School of Law News
USD School of Law Launches New African Legal Education Partnership
USD to educate government officials from Africa to facilitate further development of justice systems on the continent
San Diego (September 14, 2011) – The University of San Diego (USD) School of Law today announced a new partnership with the Africa Justice Foundation (AJF), a global initiative with roots in the United Kingdom that supports the development of justice systems in Africa. USD is the first law school in the United States to partner with the AJF.
The law school announced the partnership with a special visit from AJF co-founder, Cherie Blair. Blair is a well-respected barrister in the United Kingdom and the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair. During her visit to USD, Blair met with faculty and students to discuss the program as well as her expertise in international law, human rights and legal advocacy.
Africa Justice Foundation chose USD School of Law based on the school’s well-known and internationally respected Master’s of Law (LLM) in Comparative Law program. USD will provide two scholarships each academic year for the partnership.
USD School of Law Dean Stephen Ferruolo said the Africa Justice Foundation's goals blend nicely with the university's own interests in social justice and global entrepreneurship.
"There was a resonance here at USD (for Blair) because at the core of her commitment to what she's doing is her Catholicism, and it's the values of social service that come within that tradition," he said. "We're really excited about working with her."
Blair, well known as a human rights advocate, co-founded the Africa Justice Foundation because she felt the rule of law can help rebuild many of its downtrodden countries. Companies are hesitant to invest in Africa because they're not sure their money is safe or if their contracts will be honored. African government officials are frustrated because without a lack of understanding in commercial contracts, they feel as though other governments are taking advantage of them.
"Democracy is on the march in Africa," Blair said. "In the past 12 months, a quarter of sub Sahara Africans have gone to the polls. It's really important that we have good laws, and that those laws are fairly enforced, so the hope and potential of Africa can indeed be realized, not just for a privileged few, but for all."
"USD's graduate programs are small enough to offer individual attention to the special needs of international students, but large enough to offer an esteemed faculty of leading legal scholars and expert practitioners as well as key centers and institutes of legal study,” says Skip Horne, director of Graduate Programs and Continuing Education at USD School of Law.
The program's first student is Mr. Fekadu Senbeta from the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice. He will begin classes in January 2012.
Funding for the program comes from a variety of sources. Students are traditionally sponsored by a mix of support from the law school they will attend, a law firm in the school’s region and the prospective student’s home country government.
About the University of San Diego School of Law
The University of San Diego School of Law is a center of academic excellence focused on preparing its students for legal practice in the new century. One of the most selective law schools in the country, the School of Law’s nationally recognized faculty create a demanding, yet welcoming environment that emphasizes individualized education. USD law school graduates go on to practice law throughout the country and abroad, forming an influential network of alumni. The USD School of Law is one of only 81 law schools in the country to have a chapter of the Order of the Coif, the most distinguished rank of American law schools. The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949. Visit the law school’s website at law.sandiego.edu for more information.
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