Miami Law Professor Kele Stewart has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright award – an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. State Department. It provides college and university professors – chosen for their strong academic backgrounds, innovative proposals and leadership potential – with the opportunity to teach and conduct research abroad, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
Professor Stewart, who co-directs the University of Miami Children & Youth Law Clinic, will spend one year in Trinidad and Tobago conducting research and establishing a child advocacy clinic at the Hugh Wooding Law School.
At the University of Miami, in addition to supervising students who represent current and former foster youth, Professor Stewart engages in systemic litigation and policy advocacy aimed at reforming the child welfare system. Born in Trinidad, Professor Stewart will share this expertise with particular sensitivity to the specific political and cultural context.
As a Fulbright scholar, Professor Stewart's research and teaching will explore the authority and role of the state to act in loco parentis ("in the place of a parent") from a comparative and international perspective.
Trinidad and Tobago recently enacted legislation providing the framework for a child welfare system. She will undertake research on the implementation of such a system in the country.
This is the first comprehensive state intervention to protect children from abuse, replacing a fragmented patchwork of mainly church-run orphanages and limited state social services.
"This is, of course, a great and well-deserved honor," remarked Vice Dean Patrick Gudridge in an e-mail circulated to Miami Law faculty.