The Global Clinical Movement and Spanish Hospitality in July 2011
By Bruce A. Lasky, Co-Founder/Director, Southeast Asia
From July 11-15, 2011, the Global Alliance for Justice Education (GAJE) and the International Journal of Clinical Legal Education held their 6th Worldwide and 9th International Clinical Legal Education Conference. The joint Conference was hosted by the Institute of Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Valencia. Other local partners included the Legal Clinic at the University of Valencia; the Human Rights Institute Bartolomé de las Casas at University Carlos III in Madrid, the Legal Clinic “Dret al Dret” at the University of Barcelona, and CEDAT (Centre d’Estudis de DretAmbiental de Tarragona) at the University Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona.
The GAJE conference offered the opportunity for law teachers, law students, legal practitioners, jurists and social activists to acquire new ideas, models, and skills for the use of education to promote social justice. In a range of plenary, small-group, and workshop sessions, approximately 300 delegates from more than 40 countries explored Justice Education as a concept for presenting, discussing, and creating innovative ideas for promoting social justice through new and existing university legal clinics. In addition to workshops and presentations, there were also site visits to local justice education projects.
“I really felt that we personally, and our organization as a whole, had really grown up as I looked around at the amazing people we were partnered with. It was such an honor and experience just to be in the room with all of them at the same time, let alone train alongside them.” — Bruce Lasky
BABSEACLE’s Major Role at the Joint Conference
BABSEACLE played a pivotal role in organizing the event, with BABSEACLE Co-Director, Bruce Lasky being on the GAJE Steering Committee which helped to plan the Conference, as well as joining other BABSEACLE team members
assisting as program organizers.
BABSEACLE team members, volunteers and partners from India, USA, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, United Kingdom, Ireland, China, Cambodia and Indonesia came from around the globe to attend the Conference.
In addition to running around from early morning to late evening, trying to make sure the program ran smoothly and working with an incredible local organizing committee, BABSEACLE team members participated in and presented on five social justice legal education panels, illustrating the work they have been involved in. These included: The Use of Virtual Law Programs to Support Access to Justice Education Initiatives; A Study and Demonstration of Cross-Border CLE Collaborative Initiatives, the BABSEACLE Experience; A Comparison of the Clinical Experience in Viet Nam and Nigeria: Lessons Learned and Applied Legal Research; Clinical Legal Associations; Building Local Capacity to Protect Public Health and Promote Social Justice Through Online Peer Education.
Virtual and Real
BABSEACLE did not confine its presentations to mere physical presence: during the The Use of Virtual Law Programs to Support Access to Justice Education Initiatives presentation, we video-skyped in Tina Cockburn from Queensland University of Technology to present on our joint online clinical program with her university. Simon Rice from Australia National University, with whom we have a similar program, presented with us in person.
Street Law Highlights
BABSEACLE Directors Bruce Lasky and Wendy Morrish also worked as co-trainers with a seasoned team of international CLE Street Law Trainers from the USA, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Spain to deliver a full day Street Law training workshop to more than 20 participants from around the world. We had the honor and privilege of working alongside the legendary Street Law “gurus” Ed O’Brien, Rick Roe, David McQuoid-Mason and Richard Grimes.
Prior to the Valencia conference, GAJE had organized five international conferences in India (1999), South Africa (2001), Poland (2004), Argentina (2006), and the Philippines (2008). To review reports from prior GAJE conferences, click here.
The full program for the Valencia Conference and a list of all speakers, with links to session abstracts and short biographies of the speakers, can be accessed in the “6th Conference Details” on the website linked above.
IJCLE is part of the School of Law at Northumbria University in England. The annual IJCLE conferences serve as unique forum in which clinical educators from all jurisdictions can come together to discuss all aspects of clinical teaching and learning, to learn from one another and to share best practice. More information is available at: www.ijcle.com
GAJE Conference Themes
Conference sessions were organized in streams, some of which followed the GAJE theme (“Combating Social Injustice through Justice Education”) and others the IJCLE theme (“Life, the Universe and Clinic: What questions does Clinic answer?”). The main streams under the GAJE theme were:
Legal Clinics and Human Mobility
This stream focused on the practical and social justice aspects of migration and the role of legal clinics in destination countries for promoting rights of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.
Legal Clinics and Socio-Economic Rights This stream focused on ways in which legal clinics can promote social and economic rights, such as the right to education, health, social welfare, etc.
Legal Clinics and Environmental Justice This stream focused on social justice and environmental rights and the role of legal clinics in promoting environmental justice.
Justice Education and Academic Institutions
This stream focused on the challenges of implementing Justice Education in traditional academic institutions (universities, research institutes, etc.), including curriculum reform, clinical scholarship, social action agendas, and innovation in clinical teaching methods.
Justice Education Initiatives
This stream encompassed all new initiatives that focus on forming the new generation of lawyers for social justice, including developing professional ethics, standards for working with vulnerable populations, street law programs, community legal education, etc.
Global Alliance for Justice Education
Achieving JUSTICE through EDUCATION