Short abstracts of the presentations were submitted by many of the speakers in advance of the conference. The titles of those that were submitted are underlined; to view those abstracts, click on the title.

Title: Evaporating Borders: Justice Education And The Refugee Community

Lead Presenter: Mary Pat Treuthart



Session Abstract: EVAPORATING BORDERS: JUSTICE EDUCATION AND THE REFUGEE COMMUNITY Established institutions in civil society, including law schools, are struggling to define their essential functions and to carve out appropriate identities in the 21st century. The primary mission of a law school is to educate future lawyers; however, a law school should operate as a valuable community resource to educate the public as well. Do law schools have a concomitant professional responsibility to “further the public’s understanding” of the law? We assert that they do. More important, law schools should promote justice education by offering public legal (street law) education programs to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in the community such as refugees and immigrants who may have limited familiarity with the domestic legal system of their adopted country. Supplying refugees with information on the laws and administration of justice in their new home is not simply an elective activity akin to informational housewarming. Rather, States with established refugee resettlement programs are obliged to provide access to resources required for refugee integration. Law schools are ideally positioned to join with community partners to deliver this necessary program component. Our experience sponsoring an educational workshop in our community was the result of a collaborative effort among Gonzaga University law faculty members, law students, lawyers, judges, law enforcement officers, volunteers from a non-profit organization, and the community colleges. Professor Mary Pat Treuthart, served as a facilitator for this educational workshop program and Professor & Associate Dean of Global Education Megan Ballard was its principal organizer. This session will provide a template (sample materials, logistics, assessment) for a one day workshop for up to 200 refugee participants from 10+ different language groups designed to: (1) introduce key terms and persons involved in the legal system, hopefully to make it less intimidating; (2) explain the purpose of the criminal justice system in particular, including the consequences of violations; and (3) offer more detailed rules and contextual examples by using hypothetical problems related to specific areas of law such as domestic violence, children and the parent-child relationship, and the use of drugs and alcohol. If time permits, the overview will be followed by the convening of small group, problem-solving discussions to address issues of concern to a law school, NGO, or other education/service provider that is interested in sponsoring such a workshop. The presenters want to allow the session audience to orient the discussion to issues of immediate interest to them at their centers of education and advocacy, e.g. law schools, clinics, NGOs, or government agencies.

Session Material:

  1. GAJE 2015 Evaporating Borders POWERPOINT
  2. GAJE 2015 Materials Evaporating Borders Justice Education and Refugees

See full list of abstracts here.