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American Bar Association


Over the past 20 years, hundreds of dedicated lawyers and jurists have promoted the rule of law through their work with ABA ROLI. We've operated legal technical assistance programs in 70 countries since 1990, and the passion and commitment of our volunteers and staff have been critical in our success.


Below, in their own words, are reflections from these rule of law champions.

The Women’s Bar Association of Azerbaijan: A Success Story

A Year in the Balkans: Macedonia and the Rule of Law

Learning from and Teaching Uzbekistan’s Judiciary

My Days in Tajikistan: Wonder and Challenge

Looking Back at My Experiences with ABA CEELI

Elda Beylerian Feldman

Looking back at her 1996–1997 experience with the Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative, Elda B. Feldman, the first liaison in Armenia, said, “It was an incredible experience to establish an office and help create the first judges association during my time there. Every day was a new adventure.”

Sometimes the most minute tasks took days, but by the end she thought the program accomplished so much.

“It was an experience I will always treasure,” said Feldman. “I think it probably was the most exciting and challenging job I held, especially at such a young age.”


Paul Simonett

I never would have thought as a lawyer practicing in Mankato, Minnesota, that someday I would be having tea with people such as the chief justices of Indonesian and Philippine supreme courts (in their own offices!), and be able to meet and discuss legal reform issues with sitting Justices of our own Supreme Court. That is exactly what the ABA Rule of Law Initiative allowed me to do.

The challenging work, the opportunity to get to know people from around the world, and the satisfaction of knowing you are contributing to improving democratic principles, make these experiences unmatchable.


Thomas Welch

While my service as a International Arbitration Law expert in Vilnius, Lithuania was very brief, it provided an eye-opening view into many important dimensions of international public law and harmonization. 

It provided me with the background and impetus to actually leave the practice of law and expand my career via public service in the U.S. government.


Timothy F. Stock

I can only say that I was proud to be part of our profession's efforts in Eastern Europe in the 90's and regard the year spent in Ukraine as one of the most worthwhile of my legal career.


Past Rule of Law Honorees

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

lawyers and judges in Pakistan Those lawyers and judges in Pakistan who demonstrated courage in upholding the rule of law in their country

Stephen BreyerHon. Stephen Breyer, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Anthony KennedyHon. Anthony Kennedy, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Hilario DavideHon. Hilario Davide, Retired Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice

Mikheil SaakashviliHis Excellency Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia

Vaclav Havel His Excellency Vaclav Havel, President of The Czech Republic




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