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AUIS Announces New Law Degree Program, Collaboration with Stanford Law School to Continue

American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) will offer a new Bachelor’s degree in law after receiving approval from the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, University President Bruce Walker Ferguson announced today.     The new AUIS Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Law degree will be awarded to students completing a rigorous five-year course of study that includes advanced language study in Arabic and English together with extensive practical experience from internships.   Building on the popular law minor at AUIS, the new major will offer university-level law courses in both English and Arabic, as well as a broad array of courses in the natural and social sciences that are part of the University’s renowned Core Curriculum. The legal studies program at AUIS has been in development in collaboration with Stanford Law School, the number two law degree program in the United States.  Last spring, students from AUIS represented Iraq in the final round of the international Jessup Moot Court competition, held in Washington, D.C.   “We thank the Ministry for approving this innovative new academic program, and look forward to continuing our longstanding collaboration with Stanford,” President Ferguson stated. “The new major is designed to provide our graduates with excellent employment opportunities in Iraq and its Kurdistan region, particularly with employers who require their lawyers to have a solid understanding of international law as well as national and regional law.”  Employers value the English language proficiency and work ethic of AUIS graduates, resulting in a high percentage (81%) of AUIS graduates who are in graduate school or employed, predominantly in the private sector.   Professor Erik G. Jensen, Director of the Rule of Law Program at Stanford Law School and faculty member of Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), welcomed the news of the law major. “We’re delighted,” he said. “We’ve been working in partnership [with AUIS] for the last six or seven years, first offering a couple of classes, then offering a minor in law, and now a major in law.”   Jensen added that his students at Stanford Law School have already begun writing working papers to support the curriculum design of the new B.A. at AUIS.   Applications for the new law degree are now being accepted.  Prospective students may contact the AUIS admissions department at [email protected]

AUIS Jessup team recognized at Washington reception

  A reception was held on April 5, 2018 to recognize the AUIS moot court team that traveled to Washington, DC to participate in the 59th annual Jessup International Moot Court Competition.   Some 25 guests attended the evening reception, including AUIS alumni, staff, and supporters, in addition to members of the board of trustees for the University and American University of Iraq Foundation (AUIF), and Iraqi Ambassador the U.S., H.E. Dr. Fareed Yasseen, and KRG Representative to the U.S., Ms. Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman.      Mr. Thor Halvorson, who is a member of both the University and Foundation boards, hosted and sponsored the reception. Mr. Halvorson expressed the pride everyone in the room and at the University felt for this amazing moot court team, which overcame great odds to win the Iraqi national title and represent the country on the international stage.   AUIS professor Dr. Barin Kayaoglu joined the team in Washington as faculty advisor after temporarily taking over for Prof. Ali Ahmed who led the team though the national qualifying rounds in Erbil. Dr. Kayaoglu expressed thanks to Professors Jeffrey Konczol and Ali Ahmed for their work preparing the Jessup team for the national and international competition. He also thanked the Stanford University Law School and Erik Jensen, Director of Stanford’s Rule of Law program, for their ongoing partnership with AUIS in legal education and help in establishing AUIS’s law minor.    AUIS Senior and moot team member Mohammed Nasih Mohammed shared with guests the importance of AUIS to himself and his classmates.  Mr. Mohammed credited critical thinking, instruction in English, and AUIS’s liberal arts education for the tremendously positive and powerful education experience that AUIS students enjoy.    Liza O’Connor-Stroud, AUIS VP Advancement thanked the international law firm, Amereller, for its corporate sponsorship of this event. Ms. O’Connor-Stroud shared with event attendees that this is a particularly exciting time at AUIS as the University is seeking a number of new undergraduate majors: Law, Architectural Engineering, Software Engineering, and Translation Science, in addition to a Masters degree program in Information Technology.   Eleanor Moulakis, widow of the late AUIS President Athanasios Moulakis, closed out the formal part of the program by expressing how proud her husband would be of the moot court team’s success and how delighted he would be about the progress AUIS is making in establishing a law program.    

Stanford delegation visits AUIS

  A delegation from Stanford University’s Law School (SLS) visited the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) from 26-29 March, 2018 to strengthen ties between the two institutions and continue collaboration on AUIS’ minor in Law.   AUIS facilitated meetings between the visiting delegation and legal stakeholders from the public, private, and civil society sectors in the Kurdistan Region. The focus of those meetings revolved around legal developments in the fields of gender law, commercial law, and labor law.   AUIS has collaborated with SLS over the past five years and has received support from the school when establishing the Law minor currently offered to undergraduate students.  

