Asian Law Center
Legal Education Support Program – Afghanistan (LESPA)
The University of Washington’s Legal Education Support Program – Afghanistan (LESPA) is a collaborative effort of the United States Department of State (INL), the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education, and the Shari’a and Law and Political Science faculties of major Afghan universities. It is implemented by the Asian Law Center at the University of Washington School of Law and is currently funded into 2017.
Initiated in 2004 and previously known as the UW-Afghanistan Legal Educators Program (UW-ALEP), the program aims to strengthen legal institutions in Afghanistan by offering higher education opportunities to law professors and professionals who will become legal educators in the future. We have proudly partnered with seventeen faculties at ten public universities in Afghanistan. Participant study takes place in Afghanistan and at the University of Washington in Seattle.
To date the program has given over 70 Afghan law professors and graduates the opportunity to study at UW. As of 2012, eighteen program participants have successfully completed the LLM program. UW continues to develop innovative programming, including semi-annual Academic Legal English programs in Afghanistan, for professors and upper level students.
Since 2007, many professors and recent graduates from Afghanistan have participated in the Law School’s Tribal Court Criminal Defense Clinic. Working directly with JD students on active cases under faculty supervision, participants have gained firsthand knowledge of tribal laws and the relationship of tribal courts to our state and federal court systems. LESPA participants also work closely with UW Law clinical faculty to gain an instructor’s perspective and learn how to run law school-based legal clinics that can be replicated in Afghanistan.
LESPA is staffed by Project Director Professor Jon Eddy, Project Manager Alice Stokke, Project Administrator Sara Ayoubi, and country expert Professor Clark Lombardi.