My Selection as an Info Justice Fellow
My name is Lokesh Vyas, and I am a recent graduate from the Institute of Law Nirma University (“ILNU”). Based on my academic record and credentials, I have been offered a seat in the LLM (Intellectual Property and Technology) course at American University Washington College of Law (“AUWCL”), as an Information Justice Fellow with the ‘Project on Information Justice and Intellectual Property' (“PIJIP”). I’ve been awarded a 50% tuition scholarship (approx INR 19 Lacs) and faculty mentor based on my commitment towards public interest work. Additionally, the Fellowship will award me a stipend for 1.5 years where I will be working on the ‘Right to Research, in International Copyright law’. It is a matter of great honor for me and I feel greatly privileged to be one of the few students in the world to have been offered this golden opportunity
However, my selection as a fellow only indicates my merits and does not manifest my means. Of the total expected costs, I require crowdfunding assistance with the remaining 20 lakhs, before the deadline of June 15th, 2021 - Details below.
Throughout my academic career, I have performed well, securing distinctions in both secondary and higher secondary examinations, and maintained an 8.36/10 CGPA in 10 semesters at law school. Coming from a Hindi medium background schooling system, law school was a challenge for me at first. However, I have given my best during my 5 years of law school and grabbed every opportunity I could to make sure that language and financial constraints don't turn out to be a barrier to my aspirations.
Since the beginning of law school, I have had a penchant for informational accessibility and societal equity and development. It comes from my personal experiences of the lack of access to many forms of information, art, and culture, as a child and is probably the reason which shifted my interest towards IP law, especially copyright, information accessibility, and information justice. After realizing my language gap as compared to my peers at the beginning of law school, I first dove into essay writing competitions, and have since managed to win numerous competitions, including the 1st Shamnad Basheer Essay Competition on IP Law, Today I have more than 50 publications under my name in national and international platforms such as Oxford University’s Journal of IP law and Practice, Journal of IP Studies, etc. Recently, I secured All India Rank 3 in the Intellectual Property Talent Search Examination, and my efforts towards the Copyright Handbook were acknowledged by the Government of India’s Department of Law and Justice.
However, my research endeavors in the last few years have made me realize that being a student from a developing country, my ability to research and learn often depends upon my ability to find open-source material or institutional access to jump paywalls. Having made this uncomfortable realization, I want to dedicate my time and efforts to the cause of open access and information accessibility and wish to start this journey by working on the burning issue ‘right to research’ as an Info Justice Fellow. Thus, the Fellowship allows me to delve into an area and work on a problem that every developing country is currently combating in some way or another.
Fortunately, American University has granted me a scholarship of around $25,692 (INR 18,74,137). However, unfortunately, there are still inescapable constraints, which cannot be overcome by individual efforts. While my parents are extremely supportive, my father has a small pipe fitting shop in Phalodi, Rajasthan (Pin Code - 342301) that made, at best, INR 5 lakhs annually during pre-covid times. Current times are even more difficult. I am trying to arrange the funds from the bank in the form of an education loan, and hope to get approximately 12 lacs based on the collateral property we have. However, arranging the remaining funds (details and breakdown below - total funds mentioned below also includes the bank loan) is a big challenge in front of me and my family.
Total Cost (Tuition Fee + Living Expenses - as per the University Guide - see here)
Travel costs (flights)
Total Funds Required
(Potential, if approved) Education Loan
Approx Funds required from crowdfunding
The current deadline given by the University to confirm my seat is 15th June 2021 and I need to collect this money as soon as possible so that I can produce the relevant financial documents from the Bank timely. Precisely, I have only 11 days to arrange the funds. Any help from your side would be highly appreciated and would open up the possibility for me to fulfill this golden opportunity. In case you find my cause compelling, I would also kindly request you to please share this plea with your networks as well. Thank you so much in advance.
In case of any doubt or clarification, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 8080450882