CEELI Institute Prague November 2014 Newsletter
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Spotlight on Burma

Supporting the Myanmar Lawyers Network
In August and October, the CEELI Institute continued it efforts to provide organizational assistance and practical advocacy skills training to the Myanmar Lawyers Network (MLN), an independent group of Burmese lawyers who are committed to providing pro bono legal assistance. The MLN has championed causes of political freedoms, human rights, freedom of expression and land rights for marginalized communities. Multiple programs were organized by the Institute in both Yangon and Mandalay. This project is implemented together with the Burma Center Prague, and with support from the Czech Foreign Ministry

The MLN is led by some of Burma’s most experienced defense lawyers, including many of whom are former political prisoners. Cases that the MLN takes on often include representation of poor village communities trying to assert legal claims to land —which also typically involves fighting off attempted “land grabbing. Other cases involve protecting the right of freedom to assemble. Read more about the program on our website.
CEELI Institute Reports: 
"Emerging Faces: Lawyers in Myanmar"
Working closely with the International Legal Assistance Network (ILAC), the CEELI Institute recently co-authored a report entitled “Emerging Faces: Lawyers in Burma,“ published in October 2014.  The report was principally authored by William D. Meyer, Chair of the Institute’s International Advisory Board and is based on ILAC/CEELI assessments, interviews, surveys and experiences from our training and assistance projects in Burma. The report provides in-depth background on the current state of the legal profession in Myanmar, and details the challenges facing the legal community there as it emerges from decades of repression. Ultimately, the report makes a strong case for continued engagement with Myanmar’s legal community, which will be a key element for the defense of human rights, and the establishment of the rule of law in that country.
CEELI Institute Launches Fundraising Campaign to support our work with the Myanmar Lawyers Network
In October, the CEELI Institute launched a fundraising campaign to enable us to broaden our training efforts in Burma so that we can reach young lawyers from more remote regions of the country.  While the need for legal training in Burma is great, access to education, especially in the regions, is limited.  Educational standards are low. But the young lawyers are dedicated and hardworking, and desperate for access to the kind of training we are providing. Our program is tailored to meet their needs in areas such as advocacy and courtroom presentation skills and case management.  The needs are great but the cost of working in Burma are low, and even small contributions go far:
  • $80 would cover the participation costs for one training of a Burmese lawyer traveling from the regions
  • $400 would cover one Burmese lawyer becoming a trainer able to carry on trainings in their regions  
The CEELI Institute is a public benefit corporation in the Czech Republic.  Gifts may also be made to its partner not-for-profit organization, the Friends of the CEELI Institute, a 501(c) 3 based in the United States.
Looking Ahead

The CEELI Institute is looking forward to an event-filled end to 2014. We have upcoming:

Tunisia Judicial Training, Tunis, Tunisia: December 1-4

CEE Judicial Exchange Workshop, Prague, Czech Republic: December 5-6

Tunisia Anticorruption Training on Public Procurement, Tunis, Tunisia: December 10-12
Watch: CEELI Institute/Burma Center Prague Trainings for the Myanmar Lawyers Network
Note from Executive Director Christopher Lehmann
Summer and Fall have continued our busy streak at the Institute, as we remain engaged in implementing an increasingly diverse set of programs and events. Our Annual Meeting in July brought together our board members, as well as a diverse cross section of our friends, funders, partners, and program participants. The gathering allowed us the opportunity to take an intensive look at our programs, as well as hold a frank discussion on some of the critical challenges facing us in the continued effort to fully implement the Rule of Law in Europe and Eurasia, including problems posed by corruption and by recent trends towards illiberal regimes which question the value of democratic transitions.
In what may be a first for us, mid-October saw the Institute simultaneously implementing projects in four countries on three continents.  Our programs included judicial training in Tunis, legal advocacy training in Burma, the convening of our regional Judicial Network in Warsaw, and providing leadership support for young civil society leaders at home at the Vila Grébovka in Prague.  New funding just received by the Institute will allow us to expand our engagements with Ukraine, particularly on efforts to assist civil society in promoting government transparency and accountability.
I continued to be gratified by the enthusiasm of our friends, partners, supporters and program participants, who give so graciously of their time and energy. I look forward to continuing the Institute’s growth and expansion in 2015 as we inaugurate new programs, both here at the Villa in Prague, and at off-site locations. Fall has brought new staff to the Institute, and our vibrant team here in Prague continues to be instrumental to our successes and achievements. Outreach is important to us, and we welcome your feedback and comments. I look forward to continuing to share regular updates from Prague.
CEELI Institute

CEELI and IFES Partner for Training on Electoral Integrity and Abuse of State Resources in Tunisia 

On September 16-18, 2014, the CEELI Institute partnered with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) to deliver a three day training on Electoral Integrity, Political Finance and Abuse of State Resources at the Tunisian National Anti-Corruption Agency (INLUCC). The training came one month before highly anticipated Tunisian elections, which took place October 26. Read more about the training on our website. 

CEELI Institute Completes Training in Warsaw 

On October 5-6, the CEELI Institute in coooperation with the Polish Judges' Association, Iustitia, jointly hosted a judicial training workshop in Warsaw on the topic of caseload management and organizing the service of a judge. The meeting brought together members of the CEELI Institute's Central and Eastern European Judicial Exchange Network, including members from Albania, Lithuania, Romania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Macedonia, with their Polish counterparts. CEELI Institute board member, the Honorable John Walker of the Second Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, along with the Honorable Katarzyna Gonera from the Supreme Court of Poland provided opening remarks as well as moderated discussion over the two days. Read more on our website.
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