Penn State Law assistant dean connecting law schools to Moldovan judges

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Law’s assistant dean for technology is designing a global videoconferencing platform based on the one in place at Penn State Law to facilitate continuing education for judges and legal professionals in Moldova.

Assistant Dean Matt Gardner visited Moldova last week to lay the groundwork for the project and present the plans to officials at the U.S. embassy and the National Institute of Justice of Moldova, which is the government agency charged with training judges and prosecutors for the country’s justice system.

With support from a grant from the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau of the U.S. State Department, Gardner is working with the Leavitt Institute for International Development to create a custom technology solution that will allow law professors in the United States and elsewhere to lead continuing education classes for judges and other justice officials in Moldova. The platform will be based on Penn State Law’s own state-of-the-art videoconferencing technology that facilitates discussion with law schools and students around the world.

“This project is part of our mission to spread the rule of law and development of democratic liberties in countries around the world,” says David O. Leavitt, co-founder of the Leavitt Institute. “I asked Matt to lead this project because of his experience at Penn State Law in deploying its video technology that enables effective global teaching collaborations. This is precisely what we are establishing in Moldova to connect its continuing legal education system with leading legal minds around the world.”

At Penn State Law, students and professors use the video technology in the Lewis Katz Building every day to communicate with individuals around the world. Law professors have co-led semester-long classes with law schools in Australia, Canada and Germany. Students use the technology for externship and job interviews with prospective employers. And guest speakers often address Penn State Law classes from around the world, giving Penn State Law convenient and seamless access to international leaders in the practice and study of law.

Just last week, Rashida Manjoo, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, delivered the keynote address at an event in the Katz Building. Speaking live from Geneva, Manjoo discussed how gender-based violence is a barrier to the exercise of all human rights at the annual symposium of the Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs.

“Technology like this is making the world smaller and breaking down barriers to allow knowledge to spread like never before,” Gardner says. “We have seen how valuable in can be in the education of law students, and I’m looking forward to seeing the impact it can have on the justice system in Moldova.”

Gardner will lead the development and procurement of the technology back in the U.S., and plans to travel to Moldova with Leavitt in April to deploy it.

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Last Updated July 22, 2015