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Law School Launches Uganda Summer Program

For Regent University School of Law students longing to fulfill the Biblical charge of "seeking justice" and "encouraging the oppressed," changing the world begins in Uganda.

This summer marked the pilot summer program as Regent partnered with Uganda Christian University (UCU), located just outside of the nation's capital city of Kampala. Students participating in this month-long program earned four credit hours toward their law degree as they studied courses in the East Africa Legal Environment and Human Rights in Africa.

"We wanted to develop a summer program for our students who want to work in East Africa," said David Velloney, School of Law adjunct faculty member and developer of the summer program. "We've seen an increase in undergraduates and older students coming to law school who are interested in social and international justice issues. This program will help all of our students be better trained in that."

Velloney credits simple awareness of the many international social justice issues—such as slavery and sex trafficking—as the catalyst for the program. Students, while learning within the East African context, have the opportunity to develop the skills needed to combat these issues that are prevalent in many East African nations.

"God is in the business of reconciling the world to Himself," said Velloney. "These are hurting, oppressed people—and helping them is on the hearts of our students because it's on the heart of God."

During the program, UCU provided administrative and logistical support, offered areas for students to study, and coordinated guest lecturers and visits to the nation's legal institutions.

"We look at Uganda Christian University as a great school to be affiliated with because they're doing things right in terms of their influence within society and their influence in training leaders for the country," said Velloney. "And they're doing it in East Africa."

Progress for the program began in February 2012—the start of the 18-month long process of beginning and accrediting the summer program. Velloney's 20-year tenure in the U.S. Army as a lawyer and his experience as a law school professor, along with his own passion for aiding oppressed peoples, prepared him for the initiation of the program.

And while it is essential for students to have a strong calling to alleviate major social justice issues in the world—whether in the United States or overseas—Velloney explained that true opportunities to make a global impact is to have the patience to learn basic legal skills.

"Develop a heart and vision for the world, but also develop your skillset now and work hard," said Velloney. "It will pay dividends down the road."

Learn more about the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.

By Brett Wilson
Photo courtesy of David Velloney.

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