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Cecil Yongo of Strathmore Law School presents paper at Harvard Law Policy Conference


On 2nd June, Strathmore Law School’s  Graduate Assistant Cecil Yongo had the privilege of presenting his paper at the Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy Annual Conference. Centered on the theme ‘Law in Global Political Economy: Heterodoxy Now”, the two-day event brought together over 300 academics from across the world to Boston. The participants and attendees consisted mostly of PhD students and tenured professors from Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Oxford among other ivy league schools around the world.

The Institute for Global Law and Policy at Harvard Law School was founded in 2009 with the aim of encouraging a collaborative network among scholars and policy makers who share a commitment to new voices and viewpoints for thinking about global governance, social justice and economic policy, as well as an interest in foundational questions for theory and history.

This year’s conference urged scholars to brave enough to think out of the box, ‘heterodoxically’ and question established modes of thinking and doing things. Because global poverty, conflict, injustice and inequality are legal and institutional regimes, it aimed at provoking questions on how such regimes are reproduced and what may be done in response to the same.

Cecil’s presentation on Transformative Constitutions examined the use of preparatory documents such as the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission Report (for Kenya) and the Multi Party Negotiating Process Reports (for South Africa) in human rights decisions, using the Federalist Papers (the United States) as a case study. He developed the research question in October 2017, and was assisted by law students Adrian Nyiha, Arnold Ombasa,Khalil Badbess, Bertha Odawa, Fenan Estifanos and Mdathir Timamy in conducting the background research.

Cecil highlighted that his time in Harvard has been immensely eye-opening for him, and inspired him to put even more effort into his research. “Professors here are judged by their research, and every year they take it very seriously. The university is very research-oriented, and Africa is lagging behind due to poor representation at elite levels of research. “Each of us who are—or intend to be—in academia have to play their part to bring Africa closer to par” he adds.

Cecil learnt a lot from his visit to Harvard and the people he met while attending the Conference, and he hopes to infuse it all in his future work. He thanks the Strathmore Law School for supporting him, as well as all those who have mentored him along the way. Cecil has no doubt that the experience will make him better in his journey in academia.