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Law School’s Afghanistan Legal Education Project Wins State Department Grant And Looks To Expand

Publication Date: 
September 28, 2010
Source: 
The Stanford Daily

The Stanford Daily ran this story about the Afghanistan Legal Education Project (ALEP), a student-driven pilot project that is directly aiding the U.S. effort to re-establish the rule of law in Afghanistan by helping build a legal studies curriculum in conjunction with American University of Afghanistan (AUAF). By producing legal textbooks and a legal curriculum, ALEP is now helping train the next generation of lawyers and leaders in Afghanistan, who want to be part of a system that follows the rule of law and better Afghanistan’s chances for economic development, peace and security. The Daily reports:

For countries in turmoil, an aid greater than immediate help is the sustainable development of legal institutions–a mantra that a group of Stanford law students have taken to heart in expanding a foundation for rule of law in Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan Legal Education Project (ALEP) is working to provide legal education and an essential foundation for a stable and successful rule of law in Afghanistan. It is also filling a void left by other international and domestic efforts to rebuild Afghan society, work that was recently recognized by a U.S. State Department grant.

“Right now, the world is pouring billions of dollars into Afghanistan to establish institutions for the rule of law,” said Stanford Law School dean and project faculty advisor Larry Kramer. “For all of those institutions to work, they require lawyers to run them. What we were looking at [before the start of ALEP] was a system in which there would be no lawyers in 10 years.”

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The project’s success in providing Afghan society with viable solutions for the future of their infant legal system has been recognized by more than just the students and professors who use the textbooks. Most recently, the U.S. State Department awarded ALEP with a $1.3 million grant this fall to continue its work.

In addition to providing for the basic resources necessary to research, write and publish these textbooks, the grant will help fund consultation with legal experts, trips to Afghanistan to evaluate the curriculum and the positioning of a postdoctoral fellow on the ground in Afghanistan, Kramer said.

ALEP’s success has extended beyond the university classroom in Afghanistan. The textbooks have shown to be useful in educating other members of Afghan society–including military personnel and civilians working on the rule of law–about new laws and developing legal system. The project also is working on efforts to translate the books into Dari and Pashto, which will further expand the use of the textbooks throughout Afghanistan. ALEP has even inspired efforts outside Afghanistan’s borders, with similar Stanford Law School projects now being implemented in Bhutan and East Timor.