Gardner Fellow Courtney Tran, Advocate for Displaced People’s Rights

May 5, 2016

Courtney Tran is a 2016-17 Gardner Fellow from UC Berkeley. 

As the child of Vietnam War refugees, Courtney is passionate about the plight of displaced people. Her interest stems from the parallels she sees between her family’s story and that of refugees, asylum seekers, and IDPs worldwide. She believes that countries capable of offering sanctuary to those who need it are under moral obligation to do so. At the same time, however, she understands the costs, risks, and complications often involved in resettling displaced people. She is committed to finding informed, sustainable, cooperative, well-executed, and above all compassionate solutions, not only to the current displacement crisis in the Middle East but also to the growing problem of displacement worldwide.

Courtney entered the University of California, Berkeley as a Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholar, and graduated in 2016 with high honors in political science and international relations. At Berkeley, she served as president of the Law in Practice Club, worked as a research assistant on projects in political science and sociology, and helped edit the Berkeley Undergraduate Journal. Through Berkeley’s UCDC program, she spent a semester in Washington, DC researching terrorist use of social media. Her interest in international affairs led her to complete two study abroad programs: first in international security and intelligence at the University of Cambridge, and later in international relations and global studies at the University of Geneva.  

During the last four years, she also interned with Survival International, where she had the opportunity to study tribal groups at risk of displacement, and with the International Rescue Committee, where she aided refugee resettlement in the Bay Area.  In addition, she interned at the Director’s Office of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and the Office of California Assemblymember Rob Bonta.

As a John Gardner Fellow, she hopes to work with an organization that advocates for displaced people’s rights and conducts research on the issues they face.