Howard University

A Visit to South Africa

A Visit to South Africa

By Kurt L. Schmoke
Dean, Howard University School of Law

This summer I visited the outstanding summer study abroad program which is operated by the Howard University School of Law (HUSL) in cooperation with the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in Cape Town, South Africa. This was my third visit to the program since becoming dean.

The Howard Law South Africa Program is one of the most well-respected study abroad programs in legal academia. Each summer, approximately 50 students are selected to participate. One half of these students are from Howard and the rest are from several law schools throughout the United States. Also students from UWC are included in these classes. The richness of this diversity adds to the importance of the educational experience. Another significant element of the program is the dynamic faculty. Teachers are drawn from the faculty of HUSL, UWC and from the judiciary of the highest level courts in South Africa. Externship opportunities are also offered with public and private law offices in Cape Town. With this depth of expertise in multiple fields of law, students are provided with a varied and rewarding experience of travel, study, and scholarship.

Professor Ziyad Motala is the founder and director of this program. He not only teaches a comparative constitutional law course but he also organizes field trip experiences for the students. My wife and I were privileged to attend a dinner with Professor Motala and a number of students where we heard about the level of excellence that the program has attained. Course work included lectures by Professors Alice Gresham Bullock and Harold McDougall. Presentations were made by a Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. An inspirational and memorable trip to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, was part of the summer experience. And because students from UWC were active participants, many American students were able to visit the homes of South African students located in the townships that adjoin the city. In addition to the educational value of these experiences, many lifelong friendships were made.

Howard University has many programs that involve study abroad. These programs are consistent with the goal of the university’s president and trustees to internationalize our offerings. As one assesses these programs, it is clear that the Howard Law School summer study abroad program in South Africa is among the best. For more about the program, visit the South Africa Program Web site.

updated: August 22, 2011