Legal Globalization: Botswana & South Africa | School of Law | SIU

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Legal Globalization: Botswana & South Africa

Students at Botswana Court

In this course, you will learn the fascinating histories of South Africa and Botswana and their important role in the modern global political and economic system, meet their dynamic people, and experience their unforgettable natural beauty and wildlife.

Most of the news that the average American hears from Africa is terribly imbalanced, overlooking its great success stories and emerging bright future.The continent is home to an increasing number of democratic and economic success stories, a huge rising middle class, rapidly increasing amounts of foreign investment, and stands poised to become an economic powerhouse.

South Africa and Botswana are two countries that embody the good news from Africa. They have overcome great historical challenges, largely through the rule of law. They are thus perfect topics of study for law students.

Botswana is one of the world’s great development success stories. When it became independent from Britain in the late 1960s, it was a pastoral society with a largely cattle-based economy and just one-half mile of paved road. Today, it is a modern, educated, rapidly growing, middle income country. It managed this transition through an unbroken record of peace and stability, fair and free democratic elections, extremely low corruption, and remarkably wise stewardship of natural resources (particularly diamond wealth and wildlife). However, it has also faced tremendous challenges, including one of the world’s highest HIV infection rates. Botswana offers numerous lessons for confronting and managing modern problems.

Twenty years ago, South Africa experienced a non-violent revolution as it emerged from the racial oppression of the Apartheid system to become a vibrant, multi-racial democracy. Its constitution is heralded as a model for modern constitutions. Its remarkable Truth and Reconciliation process facilitated a peaceful transition, allowing it to pardon and move past the seemingly unforgiveable and unforgettable. Since then, South Africa has emerged as a leading nation and economy. It still faces great challenges, but today’s Rainbow Nation enjoys peace and economic success that only a few imagined and dreamed of thirty years ago.

Participating students will spend the fall semester learning about the history, culture, legal systems, economic development, and natural resource management of these remarkable countries. During Winter Break 2016, the class will travel to Botswana and South Africa. Half of the trip will be spent in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, with the remainder of the time divided between time in Johannesburg, the capital of South Africa, a safari in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, and a possible trip to Cape Town.

Although the schedule of activities will not be finalized until shortly before our departure, we expect that the study trip will include: meetings with human rights lawyers and judges in South Africa and Botswana, visits to the Museum of Apartheid in Johannesburg, the High Court in Botswana, and the offices of Debswana (Botswana’s major diamond mining operations), discussions with business lawyers and officials in Botswana, a visit to Mokolodi game reserve near Gaborone, and a lecture by a park ranger regarding the problem of poaching.

The safari in Kruger National Park will include guided morning and evening game drives, a 2-hour morning bush walk guided by rangers, and educational activities to investigate natural resource management issues

Read the Student Blog from the 2015 visit.

See the Brochure for the 2015-16 course.