Alum, former Sorensen fellow, returns to campus for mini-residency

Ariele Cohen ’99 shared the story of her transformative fellowship with current students

Photo/David Weinstein

Former Sorensen fellow Ariele Cohen '99 speaks with students during her mini-residency.

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.

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 returned to campus Oct. 22 and 23 to share her journey in the first Sorensen Fellowship Alumni Mini-Residency. Her residency featured 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.

“Traveling to the former Yugoslavia in 1998 as part of the first group of Sorensen Fellows was transformative for me,” Cohen said. “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.”

The Sorensen Fellowship for undergraduates has been a flagship program since the founding of the International Center for Ethics, Jusice and Public Life 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.

Categories: Alumni, Humanities and Social Sciences, Student Life

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