Celebrating the CEELI Legacy

For the past few days, we’ve been hosting the ABA/CEELI Annual Meeting. On Saturday night we held a welcome BBQ where there was endless mingling to be had. Many of the attendees were former or current liaisons and ABA/CEELI alumni, so Sunday’s program focused on the work that those people have done over the past 25 years.

Monday’s program was more current, and, for me, it was the most engaging. The first panel discussed judging in the 21st century, which focused on the challenges facing the judiciary in dealing with new kinds of crimes, including new laws governing cyber crime, terrorism, privacy rights and human trafficking.

The second panel, titled the pursuit of illiberalism, addressed the efforts across the region to roll back protections afforded by the Rule of Law—and participants offered suggestions on what organizations like the CEELI Institute and ABA ROLI can do to promote the Rule of Law in those countries, with specific reference to Russia, Hungary, Azerbaijan, and others in the Central Asian region.

The third and final panel addressed CEELI and ABA ROLI’s efforts to combat corruption and promote transparency, and participants examined the problems involved in such efforts and potential solutions to those problems.

The closing reception took place that evening, and most of the annual meeting attendees of the left shortly thereafter. Tuesday was reserved for the board meeting, which took about six hours. I sat in on it and took notes, while they discussed CEELI’s current programs, its future trajectory, and all of its financial details.