Written by John Baker, former CEO of NITA, during his last few months leading the NITA team.
Injustice, inequality, suppression of fundamental freedom– these are all issues confronted globally. Fortunately, NITA’s reputation for excellence in advocacy training has spread worldwide. In addition to its unprecedented value here in the US, NITA’s international programming promotes the core principles of the Rule of Law embodied by an adversarial trial system of oral advocacy in courtrooms and tribunals. In recent years, NITA and the NITA Foundation have supported the “learning by doing” training of attorneys, barristers, solicitors, solicitor advocates, magistrates, and judges from Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Mexico, Kenya, Japan, and Macedonia.
Through our relationships with the U.S. Department of Justice, USAID, Lawyers Without Borders, Justice Africa Advocacy, and other legal organizations, some of our international programs are co-sponsored with NITA and therefore require no funding from the NITA Foundation. For example, in early September six NITA faculty members and I traveled to Belfast, Northern Ireland to teach a six-day trial skills program. The program, NITA Advanced Advocacy for Solicitors, was held at the Queen’s University Belfast Institute of Professional Legal Studies for 49 solicitor advocates from Northern Ireland. The program was designed and taught cooperatively by the NITA faculty members as “American tutors” and NITA-trained local “Irish tutors,” drawn from the bench, bar, and the Law Society of Northern Ireland. NITA also continues to teach co-sponsored programs in Japan through the PSIM consortium of Japanese law schools. Mike Ginsberg and I traveled to Nagoya, Japan in early November to speak to the Consortium.
In addition to our co-sponsored NITA programs, the NITA Foundation funds international NITA programs, primarily in Africa, that are not possible without donor support. In fact, NITA has been active in enhancing the Rule of Law in developing countries in Africa, including South Africa, Kenya, and Liberia. NITA board members and faculty have been working with and providing trial skills training for the Black Lawyers Association in South Africa for more than 30 years. Over the past seven years, NITA has led delegations of judges and lawyers to Kenya, Liberia, and Uganda to provide trial skills training for prosecutors and magistrates. In all of these African countries, the effort includes teacher training for local attorneys so programs can be self-sustaining. NITA has supported these efforts by paying for travel costs for faculty and providing the programs with books and other teaching materials. In 2010, the NITA Foundation committed $50,000 to support Rule of Law efforts in developing countries with the NITA International Rule of Law and Access to Justice Programs Fund. Over the last three years, we have received a greater demand for international support and while our funds have been applied to worthy efforts they have subsequently diminished. Looking ahead, we respectfully ask for your help to continue international NITA programs for attorneys dedicated to advancing the cause of justice through Rule of Law in their countries.
Join me as a global advocate of justice and give to the NITA Foundation to ensure NITA’s ability to be a world citizen, championing change and human rights for all. Please consider making a gift by visiting www.nita.org/Donate. We appreciate every donation, whether it’s $50, $500 or $1,500. Thank you for believing in our mission and making a positive difference.