February 11, 2014

Sustainable International Development program celebrates 20 years of educating leaders for social change

SID students, alumni, and program directors celebrate at 20th anniversary event
SID students, alumni, and program directors celebrate at 20th anniversary event

On Thursday, February 6, the University of Washington School of Law’s Sustainable International Development (SID) program celebrated its 20 year anniversary with a special program to look back at what was accomplished in its first two decades and also to look forward at where the innovative program is heading. Professor Roy Prosterman , who founded the SID Program, the first graduate program at a U.S. law school to focus on international development law, was honored at the event.

"Professor Prosterman, today’s event is a great tribute to your foresight and commitment to teaching future generations of practitioners who want to work in the field global development, and the strength of the program today is really a testament to your vision," said Anita Ramasastry, current Director of the SID program.

Students enrolled in the SID program receive practical, hands-on training in four key areas: rule of law and governance, law as a tool of poverty alleviation, global environmental protection, and corporate responsibility and sustainability. Graduates go on to work in fields such as human rights, government consulting, social entrepreneurship and international business. This year’s class includes 19 students, the largest in the programs history, from over ten different countries.

"This program has trained lawyers for the global common good for over 20 years," said Kellye Testy, Dean of the University of Washington School of Law, at the event. "It has created amazing practitioners dedicated to solving pressing social problems and improving the wellbeing of people everywhere. Its focus on using law as a tool for justice, for poverty alleviation in developing countries, while also protecting the planet and conserving its resources for future generations is a remarkable achievement."

In his remarks, Professor Prosterman thanked the UW community, including UW Law and SID alumni, law school faculty, current and former deans, as well as Professor Ramasastry, for their strong support of the program over the last two decades and took the opportunity to talk about the future of the program.

Also honored at the event were Stan ’63 and Alta Barer, who in 2010 founded the Barer Institute for Law and Global Human Services, which is an interdisciplinary effort based at the law school focused on the role of law in promoting health, education and economic development. Currently, the second class of Barer Institute Fellows is earning their LL.M. degrees through the SID program. Jeffrey Riedinger ’80, the Vice Provost for Global Affairs at the University of Washington, who after graduating from UW Law worked with Professor Prosterman on land tenure reform with the Rural Development Institute, now Landesa, and Landesa’s President and CEO, Tim Hanstad ’88, ’95, who is one of the first graduates of the SID program, also spoke at the event.

"The SID program, with attorneys and changemakers from countries as diverse as Australia, Indonesia, and Zimbabwe, embodies the University of Washington School of Law’s mission of training leaders for the global common good," said Ramasastry. "The program is as vibrant and relevant today as when Professor Prosterman founded it 20 years ago."