The idea of gathering IBJ Fellows, the backbone of the organization’s programs, had been forming for quite some time…it is now reality! From June 8th until June 11th, Abhijit Datta (Fellow from West Bengal, India), Ajay Verma (Fellow from New Delhi, India), Astère Muyango (Fellow from Burundi), Bosco Bugingo (Future Fellow from Rwanda), Innocent Maja (Fellow from Zimbabwe) and Ouk Vandeth (Fellow from Cambodia) will spend a week at IBJ’s Headquarters in Geneva sharing experiences, challenges, best practices, discussing their vision of the criminal justice system and tightening the bounds linking them around IBJ’s mission and vision.

We know from our experience that most criminal defense lawyers feel isolated by the challenging work they do. Not only do our fellows restlessly scour their countries’ prisons and courts to identify disempowered accused and make sure their basic legal rights are upheld, but they also courageously lead ambitious country programs, whose success require energy, determination, and talent. It is our duty to arm them with the skills, confidence and support they need to best face the challenges along the road. The Fellow Summit will aim at creating this supportive environment in which they feel listened to, valued and assisted in their mission.

In particular, the fellows will follow an intensive training on a variety of leadership, communication, negotiation, organizational, fundraising, and project management skills that will lead to forming strategies reflecting IBJ’s vision and meeting the specific needs of their countries’ criminal justice system. Team-building exercises and recreational activities will create synergy between fellows and other IBJ staff.

Prior to the summit, the Fellows will be celebrated at IBJ’s First Jubilee for Justice to take place in Bern on June 6th, 2009.

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