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YLS Students Jasmeet Ahuja ’13 and Piotr Brzezinski ’14 Named Soros New American Fellows

Two Yale Law School students have been named Paul & Daisy Soros New American Fellows for 2012. Jasmeet Ahuja ’13 and Piotr Brzezinski ’14 are among the 30 accomplished young people chosen for the honor. The fellowships are awarded to immigrants or the children of immigrants to support their graduate study at any university in the United States.

Jasmeet Ahuja was born in California to Punjabi Sikh parents who immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Her family’s harrowing experience with religious intolerance in India energized her to fight for the American constitutional promise of equal protection under the law. After graduating with honors and Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with M.S. and B.S. degrees in engineering, Jasmeet accepted an appointment as a Presidential Management Fellow at the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon. She then served as the director of South Asia in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the Department of State and as a professional staff member on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. While with the House, she helped craft foreign policy legislation on aid to Pakistan, negotiated the civil-nuclear deal with India, and lobbied for Sikh Americans to wear turbans while serving in the U. S. military. She also served as chair of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership. She will use her award to support her studies at Yale Law School, after which she plans to continue her work in foreign affairs to ensure that rule of law guides the country’s national security decisions.

Piotr Brzezinski was born in Boston to parents who had come to the United States from Poland more than a decade earlier. After going to Philips Academy, he attended Wesleyan University and later transferred to Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude in social studies. While at Harvard, he served as an editorial executive for the Harvard Crimson, editor-in-chief of The Dissident, and vice president of the Harvard Speech and Parliamentary Debate Society. He was awarded the Max Greenman Prize for parliamentary debate. After graduation, he joined McKinsey & Company, a strategy consultancy, and worked with Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. and Latin America. He then moved to London to become a policy advisor for David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party. After the 2010 British election, he helped set up the Big Society Network, a charity that seeks to promote political reform and civic engagement, and founded the Digital Government Unit at Policy Exchange, a technology policy research group. He also worked on the Alternative Vote national referendum campaign. He will use his fellowship to support the remainder of his studies at Yale and is exploring options for a joint MBA degree.

The Fellowship Program for New Americans was established by Hungarian immigrants Paul and Daisy Soros in 1997 as a way to “give back” to the country that had afforded them and their children great opportunities.

Read more about the 2012 Soros New American Fellows here.