After spending eight years working for the Paraguayan Attorney General, Maximiliano Mendieta came to Waikato University to learn how to better his country.
Max came to the University of Waikato this year to complete his Masters of Law looking at human and indigenous rights and on his return home secured a job at the Paraguayan office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Having always wanted to study abroad, a full NZAID scholarship came up in 2011 and Max chose Te Piringa – Faculty of Law because of his interest in indigenous rights. Te Piringa has a commitment to the development of a bicultural legal education in its curriculum, research interests and institutional structures.
“I had always been attracted to New Zealand because of rugby, Māori culture, the beautiful places and the fact it’s more advanced than Latin America in human rights, social justice and corruption.
“I study law because I do not like injustice, if you know these areas you can help your country to change. A lot of people in Paraguay are living in poverty. It’s crucial to make the government know education, housing, health and water are rights, and it is their responsibility to provide these.”
After returning to Paraguay, Max briefly taught criminology at the National University of Law and worked with Amnesty International to establish an antidiscrimination law through the Paraguayan House of Representatives while looking for work.
He has just heard he was successful in getting his “dream job” working for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Paraguay.
“Law is the area I have worked in my whole life, I like the public function. From this position one can help advance the problems we have in Paraguay.
“From the very beginning of my time at the university I had amazing help from my teachers and staff to help me finish my Masters.”