Grant furthers development of Afghan Legal Education Project

Stanford Law School logoStanford Law School’s Afghanistan Legal Education Project (ALEP) was recently awarded a $3 million U.S. State Department grant through the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL/State) to support Stanford and the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) in further developing the integrated bachelor of arts and bachelor of laws (BA-LLB) degree program at AUAF’s campus in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The program trains Afghan students to become professional lawyers who can provide legal representation services, enforce the nation’s new constitution, stabilize the rule of law and become legal educators. ALEP was launched as a student initiative in 2007. Since then, Stanford Law School student participants have helped develop textbooks, design courses, mentor AUAF students in international moot court competitions and build support for the program through symposia and campus events.

The law degree-granting program is the most ambitious of a long series of efforts to fortify legal education in Afghanistan by Stanford Law School through ALEP. Since 2010, INL/State has supported ALEP and its efforts to build a center of excellence in legal education at AUAF, where about 50 percent of the law students are women.

The program uses textbooks written by Stanford Law School students. The textbooks are vetted with Stanford faculty, AUAF law faculty and other experts in Afghanistan. The curriculum emphasizes practical skills, professional responsibility and instruction in criminal, commercial, comparative, Islamic and international law.

ALEP’s first initiative involved partnering with American University of Afghanistan to produce a legal textbook of secular laws, setting them out in systematic order and providing insight into the ways in which they interact with Islamic and customary laws.

“ALEP is widely viewed as one of the best rule-of-law projects in Afghanistan,” said ERIK JENSEN, professor of the practice of law, director of the Rule of Law Program and faculty adviser for ALEP since its inception. “So many have contributed to the success of this project both here and in Afghanistan. I’m gratified by the commitment of our students to the project and the quality of their work. On the Afghanistan side, I’m impressed by commitment and quality, but also by the tremendous resilience and courage of the law faculty and students at the AUAF.”

“This program has proven itself invaluable to those working to rebuild Afghan institutions,” said Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean of Stanford Law School M. ELIZABETH MAGILL.“Our students and faculty have shown their commitment to this exciting program year after year, gaining meaningful experience and learning from peers in Afghanistan in the process.”

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