Workshopping Innovation and Cooperative Research in Global Law and Policy

"As you travel across Africa, you observe one thing about how Africa is growing: graceless poverty, sitting beside unbelievable wealth. I think the idea of inclusive growth should be front and center in policy discussions in Africa and regulatory mechanisms to promote it must be enacted throughout the continent,” Nigerian native, Chilenye Nwapi, representing the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law in Canada, raised the issues around how to promote inclusive growth in Africa and the world during the pilot initiative of the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP).

Founded in 2009 at Harvard Law School, the Institute for Global Law and Policy is a collaborative faculty effort to nurture innovative approaches to global policy. The forum focuses on young scholars and policy makers who bring new ideas and perspectives to comparative and international legal research and policy. The IGLP facilitates a creative dialogue among young experts, strengthening the global capacity for innovation and cooperative research with a focus on scholars from -- and issues of significance for -- the Global South. 

IGLP Group Photo
IGLP workshop participants pose for a photograph.

The IGLP has established deep links throughout Africa and across the world which can be leveraged to grow and sustain a unique faculty development initiative. A convening in January 2016 in Cape Town demonstrated the powerful synergies that can emerge when junior and senior scholars from across Africa are convened for peer-to-peer engagement with one another and with colleagues from across the world. Through a piloting workshop, IGLP convened 56 young scholars from 31 countries, including 30 scholars from across Africa, for serious research collaboration and debate with 47 senior and mid-career faculty from 32 universities worldwide. 

Roseline Njogu, from Kenya, who holds an LLM from Harvard and an LLB from the University of Nairobi, said that attending the workshop had helped her build networks with other academics, on the continent and elsewhere. She cited gender and the neo-colonial approaches to economic development as pressing issues that needed to be addressed at a policy and regulatory level in Africa. She noted: “The discussions among various academics about their own ideas on how to fix these problems were extremely helpful in terms of coming up with a solution.”

“Policy and regulations are not the end in itself but rather a means to try and address some of the inequalities that plague us today." 

Zambian scholar Rumbie Chidoori felt thatissues of race, identity, gender discrimination, structural oppression, extreme poverty and economic development were all aspects that Africa is grappling with and that need discussion: “Policy and regulations are not the end in itself but rather a means to try and address some of the inequalities that plague us today. The workshop stimulates conversation and action usually arises from conversations. We are able to give our stories a voice and get a global perspective in the process because the participants are so diverse, and are coming from so many different parts of the world. As a result, we are able to identify similarities and differences, and share strategies.”