AUIS students to represent Iraq at the 59th Jessup International Moot Court Competition

  SULAIMANI, February 19, 2018 - Students from the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) will represent Iraq at the 59th Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in Washington, DC this April after receiving the first place prize during the national qualifying rounds on February 12. The Jessup Competition is the largest moot court competition in the world with participants from 645 law schools in 95 countries. Teams will represent fictional nation states in disputes before a panel of judges in a model of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nations’ principal judicial organ. Led by faculty advisor Prof. Ali Ahmed, AUIS students Linda A. Alkarim, Mohammed Fatih, Mohammed Nasih, Rawezh Othman, and Shatoo Diyar Bakir competed against three other teams before a panel of ten judges in the Iraqi qualifying rounds at Erbil’s Salahaddin University. “I’m so impressed with the way our students performed,” Prof. Ahmed said. “The team has overcome so many challenges and came out on top against some of the best law students in the country.” This year marks the first time AUIS students have participated in the Jessup Competition, while the University previously hosted qualifying rounds in 2016. ### AUIS is the first non-government, not-for-profit, American-style institution of higher education in Iraq. Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, it is also the first non-governmental university in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region to be accredited by both the Federal Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government. The University welcomes students, 35% of whom are women, from Iraq’s diverse communities, including Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, Yazidis and Christians as well as Syrian refugees. Follow AUIS on Twitter or Facebook, or visit for the latest news and details about the University. If you would like to help support the University and its students, please visit the American University of Iraq Foundation's giving site or contact Liza O’Connor-Stroud, Vice President Advancement, at [email protected] For media requests, please contact Delawit Mesfin, Director of Communications, at [email protected]

AUIS Hosts Iraq National Round of Jessup Law Competition

February 5, 2016 - The American University of Iraq Sulaimani (AUIS) hosted the Iraq National Round of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition between law teams from University of Sulaimani and the University of Duhok. This event was a collaborative effort organized by the International Law Students Association (ILSA), Right Development Foundation (RDF), and the Women’s Legal Assistance (WOLA). In the opening ceremony, Salah Siddiq, the organizer of the competition, spoke a few words about the Jessup Law Competition and lamented the fact that this year due to the financial crisis in the region many universities could not participate. He then introduced Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin, a former chief judge of the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal or formally known as Iraqi Special Tribunal, and the former chief judge at the trial of the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein. Mr. Amin explained competitions such as Jessup are important for law students, as they prepare them to take on challenges and forces them to leave their comfort zone. He believes the new generation of law students in Kurdistan, if presented with the right materials and guidance, can win the White & Case International Rounds, which is a culminating event of the Jessup Season. The event started in the morning and lasted until late in the afternoon. Amongst the judges who participated voluntarily were Sherizaan Minwalla, fellow at the Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) and human rights lawyer, and Thomas Donovan, founder and managing partner of Iraq Law Alliance. The competition ended with great success, with Sulaimani University being the winners. Participants and Judges were awarded with certificates of participation. The Philip C. Jessup Law Competition is an international and the world’s largest law moot competition, with participants from law school in more than 80 countries. The competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. One team is allowed to participate from every eligible school. Teams prepare oral and written pleadings arguing both the applicant and respondent positions of the case. Thousands of law students from around the world will work all year long on the season's Jessup Problem that will focus on the the legality of cyber-surveillance and cyber-attacks under international law. Most students must first compete in qualifying competitions (mostly held in January-March) to earn the right to advance to the White & Case International Rounds held every spring in Washington, D.C.

Jessup International Law Competition

Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition Iraq National Round Sulaimani University vs Duhok University Hosted at AUIS  AUIS is hosting the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition on February 4, 2016 -  one of the world's leading and most prestigious international law competitions. This is the 57th year of the Competition run by the International Law Students Association. The Competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. Teams prepare oral and written pleadings arguing both the applicant and respondent positions of the case. Students from the University of Sulaimani and University of Duhok will participate in the Competition tomorrow at AUIS. Five judges will preside over three moot courts throughout the day in rooms B-F2-31/33/35.  AUIS students are welcome to attend the moot courts and the opening and closing ceremonies in B-F2-39.  View the agenda in the pdf file below. 
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