June 26, 2000
Volume 52, No. 36
Donation helps Sarajevo school
By Eric Rangus
Adding to an effort begun last year, Emory Law School students, professors and the Law Library all pitched in to help out a recovering university in southeastern Europe.
Devastated by war in the early 1990s, the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina not only had its physical campus destroyed, but also lost much of its teaching materials, such as library books.
In response, Emory has donated 46 boxes' worth of law texts numbering several hundred volumes to the university's library, the second consecutive year that Emory has provided such a donation. The books consist mainly of treatises, textbooks, trade journals, case books and traditional library materials, since the library is basically rebuilding its collection from the start.
Many of the donations came from students, and law student Rodger Moore led the campaign encouraging students to turn in texts they couldn't resell or ones they did not need. Many came from third-year students who graduated in May.
The law school has several connections to the region. For instance, law Dean Woody Hunter has traveled to Eastern Europe roughly a dozen times in the last 10 years, most recently for a two-week stint at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary.
"Much of the focus of the law faculties in [Eastern European] countries now is in the education of their students in Western legal systems," Hunter said. This is necessary, he said, because of the political and economic changes involved with Eastern Europe's shift from a centralized, planned economy to a private market economy.
"This required some additional re-education of lawyers in their ways of thinking about various kinds of transactions and also a change in the role of lawyers within the society," Hunter continued.
Emory is working in partnership with the Open Society Institute, a creation of New-York-based philanthropist George Soros, who is a Hungarian émigré. Soros also had a hand in the creation of the CEU, which has a significant working relationship with Emory.
After the war ended in Bosnia, the Soros Foundations Network contributed greatly to the rebuilding of the University of Sarajevo, which had suffered heavy damage. The physical portion of the campus has for the most part been rebuilt, but the university is still lacking materials. At the request of CEU staff, the law school sent books last year to help re-establish the library in Sarajevo. This year's donation is larger than last year's; Emory also made a large donation in 1999, to a university in South Africa.
Emory's involvement with the University of Sarajevo is not limited to just books. Hunter, Tibor Varady, a Hungarian-born, Yugoslav-raised professor on the law faculties of both Emory and CEU, and law Professor Harold Berman will spend the first 10 days of July at the University of Sarajevo holding an intense seminar for about 25 current lawyers in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This is the second year that Hunter has participated in such a conference at the university.
The CEU, which opened in 1991, was begun with a great deal of help from Soros and his organization. It now stands strongly on its own with almost 800 students attending its campuses in Budapest and Warsaw, Poland. About 70-80 of those are law students.
Hunter has nothing but complimentary words for the school. "They're superb students and they have an excellent faculty. They are really training a generation of top-quality leaders for both the private and public sectors," he said.
"We will continue to help so long as we can be useful," Hunter said. So, provided the CEU and the Open Society Institute have a presence in Sarajevo, Emory will have one as well.
However, Hunter also said the institute's efforts in Sarajevo are not progressing as rapidly as they are in other parts of Eastern Europe, so the possibility of Soros pulling out of Bosnia is a real one if things don't improve soon.