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Joseph Makhandal Champagne is currently an Ambassador of Peace from the Universal Peace Federation. As part of his peace making attempts, in April of 2015, he traveled to Dominican Republic to help resolve the ongoing crisis over the Dominican Republic plan to deport tens of thousands of Haitians. He is a former Mayor of the Borough of South Toms River, New Jersey and a community organizer. Mr. Champagne holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Columbia University. After graduation, he attended Law Center’s Charles Hamilton Houston Pre-law Institute program at Georgetown University, where he won the Best Respondent Advocate award (Class of 1999). Mayor Champagne earned his Juris Doctor degree from Vermont Law School (VLS). While at VLS, he founded the Vermont Law Student Leadership Collective for Human Rights. As an exchange student, Mayor Champagne also studied European Union Law at the University of Trento, School of Law, in Trento, Italy.
Mr. Champagne served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Wendell E. Daniels, J.S.C., Superior Court of New Jersey, Ocean Vicinage. Mr. Champagne practices law in New Jersey and focuses primarily on immigration, criminal and civil law. He is a member of the Ocean County Bar Association. He is admitted to practice in the New Jersey Supreme Court, the United States District Court, the Third and Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States of America. In addition to State and Municipal courts throughout New Jersey, he appears regularly in Federal courts. In the past, he served as an assistant to the Public Policy Counsel and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C.
Presently, Mr. Champagne serves on several advisory committees including Alternative Dispute Resolution, Law Day, and Minority Concerns. He is a board member of Ocean Community Economic Action Now, (O.C.E.A.N., Inc.), the Global Syndicate, and the Haitian-American Leadership Council. He was appointed by Assignment Judge Lawrence M. Lawson to the Superior Court Monmouth Vicinage Advisory Committee on Minority Concerns. He serves on the Subcommittee on Minority Access to Justice. Mr. Champagne is a member of the Advisory Board UNESCO Center for Global Education in Nigeria and is the co-chair of an orphanage organization called Why Do I Exist? Above all, he is a family man and human rights advocate.