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African legal leaders visit Wayne Law

June 2, 2014

DETROIT – A delegation of lawyers, judges, legal scholars and human rights advocates from 11 sub-Saharan African nations visited Wayne State University Law School on Friday, May 23.

The travelers, part of the International Visitor Leadership Program, a professional exchange program funded by the U.S Department of State, focused their visit on deepening their understanding of the rule of law and the justice system in the United States.

At Wayne Law, the visitors heard Distinguished Professor Robert Sedler, Associate Professor Paul Dubinsky and Assistant Professor Kirsten Carlson speak on various topics. Most of the delegates were from French-speaking nations, and simultaneous translation was performed throughout the talks.

Sedler is a world-renowned expert on constitutional law, and the delegates specifically requested him as one of their speakers. Before his talk, he had looked at the constitutions of the visitors’ nations – Benin, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Togo and Zimbabwe – and was able to relate their constitutional systems to that of the United States.

“They all have Bill of Rights provisions and a strong president system,” Sedler said.

Dubinsky, an expert on international human rights law and national security law, is director of graduate studies at Wayne Law. He spoke about the various stages of legal education in the United States and told the delegates about Wayne Law’s master of laws program in U.S. law for foreign lawyers.

Carlson, an expert on American Indian law in the United States, spoke on the relationship between the federal government and tribal law, including the role of tribal courts.

The specific delegates from each nation were chosen for the visit by the American embassies in their countries and made stops in Reno, Nevada; Washington, D.C.; and Lansing before coming to Detroit.