Deadline to apply: 28 August 2017.
Download the application form here.

Around the world, more than four billion people are living outside the protection of the law. They are unfairly driven from their land, denied essential services, excluded from society, and intimidated by violence.

Legal empowerment is about turning that tide. It’s about enabling people to understand, use, and shape the law. From at least the 1950s, when community paralegals in South Africa began helping people to navigate and resist apartheid, legal empowerment has grown into a global movement. Today, grassroots legal advocates in the Philippines are helping farmers to take part in nationwide agrarian reforms. In Argentina, shantytown residents are pursuing legal remedies to bring clean water and other essential services to their communities.

World leaders increasingly agree that access to justice and legal empowerment are crucial to ensuring equitable and inclusive development, a sentiment that led to the integration of justice in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Every year the legal empowerment fi eld becomes more robust, with greater evidence of what works. At this particular moment in history, with the rise of authoritarianism and income inequality, there is an urgent need to strengthen and expand legal empowerment programs.

The Legal Empowerment Leadership Course in Budapest is a unique opportunity to take stock of our collective knowledge and build upon it. Its aim is to cultivate a global cadre of leaders who are committed to legal empowerment, and who share a common understanding of the fi eld, including history, methodology, and evidence. A faculty of respected practitioners and academics will lead course participants in an in-depth exploration of key themes, including the history of the global movement for legal empowerment, the intersection of legal empowerment and community organizing, and the role of grassroots legal advocates in realizing systemic change or ensuring effective service delivery. The participatory course design will also emphasize peer-to-peer learning through small group work.

This year’s course, the third annual, has a theme of “Law and Organizing.” The course is a collaboration between the CEU’s School of Public Policy (SPP), Open Society Justice InitiativeNamati and the Robert L. Bernstein Institute for Human Rights at NYU.

The course is intended for people whose work and interests are directly related to legal empowerment.

 This includes:

  • exceptional paralegals and leaders of civil society organizations who are running, or wish to run, legal empowerment programs;
  • parliamentary leaders and government officials (ministries of justice or development, centralized planning units, NHRIs) with the power to support or regulate legal empowerment efforts;
  • development agency representatives working on legal empowerment at an international or country level;
  • academics and researchers interested in working with legal empowerment programs.

A limited number of scholarships covering travel, accommodation and the full cost of tuition will be available on a competitive basis. Note that scholarships will not be available for applicants from donor institutions. For non-scholarship participants, the full cost of participation in the course is EUR 2,000.This does not include travel and accommodation.

Please find the course brochure here.

Applications are welcome via the online application form.

The application deadline is 28 August 2017.