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Iraqi Visitors at UB School of Law

June 27, 2012
Contact: University Relations
Phone: 410.837.5739

Two Iraqi legal scholars from the University of Tikrit College of Law are visiting the University of Baltimore and its School of Law this month, deepening a partnership between the two law faculties developed with the U.S. Department of Justice as part of the Rule of Law initiative for Iraq.

Ahmed Hussein, a graduate of the University of Mosul, is professor of public finance and financial legislation and head of the Department of Law at the University of Tikrit. Hussein is accompanied by his doctoral student, Ali Janabi, a law graduate of the University of Baghdad who has taught financial law at the University of Diyala, and who is completing his doctoral dissertation on public budgeting.

The pair's schedule includes visits to UB law classes, the U.S. Supreme Court, the State House in Annapolis, the Maryland Disability Law Center, the Baltimore IRS Office, a U.S. District Court of Maryland session, and a Baltimore City Council meeting, as well as interactions with UB faculty and a variety of cultural outings. The visitors also will present a plaque and greetings from the president of the University of Tikrit to UB President Robert L. Bogomolny. They also will meet with incoming School of Law Dean Ronald Weich.

The impetus for the School of Law's partnership with the University of Tikrit College of Law came from Andrew Norman, a 1978 UB law graduate from Frederick County who is an assistant U.S. attorney in Baltimore. Norman was on assignment in 2006 as a legal adviser to the U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team in Salah ad Din province to help the Iraqi provincial government improve its legal system and to set up a court system to prosecute terrorist cases. Norman developed a collegial relationship with the local law faculty and delivered a lecture at the University of Tikrit. He and Tikrit law dean Amer Ayash discussed the possibility of pairing with an American counterpart to exchange ideas, faculty and students. Norman suggested his alma mater and helped facilitate discussions.

Once back in the United States, Norman became the U.S. Department of Justice's Iraq program manager in the Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training. He contacted UB Law School officials with the partnership idea, and soon work began on a memorandum of understanding—the first formal partnership between law schools in the two countries. It was signed on Nov. 28, 2007, during a videoconference attended by UB and government officials in the U.S., and by senior U.S. and Iraqi officials in Tikrit, including the provincial governor and the head of the regional council of sheiks.

The Iraqi officials' visit is funded by the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Scholarship & Cultural Relations Directorate.

Tikrit law dean Ayash described the partnership with UB as "a step apart and away from violence, to build institutions, which is the beginning of a true, lawful situation in Iraq."

Allan E. Goodman, president of the Institute of International Education, which administers foreign education programs, hailed the partnership.

"Education exchange is the quickest, most direct way to make the world less dangerous," Goodman said.

UB officials said they hope that Iraqis who have completed basic legal training will be able to enroll in the academic program through the school's Center for International and Comparative Law. The one-year LL.M. program is designed for foreign lawyers who want an education in U.S. law.

Since the partnership began, the School of Law has donated several collections of legal textbooks to its sister institution. But this is the first long-term visit of Iraqi scholars. CICL Director and University System of Maryland Regents Professor Mortimer Sellers extended the invitation, and noted the international law center's long history of advancing the rule of law by encouraging strong and independent judicial systems throughout the world.

For more information about the partnership, contact Prof. Sellers at msellers@ubalt.edu, or Wendy Burgess, director of International Admission and Enrollment, at wburgess@ubalt.edu.

The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the School of Law, the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Public Affairs and the Merrick School of Business.