Meet the LL.M. Class: Shaghek Manjikian of Armenia
Shaghek Manjikian came to Minnesota Law from Yerevan, Armenia, as a Fulbright scholar to obtain her LL.M. with a Business Law Concentration. Originally from Syria, she lived through the civil war there and has published stories on her experiences. Manjikian is hoping to use the knowledge and experience she gains in the LL.M. program to advance alternative dispute resolution in Armenia.
You are a Fulbright Scholar. Can you briefly describe that experience?
The Fulbright Scholarship’s selection in Armenia is very competitive. I’m so honored to be part of the Fulbright community. It is a long process starting with the application, interviews, exams.. etc. It is a long process that requires lots of patience. However, having the opportunity to gain a degree from one of the best universities and having the honor of being part of the Fulbright Program is worth it.
You have published extensively on the civil war in Syria. Why that topic, and how, if at all, does it connect with your decision to pursue an LL.M.?
I am a Syrian-Armenian. I lived in Syria for several years during the war and later I moved to Armenia. My published stories were related to incidents I’ve witnessed or been through during the war. It hurt me to see the atrocity of war. We became mere numbers and our lives didn't have value. My goal was to become the voice of the people there and to spotlight their struggles.
What are a few opportunities and challenges of being a lawyer in Armenia?
In the United States people have a very high level of respect and trust towards the judicial system. This is not the case in Armenia. I hope we will be able to restore the public trust in our judicial system and improve the quality of justice.
What is your professional goal in enrolling in an LL.M. Program?
I would like to use my experiences and knowledge to contribute toward the development of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in Armenia. The knowledge and skills I will gain here would be helpful to achieve my goal. Also, It is essential for me to be able to share and transfer the knowledge I will gain here with students in Armenia.
Why did you select Minnesota Law as the place to get you LL.M.?
This is my second master’s degree. I got the first one from the American University of Armenia, which was a life changing experience for me. However, we didn’t have specialized programs there. Minnesota Law offers specialized programs and practical experiences through clinics, moots, and some practical programs at the court.
Minnesota Law is a place known for putting an emphasis on leadership. What does leadership mean to you?
The ability to lead people by example, to be able to motivate them, build trust and respect, to empower people so they can go beyond their limits and they can achieve their fullest potential which in turn helps us to create a better society and stronger communities.
Do you have any hobbies or interests?
I like reading, writing articles and traveling. I also like to hike and the nature in Armenia is very suitable for people who like hiking.
How do you plan to spend your free time in Minnesota/ the United States?
I look forward to exploring different cities in different states, and to having the opportunity to meet different people. For me, the Fulbright experience is not only about the degree. It gives me the opportunity to discover the great culture that the United States has. I would also like to spend time outdoors, sight seeing and going on hikes.
What three words best describe you?
Fighter, hard working, wanderlust.
What are you most looking forward to in your time at Minnesota Law?
I am looking forward to gaining an eclectic amount of knowledge and experience from Minnesota, not only knowledge from the University but also experience from daily life here in the United States. Also this is the best chance for me to share information about Armenia for my peers and colleagues here in Minnesota.