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Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, May 2018: Bahir Dar University School of Law has launched a PhD program in Law making it the second law school to offer such a program after Addis Ababa University College of Law and Governance Studies.
 
“The launch of a new PhD program in Law constitutes an important milestone for legal education in the country and the Law School,” said Alebachew Berhanu, Dean of BDU Law School.  
 
The program was developed with a view to enhancing capacity in legal education and scholarship as well as mitigating the phenomenon of brain drain at both institutional and national levels by offering an alternative to tertiary degree level education abroad.
 
Dean Alebachew noted that the start of the new PhD program was made possible in part through partnership arrangements with Academics Without Borders, Ghent University School of Law and the School of Law of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.
 
The program is open only to applicants with appropriate academic credentials and a demonstrable commitment or plan to join an academic or professional career requiring high-level legal scholarship. While the intake for the inaugural year has been limited to internal academic staff to ensure the program’s sustainability, the Law School plans to open the program to external applicants in the coming years.
 
Dr. Dadimos Haile, Associate Professor and Coordinator of the PhD program said, “The program’s design takes into account the Law School’s limited internal capacity, which is partly linked to the challenges generally faced by law schools in Ethiopia when it comes to attracting and retaining educators with advanced qualifications.” This led to the adoption of a strategy that would enable the School to build on existing and new collaborative arrangements internationally and within in Ethiopia.  
 
The strategy has already yielded results as the program currently benefits from the participation of visiting professors from institutions in Europe, Canada and the USA, as well as from Addis Ababa University, to deliver courses and act as dissertation supervisors.  
 
Accordingly, the Law School recently hosted two volunteers through a partnership scheme developed with Academics without Borders. The distinguished visiting academics from Canada were invited to assist with developing the program course components.
 
Professor Andrew Botterell of Western University, Canada, offered the Advanced Jurisprudence course in an intensive format. Asked about the program and his stay, Professor Botterell noted that he was very impressed with the enthusiasm and preparation displayed by the PhD students. As he said, “I learned a great deal from both students and colleagues at BDU about the history of Ethiopian law, as well as about the contemporary Ethiopian constitutional legal order. It was a wonderful experience both personally and professionally and I look forward to returning again soon.”
 
Professor Michelle McGinn of Brock University, Canada, taught Advanced Research Methods and co-taught a postgraduate seminar in advanced English, conference presentation and publishing.
 
“The Law School is honored to partner with and grateful to AWB, whose impressive network across Canadian higher education institutions and financial support made it possible for Professors McGinn and Botterell to join us and contribute to our PhD program,” said Dean Alebachew. He also expressed his gratitude to Professors McGinn and Botterell for their volunteerism, engagement and friendship as well as their invaluable contribution to the PhD program.
 
The sentiment was echoed by Dr. Dadimos, who added that “students and staff have significantly benefited from Andrew and Michelle’s contributions and thoroughly enjoyed their presence.” He hoped that this would be the first of many such visits for them and would lead to broader collaboration with their respective institutions. He also expressed appreciation for the dedication and efficiency of AWB’s staff and management and emphasized that AWB’s continued support, particularly during the formative phase, is vital as it would enable the program to contribute to institutional capacity building and become self sustaining in few years.
 
AWB Executive Director Greg Moran said, “AWB is encouraged by the partnership we are building with Bahir Dar School of Law. The contributions of both Andrew and Michelle have been well received by their colleagues in Ethiopia and we look forward to continuing to support the School and faculty as they build and expand their program.”
 
Academics Without Borders/Universitaires sans frontières (AWB) is a Canadian bilingual NGO based in Montreal. Its mission is to help developing countries improve their universities so that they can train their own experts and conduct research to assist in their countries’ development. AWB’s projects are involved in the full range of university activities from expanding and improving existing institutions and programs to helping create new ones.
 
