August 01, 2014
Hugo Wood Núñez (LLM ’14), the first recipient of the Tulane Alumni Association of Panama Scholarship Award, is executive assistant to Panamanian Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado. They're pictured at Palacio Bolivar, home of the ministry offices.
Photo courtesy of Hugo Wood
Panamanian LLM students Cristina de Roux, Claudia Juárez and Joaquín Alberto de Obarrio joined Dean David Meyer at an August orientation reception.
Photo by Tracie Morris Schaefer
The two strings of beads that Hugo Wood Núñez wore to a July gathering of Tulane University alumni in Panama carried far more than the usual weight of New Orleans baubles.
During the 2013-14 academic year, Wood was the first recipient of a Tulane Alumni Association of Panama Scholarship Award, funded by members of the university’s large and thriving alumni base in Panama to make a Tulane education available to promising students who otherwise couldn’t afford to study in the United States.
Wood welcomed the two 2014-15 scholarship recipients with a strand of Tulane graduation beads and a string of Mardi Gras beads he had caught at a parade. They represented the academic and social aspects of the life-changing experience ahead, he told new LLM students Cristina de Roux and Claudia Juárez Barahona.
Wood, who received his Tulane LLM in law and development in May, recently started working as executive assistant to Panama’s new Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado. His quick rise to such a prominent position in the newly installed government administration demonstrated clearly the impact of the alumni scholarship, which covers all Tulane Law School costs and provides a stipend for living expenses.
He had established himself as a future leader in Panama by founding Jóvenes Unidos por el Diálogo (United Youth for Dialogue), an NGO that seeks to promote solutions for domestic and global issues through the use of dialogue and alternative dispute mechanisms. He also represented his country at the 2013 One Young World Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.
At Tulane, he was president of the Graduate Lawyers at Tulane Association, worked as a research assistant and gave “survival Spanish” tutorials for graduate business and law students.
Tulane’s Panama connection, particularly through the Maritime Law program and Payson Center for International Development, is among the most successful in the law school’s broad international network. Tulane Law School boasts more than 150 living Panamanian alumni, including Cabinet ministers, Supreme Court justices, diplomats and many of the country’s top lawyers.
For instance, scholarship recipient Cristina de Roux worked at a legal assistant at Morgan & Morgan, whose lawyers include six Tulane Law graduates (four JDs, two LLMs). Morgan & Morgan hosted the July reception at its new MMG Tower, one of Panama’s first green and eco-friendly buildings, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Scholarship recipient Claudia Juárez Barahona was a legal intern at Galindo, Arias & López, which counts nine Tulane Law alumni (seven JDs, two LLMs) among its partners and consultants.
A third Panamanian student will be pursuing a Tulane LLM this year: Joaquín Alberto de Obarrio Sosa, a paralegal at Arias, Aleman & Mora (ARAMO), whose partners include four Tulane Law graduates (one JD and three LLMs).
Dean David Meyer, who made his fourth trip to Panama for the event and to meet with scholarship supporters, praised the dedication of Tulane’s Panamanian alumni.
“Donors rarely get to see such an immediate return on investment,” he said. “Hugo came to Tulane Law one year ago to study best practices in international development and within two months of graduation is helping to steer Panama’s spectacular growth.”
Meyer noted that, based on last year’s success, “our Panamanian alumni have committed to double down and raise the funds for two full scholarships. Tulane has always had a special relationship with Panama, but it has never been stronger.”