Akhila Kolisetty is a 2015 Open Society Presidential Fellow.
Kolisetty graduated with a JD from Harvard Law School in May 2015, where she focused on gender and legal empowerment. She received a BA in economics and political science from Northwestern University in 2010. Prior to law school, Kolisetty was a technical advisor, providing fundraising support to Justice for All, a legal aid organization in Afghanistan. At Harvard, she was involved with the Harvard International Human Rights Clinic, conducting research and preparing advocacy materials on citizenship rights in Palestine and Israel, and helping launch a new initiative to develop a set of community-based principles in the business and human rights field. She was also the online and technical editor of Harvard Human Rights Journal, and represented survivors of domestic violence through the Family and Domestic Violence Law Clinic.
Previously, Kolisetty has held legal internships at the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch; the family law unit of the New York Legal Assistance Group; the Institute for Rural Research and Development in Gurgaon, India; and Timap for Justice in Sierra Leone. In 2014, she was Namati Project leader at Harvard’s Law and International Development Society, overseeing a team of students in developing an advocacy toolkit for community paralegals around the issue of access to justice. Kolisetty has also been a research intern at BRAC in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and at the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. In 2014, she published “Examining the Effectiveness of Legal Empowerment as a Pathway out of Poverty: A Case Study of BRAC” in the World Bank’s Justice and Development Working Paper Series.