to prepare is due in less than a month.

But in this environment of chaos, I am finding energy in the kind people of Peru and quiet spaces in the nature surrounding the city.

View from my roomIMG_1276Malecon, Lima, Peru
The view from my room in Miraflores and sights from my morning run. Cloudy skies all around.

I spent my first three days at the office becoming familiar with the work and the staff of EPAF. Everyone at the office has been extremely welcoming and patient; from showing me the bus routes and translating the restaurant menus, to introducing me to all of EPAF’s different areas of work and responding to my requests for contact lists, program schedules, previous proposals and budgets.

My desk at the EPAF officeBedroom at EPAF
My temporary desk and the “nap room” at the EPAF office.

In my conversations with EPAF staff and other Peruvians I am also realizing how much I have yet to learn. The history of the armed conflict is a complicated one, and one I hope to better understand by the end of my ten weeks here. The aftermath of the conflict involves issues of justice on the one hand, and reconciliation on the other hand, as some parties have chosen to forget and move on from a painful episode in Peruvian history while others still seek to hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes. Thus, I’m learning to approach the conflict with sensitivity in my discussions and interactions, becoming aware of how it continues to affect the lives and relationships of Peruvians today.

EPAF PublicationsIMG_4407
A power outage last Thursday gave me time to read the EPAF publications and news stories piled around my desk.

Posted By Mariel Sanchez

Posted Jun 8th, 2015


  • Kathy

    June 10, 2015


    The sun is very shy in that part of Peru this time a year but don’t let it discourage you, my grandma used to say a smile can shine brighter than the sun at times. I hope the weather does improves for you. I have also been studying Armed Conflict for a while, specifically the laws of Armed Conflict, if you need any help with that, please let me know. Buena Suerte!

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