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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Afghan Legal Professionals to Study in the U.S.


Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 1, 2009

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The Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and the Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan are sponsoring three Afghan legal professionals to complete Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees at Harvard University and Washington and Lee University this fall. Georgetown University also played a role, waiving tuition for one of the students to attend their pre-LL.M. preparatory course last summer. The three lawyers are all active members of the Afghan Independent Bar Association and are committed to continuing to serve the Government of Afghanistan and enhance the Rule of Law upon their return. An especially successful program, one of last year’s participants who studied at Whittier School of Law in California completed a judicial benchbook that will serve as a resource for Afghan judges and improve the Afghan criminal justice process system wide.

INL Assistant Secretary David T. Johnson, the Public co-Chair of the partnership, remarked that “These efforts are instrumental to our success in Afghanistan because they ensure that Afghans will have the knowledge and skills to develop and sustain the rule of law.” Assistant Secretary Johnson went further extending special thanks to partnership members Michael Fitzpatrick, Kerry Healey, and Peter Garvin for sacrificing much of their personal time and effort to ensure this unique opportunity was afforded to these students.

Robert C. O’Brien, the managing partner of Arent Fox LLP’s Los Angeles office and co-Chair of the Partnership, noted that “the LLM program allows Afghan lawyers to obtain master of laws degrees from America’s finest law schools. We expect that these lawyers will, in turn, use their training to advance the rule of law in Afghanistan through teaching and government service in their homeland.”

Launched in December 2007, the Partnership is an opportunity for America's legal community to support rule-of-law development in Afghanistan. The Partnership allows law firms and law schools to demonstrate their commitment to improving the justice system in Afghanistan. Since it’s inception, the Partnership has raised over $1 million in cash and in-kind contributions; sponsored multiple training opportunities in the United States for Afghan legal professionals; established a 501(c) 3, Friends of the Public Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan; and obtained a provisional agreement with Lexis-Nexis to provide English and Dari versions of all relevant Afghan legal texts free of charge to all Afghan legal professionals.

More information about the Public-Private Partnership is available at the State Department website at http://www.state.gov/j/inl/partnership/index.htm.



PRN: 2009/989



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