By Aaron Searle
The first two Jordanian judges to ever study at an American university will spend this year at BYU”s J. Reuben Clark Law School in an effort to improve the Jordanian judicial system.
“It is a goal for the Jordanian judiciary to improve our procedures and our legal system,” Judge Mohammed Al Nasser said. “So it”s a good idea for the Jordanian judiciary to send Jordanian judges to the United States to see what the aspects of the American legal system are, and to see how it will fit with the Jordanian system. We can then improve our system by taking back the positive aspects of the American legal system.”
Al Nasser and his colleague, Judge Ali Al Museimi, are participating in the law school”s “LLM” or Master of Laws program for foreign lawyers, a year-long program designed to help foreign law scholars obtain their master”s degrees in comparative American law.
“They come to learn American law, and it”s designed for them to go back to their countries and use whatever they”ve learned to help their country,” said Gaelynn Kuchar, admissions director for the law school, about the LLM program.
The two judges are not the only foreign students participating in the law school”s LLM program. There are in fact six foreign scholars involved this year, but Al Nasser and Al Museimi are the only two here with the help of a unique scholarship from BYU.
This is the first year of the scholarship, created by the International Vice President”s Office, and will allow two Jordanian judges to come study at the law school every year.
Though the plan right now is that the scholarship will last for the next five years, if it works well it could carry on indefinitely, said Erlend Peterson, associate international vice president.
BYU”s relationship with Jordan began some 20 years ago, and led to the birth of this scholarship, Peterson said.
“The ambassador of Jordan visited BYU back in 1985 and indicated that he would like to see Jordanian students attend Brigham Young University because of the high standards that BYU has,” he said.
Since then, many BYU departments, including the School of Nursing and the civil engineering department, have worked side by side with Jordanian scholars, Peterson said.
Though the Jordanian Judges who have and will receive this scholarship will gain from their experience here at BYU, they also give a unique experience to the students they study along side.
“These individuals come in as very seasoned legal scholars, lawyers, trained judges and sitting judges,” Peterson said. “So you have in these individuals someone who adds a very interesting dimension to any class they”re in, because they can talk from experience.”