Africa Public Interest Law & Dispute Resolution Project

Student Officers:

President: Shavaugn Lewis

The Africa Public Interest Law & Conflict Resolution Initiative is a student and faculty project developed in 2002, coordinated by Professor Karen Tokarz, Director, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Program, to advance human rights, conflict resolution, and access to justice in Africa; to foster study, research, and professional experiences in Africa for Washington University Law students and faculty; and to offer educational programs on Africa at the School of Law. [view brochure]

Since summer 2002, over 120 Washington University Law students have worked or studied in Africa with assistance from Professor Tokarz. Students have interned for ten weeks in the summer for legal aid and public interest law organizations, and courts and tribunals in Africa. In their placements, students engage in client interviewing and counseling, community education, negotiation and dispute resolution, human rights research and policy reporting, prison visits, trial preparation, and/or appellate brief writing. Professors Tokarz, Sadat, and Peil also assist students interested in interning in other countries.

Recent field placements include:

  • Legal Aid Board in Durban, South Africa, which provides legal assistance on civil and criminal matters to indigent individuals in South Africa.
  • Lawyers for Human Rights in Durban, South Africa, which provides legal services and policy research for refugees and immigrants.
  • Legal Resource Centre in Accra, Ghana, which works with communities to ensure human rights, social progress, and economic development, especially in the areas of civil liberties, health, employment, education, and housing.
  • United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, which was established for the prosecution of persons responsible for genocide and other violations of the international humanitarian law committee in Rwanda.

The Career Services Office and the Office of International Programs provide support for students working and studying abroad. The Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute’s Dagen-Legomsky Fellowship program also supports students who work and study abroad. In the summer of 2011, recipients of this fellowship worked with The Netherlands School of Human Rights Research and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. In the summer of 2010, recipients of this fellowship worked with the Office of Defense of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and the European Council on Refugees and Asylees in Brussels. In the summer of 2009, recipients of this Fellowship worked with the Church of Northern India in Nagpur, a non-profit dedicated to the prevention and punishment of human trafficking and the advancement of human rights, and with the Mekong Region Law Center in Bangkok, Thailand on human trafficking issues.

For more information on The Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute, click here.