“In middle school, I had an ambitious social studies teacher who involved her students in world events,” says Ben Forsgren. “She introduced us to the genocidal activities that were occurring in Sudan. It shocked me––I had never heard of anything like that before, and I wanted to help.” Forsgren went on to establish a local chapter of the Genocide Intervention Network. “It gave me a sense of purpose to work on something that could help others,” he says.
Forsgren continued to pursue activism as an undergraduate at BYU, serving in leadership with BYU’s Anti-Human-Trafficking Club. He says, “I discovered that any good work that we did involved attorneys. Real differences are made through the law.”
At BYU Law, Forsgren has had “formative and eye-opening” practical experiences with many of the areas of the law he is passionate about, including national security and international relations. He was an intern with the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary during the height of the border crisis and recalls on one occasion coming face-to-face with a sobering reality during a partisan impasse. “One of the senior senators held up a copy of the committee rules and tore it in half to make his point––that the committee was broken and that the rules were being ignored,” Forsgren recalls. “It was hard for me to realize that sometimes solutions don’t happen in time.” Despite this, he came away with a sense of hope. “There were times when the process did work. I saw integrity and functionality,” he says. Though these experiences were at times “hard to reconcile,” they gave Forsgren “a more enlightened view of the law and the world.”
After graduation, Forsgren will clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. “I care intensely about national security, and I also care about due process and the rule of law,” he says. “How do we pursue effective security while at the same time maintaining America’s moral leadership, making sure that we don’t lose ourselves as we seek to protect ourselves? Those are the kinds of legal issues I would love to work on in the future.”