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Source: USAID West Bank & Gaza
4 April 2005

"ARKAN" Signs Memorandums of Understanding with Four Palestinian Law Schools to Improve Legal Education
This was originally published as a press release on April 1, 2005.

RAMALLAH -- The American-funded "ARKAN" project and Bir Zeit University School of Law have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on working together to improve the quality of legal education in the West Bank and Gaza.

"ARKAN," also know as the Supporting Rule of Law Reform Project, is funded with a $4 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and implemented by Chemonics International in association with Massar Associates. The three-year project began operations in September 2004.

This marks the last of four such memoranda to be signed, and cements partnerships for "ARKAN" and the law schools to take steps to improve legal education in the region. "ARKAN" will also provide crucial technical assistance to law schools at Al Quds, Al Najah, and Al Azhar.

At the ceremony Thursday, Bir Zeit University was represented by Dr. Mudar Kassis, the acting Dean of the Law School and the Director of the Institute of Law. USAID was represented by Mr. Rasem Kamal, the Rule of Law Specialist in the agency's West Bank and Gaza Mission. Dr. Mustafa Mari represented "ARKAN."

The project will support legal research and the introduction of modern teaching methods, such as moot court competitions at the university law schools.

"ARKAN" will also supply the law schools with legal reference materials and the equipment needed to give Palestinian lawyers the professional skills and knowledge necessary for modern legal practice.

The project also will focus on legal professionals through the Palestinian Bar Association (PBA). Working with lawyers and civil society groups, "ARKAN" will strive to improve the capacity of the association, of lawyers and of the legal profession in order to provide citizens and the private sector with better legal services.

USAID has spent more than $1.5 billion in the West Bank and Gaza to combat poverty, create jobs, improve education, build roads and water systems, construct and equip medical clinics, and promote good governance. The agency has supported Rule of Law projects in the West Bank and Gaza since 1999.

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