Ms. Cristina Castaneda is the Research and Development Director at the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade (Natlaw). Natlaw is a non-profit research and educational institution based in Tucson, Arizona. Ms. Castaneda oversees all research and legal reform projects in various areas of private international law. Her work includes technical assistance to public and private sectors to introduce legal reform and its implementation (institutional and capacity building) on civil and commercial law matters including access to credit, administration of justice, alternative dispute resolution and the cross-border enforcement of child support orders. At Natlaw and for these projects, Ms. Castaneda works with U.S. and international entities, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the U.S. Department of State and the World Bank Group. Her work experience on legal reform and implementation extends to various countries in Latin America, including Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Peru; and in addition her research work includes Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
At Natlaw, Ms. Castaneda coordinates a project for the modernization of commercial adjudication in Mexico including hands-on training to the judiciary in oral trial advocacy and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. As part of this judicial training project, Ms. Castaneda has worked on the comprehensive design of curriculum, preparation of materials and drafting of hypothetical case exercises. She has experience in customizing such programs to meet the needs of specific audiences, whether federal or state-level judiciary, legal practitioners or court administration. She is also an instructor on such training programs providing skill-based training on oral trial advocacy techniques.
Ms. Castaneda is fluent in both English and Spanish and has basic knowledge of French. She has been certified to teach translation and interpretation studies at Pima Community College (PCC). She is a member of PCC’s translation and interpretation external advisory committee that provides support on curriculum, trends and opportunities for student practice. At Natlaw she oversees translation services and supervises student interns from PCC’s translation and interpretation program. Ms. Castaneda also volunteers as a tutor for reading skills with elementary school students through Lawyers for Literacy in Tucson.
Ms. Cristina Castaneda obtained her law degree from the Universidad Dr. José Matías Delgado in El Salvador and an LL.M. in International Trade Law from the James E. Rogers College of Law at The University of Arizona. Ms. Castaneda has been a speaker on oral trial advocacy and access to credit in Colombia, Honduras and Mexico and co-authored the article Invigorating Micro and Small Businesses through Secured Commercial Credit in Latin America: The Need for Legal and Institutional Reform, (co-author with Dr. Boris Kozolchyk), 28 Ariz. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 43 (2011).