AWB fulfills its mission by sending volunteers on projects that originate in and are owned by developing world institutions. AWB volunteers are reimbursed for their expenses but are not paid a salary.
 
Bahir Dar School of Law is looking forward to welcome visiting professors Diederik Bruloot (Ghent Law School) and Lutz Oette (SOAS Law School) who will be teaching specialized law courses to doctoral students in May 2018.   

LLM students of Business and Corporate Law at the Law School, KahalidKebede and SitelbenatHassen, havereceived the “Michael Sher Educational Award” of the 25th Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition in Vienna, Austria.Khalid and Sitelbenat were awarded in front of 2000 representatives of more than 360 universities from around the globe, arbitration professionals and international academic scholars. It is the first time an Ethiopian (and even African) university receives this award.

It is for the second time that the School of Law has been represented in this prestigious Moot Court Competition, and that our last year representatives have even bring further academic partnerships with Penn State University from USA, where they have also been offered a scholarship for further postgraduate studies.

BDU boldly appreciates its students for winning the award and representing the university in this international forum. Congratulations! 

A lecturer at the Law School and editor in chief of Bahir Dar University Journal of law, Mr. Haile Gush, has participated a symposium on building a research writing culture at Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

  

The symposium, funded by the British Association for International and Comparative Education (BAICE), was hosted by Dr. Rasha Kamal and Dr. Ashour Amry at Ain Shams University and facilitated by Professor Anna Robinson-Pant and Dr. Anna Magyar from the University of East Anglia, UK. The event consisted partly of a presentation about research and publishing and partly of experiential and interactive activities where:

  • Participants brought their journals from their own institution/country as a basis for a critical discussion about journal review criteria and journal identity.
  • Strategies for developing research writing capacity with doctoral students and junior academics were discussed.
  • Tools and techniques for facilitating discussions and giving and receiving peer feedback are also reviewed.

The initial impetus for the programme is to address inequalities in academic publishing and participation through increasing individual participation and contribution of writers from under-represented countries in the Global South. Some of the ideas taken by the participants of this symposium are supporting young researchers, setting up a writers’ group; using the feedback frameworks presented at the symposium, organizing a research forum to provide feedback to young researchers; using guidelines for writers and reviewers; organizing workshops with local journal editors and reviewers.

Senior scholars from social science departments in higher education institutions within Egypt and the region have participated. The symposium was an opportunity for participants to develop a network of resources, ideas and support to build the culture of academic writing and publishing in their institution.

The programme has been run in Addis Ababa (2014), Mumbai (2015), Quezon City (2016), Kathmandu (2017) and this year in Egypt.

 

Law students’ of BDU holds debate on vexed legal issue BDU’s Law Students’ Union (LSU) has held a breathtaking debate between female law students last Wednesday/3rd of January , 2018 at Gish Abay Campus, Moot Court Hall. The students have argued on the issues entitled “Is VAT really an undesignated tax?” A number of practical concerns and constitutional issues have been raised since the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) in Ethiopia in 2002. The adoption of VAT in Ethiopia, as one form of tax, was justified under the constitutional clause of “undesignated powers of taxation.” Though it was said to be undesignated tax power, practically speaking it has brought changes in the already existing distribution power of taxation by shifting part of states’ power of taxation over “sales tax” to the federal government. While Yabsera Alemneh (2nd Year) and Fitsum Mekete (3rd year) supports the motion, Mekdes Wudu and Meklit Tassew(both 3rd year) have argued against the motion. The debate was held in front of panel of Judges (including BDU’s Gender Affairs Directorate Director Dr. Almaz and other 4 Staff members from the law School), and law students across all batches.

Bahir Dar University School of Law has held a one day international curriculum review workshop to launch PhD program in Law today at Peda Campus, old Senate Hall.

In his introductory remark to the workshop, Ato Alebachew Birhanu, Director of the Law School, noted that because of the ever increasing demand for qualified legal professionals with high level training, the school has decided to expand its horizon of training into doctoral program in law, particularly in public international law and business law.

