Sunday, October 3, 2010

Moot Court competition in Benin

Today's blog is dedicated to the Moot Court team from American University in Cairo (AUC) who have just arrived in Benin for the 19th Annual African Human Rights Moot Court competition.  Moot court is a pretend trial or oral argument based on a fact pattern provided by the organization sponsoring the competition.  Teams of law students come from all over Africa to compete.   I've had the pleasure of getting to know our university's team quite well because I've been helping them to prepare for the past several weeks along with their advisor.  When I first arrived at AUC, I told the law department I would be happy to be a teaching assistant, or teach a course or help in any way that would be useful to them.  They teamed me up with the Moot Court team, so I've been a pretend judge for them as they practiced over the past few weeks. The team consists of two young women, one American and one Egyptian, who have worked really hard for about five months writing briefs and preparing for their oral presentations.  Here they are with their faculty advisor.
If you would like to see the website for the Moot Court Competition, here is the link:
Their website says that 47 countries are participating and there are more then 900 teams total (with two people per team and one team per school).

The issues presented in the hypothetical cases for this Moot Court competition are fascinating.  I'll discuss those in a couple other blog entries in the future.

For now, I have to get back to some research I'm working on.  I submitted a research proposal to a conference in Rome at the end of November and the proposal was accepted, but I don't know yet whether AUC will approve a conference grant I have applied for.  If I get the grant, our family may be off to Rome at the end of November for me to present my paper at the conference.

My research is on a recent resolution passed by the U.N. General Assembly called the Right to Water and Sanitation.  Egypt, and 121 other countries worldwide voted in favor of this resolution.  The U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and 38 other countries abstained from the vote.  This is a groundbreaking decision that got little to no press in the major newspapers.  Thank goodness for Amy Goodman's Democracy Now program which had a long feature about the debate and vote.  Here's a link to her show if you'd like to hear it:

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