Professor Kirsten Dauphinais Serves as Advisor to New Law School in Uganda
Kirsten Dauphinais, Associate Professor at UND School of Law, traveled to Africa during this year's winter break to serve as an advisor by sharing her knowledge and experiences with the Bishop Stuart School of Law, a newly formed law school in Mbarara, Uganda that will be opening in the fall of 2014.
In 2007, Dauphinais was invited to attend a conference in Nairobi, Africa on the subject of best practices in legal writing and building legal writing programs. While she was there, she met George Kasozi, who was recently appointed the Dean of the Bishop Stuart School of Law. It is this connection that brought her to Uganda in November.
Dauphinais began her time in Kampala, Uganda advising Dean Kasozi, on legal writing programs and offering him resources from UND. "Dean Kasozi is an amazing man who has an inspired vision of trying to create an ethical law school that will help provide opportunity and contribute to the democratic infrastructure of Uganda, but he's doing it under incredible odds," said Dauphinais.
After her time in Kampala, she traveled to Mbarara where she spoke with stakeholders, faculty, students, administrators, the Provost and the President of the University. She gave a general lecture on good writing practices during a writing workshop hosted by Bishop Stuart University Faculty of Law. The lecture focused on general principles of how to write with organization and clarity. She also spoke on inductive and deductive reasoning and the processes that lawyers use in order to figure out how to solve a legal problem. The lecture was recorded in order for the school to play it as part of an inaugural event for their legal writing program.
She ended her time in Mbarara by speaking with the Dean and the faculty about best practices for setting up a legal writing program, specifically in developing nations with limited human and material resources. "I was consulting about some research that I had done in terms of techniques that schools in the developing world might use to still try to facilitate an effective legal writing program in the face of overwhelming lack of resources," said Dauphinais.
Her family was able to take the trip with her and they spent some time experiencing the life and culture in Uganda. Among other things, they visited schools and an orphanage for children whose parents had died from complications with the AIDS virus. They ended their trip with a five-day safari at the Queen Elizabeth National Park. While they were there, they stayed in a cottage that was intended to model a traditional dwelling with a thatched roof. They were able to see all kinds of animals including lions, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, eagles, cranes and flamingos. "It was just a magical experience."
Dauphinais is both hopeful for a return to Uganda as well as for the continued relationship between the University of North Dakota School of Law and Bishop Stuart School of Law. "One way or another, I definitely plan to continue my relationship with Bishop Stuart." She added that Bishop Stuart is very eager to have other visitors associated with UND and that Dean Kasozi would welcome any faculty, staff or student with open arms who has a desire to help Bishop Stuart set-up its law school and teach in its program. If anyone is interested, you are encouraged to contact Professor Dauphinais.
"I want to thank UND for supporting my trip and the administration couldn't have been more helpful in terms of facilitating both my travel and being able to give us some resources to the law school that is starting up."