Sorensen Fellow alumna in residence for Fall Fest


Ariele Cohen ’99 will speak about her journey from Waltham to Sri Lanka to Wall Street

October 22-23, 2015

As a junior at Brandeis, Ariele Cohen ’99 traveled to the war-torn former Yugoslavia, as well as Bulgaria, as one of the very first Sorensen Fellows supported by the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life. Today, she makes her living on Wall Street as a financial lawyer doing substantial pro bono work to benefit Iraqi refugees and special education recipients in the US.

Along the way she studied Chinese law at City University of Hong Kong, and spent two years in Sri Lanka working for a local law firm, drafting joint venture agreements between multinational corporations investing in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Maldives.

Cohen is returning to campus October 22nd and 23rd to share her journey, for the first Sorensen Fellowship Alumni Mini-Residency. Her residency will help kick off Fall Fest weekend with three events, including a conversation reflecting on her experience in Sri Lanka, in relation to this year’s Brandeis first-year book Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje (details below).

“Traveling to the former Yugoslavia in 1998 as part of the first group of Sorensen Fellows was transformative for me,” says Cohen. “Not only did it broaden my world view by allowing me to experience firsthand a region entrenched in national and ethnic conflict, but it also taught me meaningful and practical life skills that I implement daily in both my personal life and my professional life as a financial lawyer.”

Cohen’s visit back to campus will enable her to further reflect on her experiences and the ethical implications of her professional work, contributing to campus conversations as well as serving as a mentor to current Sorensen Fellows. “I look forward to meeting some of Brandeis’ thoughtful and passionate students and learning more about the work you are doing in your communities, both large and small,” she adds.

The Sorensen Fellowship for undergraduates has been a flagship program since the founding of the Ethics Center in 1998. The Fellowship consists of a summer internship bookended by courses for preparation and reflection. Seventeen years later there are more than 100 Fellowship alumni doing interesting work around the world in a variety of fields. Often their career paths are informed by their Sorensen Fellow experiences.

This new mini-residency is made possible thanks to a generous gift from Ethics Center Board member Gillian Sorensen. The Fellowship is named in honor of her late husband Theodore “Ted” Sorensen (1928-2010), adviser and speechwriter for President Kennedy and Founding Chair of the Ethics Center’s Board.

Join us at any of the public events during her residency:

Thursday, Oct 22

7:00 – 8:00 pm

“A Sorensen Fellow’s Journey from the Balkans to Wall Street: Implementing Lessons Learned in Unexpected Ways”

Levine Ross, upper Sherman

RSVP on Facebook (optional)

Ariele Cohen ’99 was a member of the first cohort of Sorensen Fellows. She will speak about her Sorensen Fellowship experience in the war-torn former Yugoslavia in 1998, and how the values and lessons she learned at Brandeis inform her career as a financial lawyer. In addition to providing legal advice on a multi-billion dollar hedge fund and private equity portfolio, Ariele does pro bono work with the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project and on special education litigation in the U.S. Refreshments served.

Friday, Oct 23

9:30 – 10:30 am

Living in Sri Lanka: A Sorensen Fellow Reflects on ‘Anil's Ghost’

Alumni Lounge, Usdan

RSVP on Facebook (optional)

Drawing on her years living in Sri Lanka (2003-4) and working for a Sri Lankan law firm, one of the original Sorensen Fellows, Ariele Cohen ’99, reflects on the themes and issues of the book Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje over a light breakfast. Cosponsored by Academic Services.

1:30 – 3:30 pm

“Office Hours with Attorney Ariele Cohen ’99”

See the Facebook event here.

Shapiro Campus Center Atrium, outside the theater

Sign up to meet Ariele Cohen ’99, a financial lawyer with AIG in NYC who advises “Wall Street's elite” and does pro bono work with the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project and special education litigation in the U.S. Ariele will answer your questions and offer advice based on her experience.

To sign up, please use the Hiatt Career Center's B.hired>Attend events interface:
(Please note: This event is for Brandeis University undergraduates only.)