CEU’s Summer University hosted the Constitution-building in Africa course in cooperation with International IDEA and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung June 30-July 11. The course addressed complex societal, political and legal problems in constitution-building from an interdisciplinary perspective, informed by field experience.
As H. Kwasi Prempeh, professor of law Seton Hall University School of Law in New Jersey, USA, pointed out, this program draws participants from a wide range of backgrounds, yet many of them come from practice, from the international development community, UN and other places involved in constitution-building in Africa. “This course is important in producing the kind of people at the forefront of these changes,” he said. Prempeh sees the importance of the course in providing a platform to “people from Senegal, Chad, Nigeria, Ghana, and from many different countries, anglophone, francophone, even lusophone, to all get together and exchange experiences in constitution building.”
Professor of Public Law at the University Gaston Berger in Senegal and Former Vice President of the Constitutional Court of Senegal Babacar Kanté added that with more than 36 African countries of the 54 in conflict or crisis, it’s important to think about how to deal with these issues together. “This is rather an exchange than a course: we learn from each other how to draft a constitution, how to start the process, how to find solutions, and how to give substance to these constitutions and how to make them effective,” he said.
“Participants of this course will be able to face new challenges in their own countries, and later, by creating a circle of cooperation between African countries, they can action their programs too. Then the international community can base their intervention on these young colleagues who are trying to improve their countries all over the continent,” Kanté highlighted the importance of the Constitution-building in Africa course.