In the occasion, Ato Alebachew has also made a brief explanation about the law school and the activities it’s been undertaking to become a center of excellence in law and other related fields. The school is among the nation’s leading law schools in areas, such as the quality of education and training it provides and in the innovative postgraduate programs it run, according to Ato Alebachew. The school is also exemplary in terms of having a sustainable and reputable bi-annual legal journal, which has been serving as a forum for legal scholars and practitioners to publish quality manuscripts, he added. 

Speaking about the community engagement of the Law School, Ato Alebachew pointed out that the school has been providing free legal aid service to the vulnerable members of the society here in Bahir Dar and the surrounding woredas by involving its teaching staff as well as students.

In his opening remark to the workshop BDU’s Vice President for academic affairs, Dr. Matebe Tafere said that the lunching of the PhD program by the Law School is in line with the university’s vision of becoming one of a premier research university in Africa by 2025.

Given the critical need for highly trained legal professionals in the country, it is imperative for the School of Law to launch PhD program. This is specially necessary to ensure continuity in the knowledge building, keeping up-to-date with newly emerging rudiments in the legal system of the country as well as the global system.

BDU School of Law is going to be the Second law School in Ethiopia in launching PhD program in law preceded by Addis Ababa University School of Law just by one year. 

In the workshop, external reviewers from Addis Ababa University; Ghent University, Belgium; Kutztown University USA, and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK have participated.

In addition, the School will also hold a curriculum review workshop tomorrow (25th of August, 2017) in order to launch additional two new masters programs (LLM in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution, and MA in Governance and Development Studies).

Bahir Dar University Journal of Law has been included and added into the HeinOnline Database. HeinOnline is one of the leading legal research database containing more than 150 million pages and 150,000 titles of legal history and government documents in fully searchable and image based format. HeinOnline bridges the gap in historical research by providing comprehensive coverage from inception of more than 2,400 law-related periodicals.  It is currently available to researchers worldwide in more than 3,500 physical locations in over 175 countries, thus being an excellent way to expose journals to researchers worldwide. 

Bahir Dar University Journal of Law is a reputable and bi-annual legal periodical which has been published by the law school since May 2010. The journal is a forum for legal scholars to publish manuscripts that meet intellectual quality and contribution for the legal profession and the administration of justice in general.

Bahir Dar University School of law has held May Seminar at old senate meeting hall, Peda campus. In the seminar research works conducted by the Law School staff in 2009 and the best senior thesis from graduating law students were presented.

Among others, researches conducted on ‘the law of pardon and parole and their enforcement in the Bahir Dar Prison Center’ by Belaynh Admasu(Ass. Prof) and Mr. Alemu Dagnaw are worth mentioning

The best senior thesis by Yemisrach Belay was made to be presented at the seminar following the decision of the School Academic Council. Yemisrach has done an exemplary work by analyzing the adequacy of international humanitarian in regulating explosive weapons and ruminants of war.   The School has taken this initiation to encourage and cultivate research culture of students in the School. It was taken as breakthrough and other academic units should take a lesson. In addition, the School has awarded the student.

Staff members, stake holders from different institutions who have close connection with research presented, and other interested individuals have attended the event.  The participants have forwarded critical and constructive feedbacks, and agreed to work in collaboration with the School to solve the problems discovered by the researches. 

