Ohio Northern University has announced the formation of the Center for Democratic Governance and Rule of Law, which will focus on international development in the rule of law sector.
The newly formed institution will not only promote dialogue and scholarship in this vital field, but also participate directly in on-the-ground rule of law promotion efforts in developing post-conflict and post-communist nations.
“We see the new center as a natural outgrowth of the work we are already doing educating the next generation of leaders in these countries,” said Howard Fenton, the director of the LL.M. program at ONU, who has been engaged in rule of law projects in Kosovo, Ukraine, Georgia, and other former Soviet Republics. “With the establishment of this center, we can host visiting scholars, sponsor forums and speakers, fundraise, and even compete for contracts to do rule of law projects ourselves.
David Pimentel, visiting associate professor at ONU, will oversee the new center as the director. Prior to joining ONU’s faculty, Pimentel led judicial reform projects in the Balkans and headed rule of law in Southern Sudan for the U.N. mission there.
“The opportunity to perform real work in the real world brings a vitality to the scholarly work we’re doing at ONU,” Pimentel said. “It creates opportunities for current students and alumni to work, alongside their more experienced professors, in designing and implementing rule of law promotion projects.”
ONU has already garnered a successful bid for an indefinite-quantity contract to do small-scale rule of law projects for the United States Agency for International Development around the world.
With the ability to procure rule of law work, the center hopes to fund its efforts through these opportunities. Building the program involved recruiting faculty who bring expertise and experience in the field of rule of law promotion and transitional justice. At the same time, the program’s graduates around the world form a formidable network of contacts and change-agents in transitional societies.
ONU President Daniel DiBiasio said, “ONU is now in a position to leverage that capacity and make a much greater contribution not only to the developing scholarship, but also on the ground, where these principles are building stronger and more responsive societies.”
Ohio Northern University’s quality, student-centered education distinctively combines nationally ranked sciences, arts and professional programs for more than 3,600 students in its five colleges: Arts & Sciences, Business Administration, Engineering, Pharmacy and Law.