Ukrainian Lawyer, Hanna Tereshko, Honored with Outstanding Animal Law LLM Graduate Award
This merit award is given annually in memory of Florence Kaufelt, a lifelong friend of animals, to a graduate of our Animal Law LLM Program.
Hanna Tereshko (’23, Ukraine) is the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Animal Law LLM Graduate Award. Hanna began her studies in our online advanced degree program during the Fall of 2021, receiving our International Advocates Animal Law LLM Scholarship. She pursued studying with CALS to improve her expertise in international animal law and farmed animal protection and to enhance her knowledge regarding her primary area of interest: working toward legal personhood for nonhuman animals.
Only a few months after beginning our program, Hanna was forced to flee her home in Kyiv when Russia invaded Ukraine. Despite these harrowing circumstances, Hanna did not give up on her dream of obtaining her Animal Law LLM degree. Her remarkable dedication to her studies while living in a country newly at war was featured in an April 2022 article in Lewis & Clark’s student-run newspaper where she shared: “In the current situation, my plan can be changed at any minute and it depends not on my will, but it depends on the situation in the country. But currently, I’m studying remotely and I continue my studies, so I really hope that I will be able to continue a degree.”
Not only did Hanna complete her studies, she also graduated with honors in January 2023. During her studies she also focused on developing academic scholarship about the need for international law to recognize the interests of animals impacted by war and volunteered helping animals on the ground in Ukraine. She says the outpouring of support from her online classmates and faculty served as motivation to persevere and fulfill her dream of studying animal law.
Hanna received multiple nominations from our professors for this award as they shared why she was deserving of the honor, writing:
- “Hanna has faced much adversity due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine; still, in the face of this crisis, she not only kept up with her studies in the program…but also engaged in on-the-ground-activism– a feat certainly.”
- “Hanna is a shining example of how one person can make a difference, even when faced with overwhelming challenges. She was extremely dedicated, professional, and produced high-quality work in my course, all while facing the invasion of her country and then living in a country at war throughout her online studies.”
Before studying at CALS, Hanna graduated from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, which is one of the most reputable universities in Ukraine. She became interested in animal protection during her third year of law school. This interest expanded when she provided pro bono legal service to animal protection volunteers. After meeting with representatives of the Polish animal protection movement, she established NGO Open Cages Ukraine, which is part of the Open Wing Alliance. Open Cages Ukraine is focused on increasing protection for farmed animals and promoting vegan diets among Ukrainians. Hanna has served as a CEO of Open Cages Ukraine, and she arranged Ukraine’s first farmed animal law conference, For Animals, in 2018.
Hanna has not slowed down since receiving her LLM in January. She is continuing her passionate work for animals, including: serving as the director of a new farmed animals protection non-governmental organization, aiding an animal ambulance project to help animals in need of urgent medical assistance (mostly animals in de-occupied territories), and serving as CEO for a project focused on the evacuation of animals from territories where active combat actions are taking place.
Regarding receiving this honor, Hanna shares: “I feel very blessed and honored to be in the CALS community and to be chosen as a recipient of such an award, which will help me to continue my work. It was a huge surprise to me to be chosen, which brings a lot of new opportunities for me in my work in Ukraine. Great need for animal protection is one of the reasons I decided to stay in the country during the full-scale war. Combat actions, economic destruction and panic made the situation with animal protection more difficult than usual, the needs are enormous. Thank you again for this kind gesture.”
The Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) was founded in 2008 with a mission to educate the next generation of animal law advocates and advance animal protection through the law. With vision and bold risk-taking, CALS has since developed into a world-renowned animal law epicenter. CALS’ Alumni-in-Action from over 20 countries are making a difference for animals around the world. CALS is a nonprofit organization funded through donations and grants.