Twelve countries participated in the 2nd Asia Regional Clinical Legal Education (CLE) Summer School held by Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia Community Legal Education Initiative (BABSEACLE), 9-18 June, 2016, in the Chiang Mai Hill 2000 hotel. As the head of the Legal Community Teaching Centre, at the Faculty of Law and Political Science (FLPS), of the National University of Lao, I was proud to have participated in this program, and was quite excited to learn about the diversity of cultures in Asia.
The first day of the program started, in the afternoon, due to the late arrival of some participants. However, I was very happy to engage in a stimulating discussion, with other participants, especially co-directors Wendy and Bruce and their Thai BABSEACLE team, with which I had been working, for the past number of years.
That first day, I learnt to greet participants, in various languages, to entertain them and to make them comfortable, in order that they can get to know each other better. Another interesting session was about effective CLE tools, including reflective journals. One of the most challenging things was how to present and share information about CLE, in Laos, as I was not familiarized with the functions of our program. It felt a bit confusing, when speaking English, in front of lots of people, because this was the first time that I presented in English.
Darren, Lisa and Stephan, CLE professionals from the United Kingdom, the United States and Bhutan, respectively, taught me about supervision and mentoring. They were all experts, with much experience, and never gave us the answers, directly,but rather proposed ideas, in order to challenge us to think.
I learnt how to be open minded, when given feedback, as good professionals should present ideas in a suitable way, which is very important. How to supervise and mentor CLE program development and to, set up a plan and policy for the Clinic, was very difficult and challenging, because I was compelled to come up with ideas. The final challenge was how to make the functioning of the Southeast Asia Clinical Legal Education Association CLE program, which has been operating, in 10 countries, more effective.
I sincerely thank the FLPS Institute for Legal Support and Technical Assistance (ILSTA) and BABSEACLE for their support.
By Sengaloun XAPHAKDY
Head of Legal Community Teaching Sector
Clinical Legal Education Centre
Faculty of Law and Political Science
National University of Lao