Guest Opinions

Boise welcomes legal delegation from Tajikistan

Jodi Nafzger
Jodi Nafzger

One week ago, on Election Day, we cast our ballots and heard results. Over many months leading up to the election, opinions were expressed by individuals and the media. In many respects, the United States is fortunate.

An effective rule of law reduces corruption, combats poverty and protects fundamental liberties. Idaho’s Constitution and three distinct branches of government underpin our rule of law.

One country working to enhance consistent adherence to the rule of law is Tajikistan, a rugged mountainous nation just north of Afghanistan. And, this week, a delegation of professors from Tajikistan is coming to Boise to discuss legal education, an important aspect of developing an effective rule of law.

Tajikistan confronted a number of challenges since its independence from Russia, subsequent civil war, and establishment of political stability and foreign aid. The hope is that the delegation’s visit is mutually beneficial to understanding how to develop and uphold the rule of law.

During their visit, the Tajikistan delegation will focus on a variety of topics, including transforming the adult learner into a practitioner, learning theories in the law school classroom and technology in the classroom.

A small group of members of the American Bar Association, through its Rule of Law Initiative, helps democracies develop their rule of law. Among these ABA members is Boise-based Bryan Taylor, Canyon County prosecuting attorney and adjunct professor at Concordia University School of Law, who served as a pro bono legal specialist to introduce the American experience of legal education to colleagues in Tajikistan.

“Rule of Law” is the backbone of an effective society, helping to guarantee fundamental human rights and access to justice for all. We all have a role to play in advancing the rule of law. In particular, it is a responsibility of those who have a role in the legal system. The American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative takes an international approach to help expand human rights and citizens’ access to justice in more than 50 countries around the world.

This week’s visit builds understanding, relationships and mutually beneficial experiences for future professionals, leaders and lawyers around the world, and in Boise and at Concordia University School of Law. When it comes to Concordia’s mission to prepare leaders for the transformation of society, the Tajikistan visit represents an opportunity to affect international change.

“We are thrilled to host such an important event and to create opportunities to exchange ideas with international teachers and scholars,” said Jilma Meneses, interim dean of the Concordia law school and the university’s chief operating officer. “We recognize lawyers have an important responsibility to advance the rule of law. Concordia law continues to focus its efforts on providing access to justice to persons of limited means and protecting fundamental human rights.”

Jodi Nafzger is associate professor, director of experiential learning at Concordia University School of Law in Boise.