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IU law school program in Egypt halted due to protests

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News about protests and unrest in Egypt changed daily, sometimes hourly. Although former President Hosni Mubarak stepped down Feb. 11 and the military has taken power and conceded to many of the protestors’ demands, it has left many wondering what this means for the people in Egypt. Collateral damage of the public revolt has included the temporary closure of an Indiana University law school program in that city.

A group of 63 students started classes Jan. 9 at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis’ program at Cairo University’s Faculty of Law. When the protests started Jan. 25, it was the last week of the first block of classes. Tahrir Square, the main site for protestors, is about a mile from the university.
 

lionegypt-15col This lion statue on the October 6 bridge in Cairo was a site of protests. (Photo submitted)

This is the only program of its kind in Egypt that involves an American university teaching courses that result in the Egyptian students receiving the same master of laws degree as students who attend courses at the school’s American campus. Groups averaging 65 students have entered the program each January since 2008.

The program, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development and has received funding for the 2011 cohort of students, was initially started to help the country’s economy by training business lawyers.

While many of the students have had a connection to or interest in practicing business law, a large number of them also enrolled due to their interest in rule of law issues. Students have included judges in Egypt’s court that is equivalent to the U.S. federal Circuit courts.

“They don’t want to do it to help their government, they want to do it to help their country,” said Frank Emmert, executive director of the law school’s Center for International and Comparative Law and director of the Egypt program.

Most students work during the day and take the courses at night. Students complete a year of evening courses, starting in January every year, then spend about six months working on a thesis project before they graduate in the summer.

Because courses for the program are taught in blocks, Emmert said those involved with the program have decided to wait and evaluate on a weekly basis how things are going to determine when the next block of classes will start.

Emmert said he was also unsure how the blocks would actually be scheduled going forward and if the program would still conclude on time. While there is a specific schedule for the blocks, he said the program directors have to be considerate of the professors’ who are scheduled to teach as well. So far, he said the professors who are signed up still want to teach in Cairo, but state-imposed evening curfews in Egypt start while the program’s evening courses have been taking place.

As the protests were starting, Emmert said most students wanted to keep going. They finished the first block of classes and are now working on their finals. Emmert said they received an extension because the Internet was shut down for a week, making research difficult.

Emmert planned to leave Jan. 27, two days after the protests began, actually flew out the next day, and arrived home in Indianapolis on Jan. 28.

Swadesh S. Kalsi, a retired attorney who practiced at Krieg DeVault and was scheduled to teach a course in Egypt starting Jan. 31, safely left Cairo shortly after Emmert.

While there were no other American professors from the program in Egypt at the time Emmert and Kalsi left, Emmert said he and others involved were concerned for their Egyptian colleagues. They have been able to keep in contact via phone and e-mail, and while the Internet and some cell towers were shut down, they were able to contact each other on their landlines.

Emmert’s wife, Salma Taman, an Egyptian and 2009 graduate of the program, has also kept in close contact with her family in Alexandria, Egypt.

“What I’m sure of is this is a revolution by the Egyptian people,” she said. “It’s not political and it’s not religious. The people have been exposed to the rule of law and the freedoms and the good things they never heard of before. In the past they couldn’t compare their system to anything else because they weren’t exposed to these values and principles. Now that they are getting their education abroad and getting on the Internet, they know more. It was inevitable they would stand up for their rights.”

Emmert added there has been a tension there, which was heightened by the recent uprising in nearby Tunisia. The unrest in Egypt had been building, Emmert said, partially due to the economy and difficulties faced by the middle class.

He said that those who started the protests in Egypt have come forward and are mostly professionals – doctors, lawyers, businesspeople – and other educated middle-class members of society.

Jacob Manaloor, associate director for contracts, grants, and fundraising at the law school, has been to Egypt four times and was there most recently Jan. 6 to 20. He said while people weren’t exactly happy with their economy, they also wouldn’t come right out and say anything openly against their government.

He said there was frustration because, like in America, people in Egypt want a better life for their children. But they were also noticing that that might not happen if the current situation continued.

The program has helped create better opportunities for the students, he said, and even the program directors connected to the IU program in Cairo. Several students were already employed when they entered the program, some as judges or working for businesses including oil and gas companies in the Middle East, but the degree has helped them advance in their previous jobs.

Emmert, Taman, Manaloor, and Terri Cuellar, another school administrator who was in Cairo shortly before the protests began, expressed concern for the people involved in the uprising. For their students’ safety, none of the teachers or administrators would say if any of the program’s students or alumni were directly involved, but they would say it’s a possibility.

“Seeing how the Egyptian people are oppressed by their government and how unbalanced the economy is there, I hope that they will accomplish a true democratic government,” Cuellar said. “I’m not sure that will be done easily or as we think of what a democratic government is just because of the cultural differences, but to have the freedom to say what they feel and not be afraid for their lives would be a great thing. Democracy will not come to them without a great deal of cultural adjustment. The flavor of democracy that they will experience over time will not be the same as we experience.”

She added that there are many sides her friends and colleagues have been taking, “from strongly pro-Mubarak, to just wanting to get back to a stable day-to-day life, to pro-revolution,” she said.

While they were assessing the situation to decide when they can restart the program, as of Feb. 14 Emmert said he is concerned that because the economy has crashed in Egypt, private law firms and companies that have expressed interest to fund the program may no longer be able to do so. Another cause for concern is that U.S. AID funds the program, and that support would also be affected if the U.S. government decides to shut off funding to Egypt. He said the program was still looking for other funding sources, including American law firms and companies that have an interest.•

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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