Panel on "The Role of Law Schools in the Promotion of Human Rights and Legal and Curricular Reform Abroad."

Saturday morning I attended a session sponsored by the Committee on International Cooperation Program entitled, “The Role of Law Schools in the Promotion of Human Rights and Legal and Curricular Reform Abroad.”  I have to say that one of the striking things about the panelists was that they were all guys.  There were no women who could address this topic?  It made me wonder.  Some of the other audience members noticed the lack of diversity on that panel, too.  Nevertheless, I did stay for the entire session which ended at noon.  The panelists shared some very interesting stories.  They talked about the role of law schools in the promoting of values of human dignity in the international context as well as the role of U.S. law schools in participating in international efforts to promote curricular reform and provide assistance to improve the legal system abroad.

The first panel was “Should Law Schools Have a Role in Developing Fundamental Rights and Democratic Values?”  The panelists were Douglass W. Cassel, Notre Dame Law School; Michelo Hansungule, University of Pretoria, Faculty of Law, South Africa; Jennifer P. Lyman, American University; Nicolás Espejo Yaksic, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile; and the moderator was Claudio Grossman, American University.  This panel addressed whether law schools had a role in the international context in promoting fundamental values of human dignity.  Some of the issues included activism and direct participation in policy debates; the promotion of human rights and democracy and the North-South tension, litigation and the promotion of grassroots efforts, and the role of NGOs and governments; and the role of experiential learning, doctrine and theoretical studies.

The second panel was “Promoting Reform Abroad: Curriculum and Legislative Reform.”  The panelists were Vincent Paul Cardi, West Virginia University; Peter G. Danchin, University of Maryland; Steven I. Friedland, Nova Southeastern University; Kenneth Stuart Gallant, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; Janet C. Hoeffel, Tulane University; John C. Knechtle, Florida Coastal School of Law; Elliott S. Milstein, American University; Clive Walker, University of Leeds Department of Law, Leeds, United Kingdom; Paul J. Zwier, II, Emory University; and the moderator was Russell L. Weaver, University of Louisville.  This panel sought to identify current issues in faculty involvement in reform abroad, including curriculum and legislative reform, in a world adjusting to the U.S., the Iraq War, emerging national identities, consultant fatigue, and constrained resources.  The panel gathered faculty who had been involved in initiatives of this nature to share their experiences, identify best practices and provide guidance as to what to expect in the future.

Dean Nance and Dean Green

Dean Nance and Dean Green

After that session, it was time to get checked out of the hotel and prepare to return to Fayetteville.  I gave Mike a call and he was (as it turned out) on the same flight.  That often happens when we go to conferences because he flies to Dallas and many times my connection is through Dallas, so he went and got his stuff too.  We checked out and walked to Dick’s Last Resort for lunch.  Apparently, this is a chain restaurant.  I had never been there before, but the theme of the restaurant is that you walk in and the waiters abuse you.  Now, as you might imagine, this was great fun for two law professors who dished out as well as we got.  I had fried shrimp with french fries, cole slaw and a cold beer.  Mike had bourbon salmon and a few shrimp on the side.  Afterwards we walked back to the hotel and hopped into a cab bound for the airport.  We had a very pleasant flight to Dallas in which everyone assumed we were husband and wife.  It was pretty funny.  That happens all the time when we travel together.  We got to Dallas and I gave him a big hug and hopped off the little air train, and Mike left to get his car and I made my uneventful connecting flight back to Fayetteville.  It had been quite a whirlwind, but a very good conference and a safe and good flight.