LLM students of Business and Corporate Law, School of Law, BDU, are to represent the university in the 24th William C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition in Vienna, Austria. We will be represented by Ayene Mengesha Sisay (who is also an academic staff at the law school) and Zena Abera Tesema.
The William C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition is one of the most prestigious International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition whereby more than 340 universities around the world will take part in this year only. BDU and Cairo University are the only representatives from Africa in the competition. Such a global contest is the first for both BDU and Ethiopian universities in general.
In the first phase, BDU’s LLM students have submitted written memorials both as an applicant and respondent, and it is after a very competitive screening of memorials submitted by different universities that our team has advance to the oral round. Before participating in the oral litigation at Vienna, Austria(from April 6 – April 13), our representatives will participate in the pre-moot event organized at Heidelberg University, Germany(from March 31 – April 5).
In the preliminary round of the oral litigation, BDU representatives will be facing the representatives of Universidade de of De Brazilia (Brazil), Erasmus University (The Netherlands), New York University (USA) and ILS Law College, Pune (India). BDU wishes its students a great success.
This academic engagement of BDU, through global ties and academic partnerships, is part of its vision of joining hands with institutions working towards internationalization higher education and the assurance of its quality.

The 5th Tana High Level Forum on Security in Africa took place from April 16-17, 2016 under the theme of “Africa in the Global Security Agenda.”

The forum is an informal gathering of a wide spectrum of African leaders and citizens: heads of state and government, leaders of regional organizations, civil society and the private sector, eminent scholars and practitioners, students and youth, and representatives of Africa's global partners. Forum participants are drawn from across the continent and overseas.

The Forum's mission is to further open a vigorous debate on the nature and causes of Africa's

Pressing security threats and, over time, cultivate a distinctively African voice on understanding and confronting the chief peace and security challenges the continent is facing.

Tana Forum Secretariat announced “2016 Tana Forum Universities’ Essay Competition” under the aforementioned theme.  The Competition is intended to be part of this consultative debate that is envisioned to contribute to policy building and development.

Around 17 Tana Forum Universities are invited to participate in the essay competition being represented by their masters or PhD Students. 

Accordingly, Bahir Dar University is represented by Mesfin Beyene, LLM candidate of Bahir Dar University School of Law.  Mesfin’s essay is ranked second next to a student of Nairobi University who is a PhD candidate.  Asked to reflect his feeling, Mesfin stated that “Even though it was pain-staking task and responsibility to me to compete with top-ranked continental universities represented mostly by PhD students, finally I did it.” He also acknowledged Law School Administration and academic staff for assistance he received during the competition.

The school of Law boldly appreciates Mesfin Beyene for winning the competition and representing BDU and BDU School of Law in particular before continental forum. Congratulations!

The School also congratulates the entire Bahir Dar University Community for the recorded success.

Finally, we call upon our students to participate in research and community service goals the school wishes to attain.  

It is widely reported that ethinic Murle of South Sudan, which is geographically located on Ethio-South Sudanese border, killed more than 200 Nuer Ethinic people in Gambella, Ethiopia. Moreover, it has also put under its control more than 108 children and 2000 cattle. As a consequent to this, there is huge tension between ethinic Murle Armed Force and Ethiopian Military force. Ethiopian government officially declared that its military force will take any necessary action against Murle Armed Force to return the children back to their home country and rejoin their family.

Mr. Nega Ewnetie, senior International and Humanitarian Law professor of Bahir Dar Univesrity School of Law, after watching out all private, public, and social media releases has analyzed the legal issues involving in the armed conflict. He presented his observation on the last Friday Seminar (April 22, 2016) of the School of Law under the theme of “The Relationship between a State and an Organized Armed Group and the Bearing on the Classification of Armed conflict: the Case of the Armed Conflict between the Defense Force of Ethiopia and the Ethnic Murle of South Sudan.” The academic staff and postgraduate students of the School of Law attended the session.

The presenter raised many issues based on existing facts leaving room open for further investigation. Among the issues he mainly capitalized on whether the murder caused by ethnic Murle of South Sudan is attributable to the government of south Sudan. This has raised hot academic debate. Many international legal frameworks are analyzed for academic purpose. It is apparently agreed that it is not right time to judge on this issue given that the facts released by medias are not enough and reliable as well.

Finally, participants confirmed that the observation of the presenter on this very topical issue has academic and practical importance.

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