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Scholar Addresses Philippine Jurists

From left, Nihal Jayawickrama, coordinator of the United Nations Strengthening Judicial Integrity project; Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide; Madhu Messenger, ABA- Asia (D.C. office); and USC professor Alison Dundes Renteln.

Alison Dundes Renteln, an expert in international law, human rights and the legal specialty of cultural defense, participated in a weeklong international conference in the Philippines in November.

Renteln, a professor of political science in USC College, taught judicial ethics as part of a symposium co-sponsored by the American Bar Association and the Philippine Judicial Academy.

On the second day of the conference, Renteln presented innovative teaching techniques to help law professors and judges teach the Philippines’ newly adopted judicial code.

“Law schools do not use interactive teaching techniques very much in the Philippines,” said Renteln, “so I tried to focus on this type of pedagogy.”

Demonstrating how to launch a class discussion with film vignettes, Renteln used video clips illustrating ethical issues that judges might encounter (acceptance of gifts, use of pejorative comments about marginalized groups). She also had judges role-play to demonstrate issues of bribery and sexual harassment.

Renteln said the symposium celebrated the adoption of a new judicial code based on the Bangalore Principles of Judicial conduct, which was drafted by the other foreign guest at the conference, Nihal Jayawickrama, coordinator of the United Nations Judicial Integrity project.

Renteln also attended a special luncheon arranged by Chief Justice Hilario Davide.

“It was also a pleasure to meet the justices on the Supreme Court,” Renteln said, noting that five of the 15 justices are women. The USC scholar also paid a courtesy call to the U.S. ambassador in the Philippines.

“It is a fascinating culture,” she said, “and I very much enjoyed my brief stay there.”

Scholar Addresses Philippine Jurists

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