Academic journal article Proceedings of the Annual Meeting-American Society of International Law

Legal Education Initiatives in Africa

Academic journal article Proceedings of the Annual Meeting-American Society of International Law

Legal Education Initiatives in Africa

Article excerpt

This panel was convened at 10:45 a.m., Saturday, April 12, by its moderator, Penelope Andrews of CUNY School of Law, who introduced the panelists: Bernard Freamon of Seton Hall University School of Law; Patrick Kelly of Widener University School of Law; and Ziyad Motala of Howard University School of Law.

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS BY PENELOPE ANDREWS *

Our three speakers today have been integrally involved in international programs and they have some very thoughtful and interesting perspectives. Before I introduce them, I would like to introduce Professor Adrien Wing from the University of Iowa who put this panel together. She wanted to say a few words before we start.

* Professor of Law, CUNY School of Law.

REMARKS BY ADRIEN WING ([dagger])

I would also like to welcome everyone. I am very pleased that we were able to offer two panels this year on Africa this one and another on Sudan. I also want to make you all aware that we have an initiative through the Society and through the Africa interest group. We will soon be having an historic first conference between the ASIL and the Egyptian Society for International Law. It will take place on June 18th and 19th in Cairo and will bring together lawyers, law professors and students from both countries. We hope to involve people from Africa and the Middle East next year. Thank you.

[(dagger)] Bessie Dutton Murray Professor, University of Iowa College of Law.

PENELOPE ANDREWS

Professor Patrick Kelly teaches at Widener Law School. He directs the Kenya program of Widener Law School and is an international scholar. Next to him is Professor Ziyad Motala who is a fellow South African and who has been running the Howard Law School program in South Africa for several years. On my left, we have Professor Bernard Freamon who teaches at Seton Hall Law School. He runs the Seton Hall programs in Cairo and Zanzibar and is a scholar on law and Islam. Each of them will speak for fifteen minutes and then we will have a conversation with the rest of you.

REMARKS BY PATRICK KELLY ([double dagger])

Legal education partnerships in Africa inevitably combine two interrelated aspects of a deeper form of education: the practicalities and cultural benefits of living and studying in a foreign country and the political tensions and aspirations embedded in that society. In this brief time I want to first discuss the special rewards and practicalities of a summer program in Africa, and then use this occasion to provide a richer, more complex picture of the recent political struggle and ethnic conflict after the December 2007 presidential election in Kenya that I hope is part of the transition to a better democracy.

[(double dagger)] Professor of Law, Widener University School of Law.

I. LEGAL EDUCATION PARTNERSHIPS IN AFRICA

Turning first to educational programs, Africa is an immense, diverse continent full of unique opportunities for intellectual and personal growth. Those who have traveled down this path know that Africa is misnamed as the Dark Continent. It is the Bright Continent--bright with the infectious smiles and great hospitality of the African people. There is much to learn from their culture, friendship, vitality and devotion to family. This immense continent is also home to grinding poverty, harsh conditions, the scars of colonialism, and corrupt, repressive regimes.

In Africa, legal education is inevitably intertwined with the politics of the country. The law schools educate and develop future leaders and politicians. They are also a major source of intellectual ferment and political reform. Historically, the chancellor of the University of Nairobi has been the president of the country. While this has changed, the government retains considerable control over university administration and its policies. Important aspects of administration such as admissions and promotions may reflect any struggle for power within the country and on occasion its ethnic tensions. …

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