ASU Law launches nation’s first Rule of Law & Governance Program

February 24, 2016

The world is facing complex and interlinked security, environmental and economic challenges. Without a stronger rule of law in countries around the globe, not only will citizens in repressive countries continue to see their basic human rights violated, but also we will not be able to achieve greater global stability and security.

The new Rule of Law & Governance Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University is addressing these challenges. This unique program will prepare new generations of young lawyers for jobs that promote justice, human rights, sustainable economic development, and equality under the law across the globe. Ambassador Clint Williams from Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU The new Rule of Law & Governance Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University is led by Clint Williamson, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. Download Full Image

The program, with classes in Phoenix and Washington, D.C., is led by Ambassador Clint Williamson, who has served as a state and federal prosecutor, a White House policy maker, a United Nations war crimes investigator and prosecutor, a senior official in peacekeeping missions, and as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. The director of the program is Professor Julia Fromholz, who most recently worked for two years at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, as the Senior Advisor, Rule of Law.

“At any given time, there are thousands of lawyers working around the world doing international development projects in the rule of law,” Williamson said. “But there has not been a comprehensive training program at any law school to teach lawyers how to do this type of work.”

The Rule of Law & Governance Program offers Master of Laws (LLM) and Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degrees, while juris doctor (JD) students can supplement their degree with an emphasis in rule of law and governance. The first group of students, composed of eight JDs and one LLM, started taking classes in Washington, D.C., this winter.

“I have enjoyed immensely the opportunity to teach this semester, and the ASU Law students in my class have been fantastic. Along with the U.S. students, we have students from countries as diverse as Brazil and Kenya,” Williamson said. “As a group, they have been very engaged in the discussions, and the seminar format has allowed for a very lively class dynamic.”

Third-year JD candidate Brian Musa of Kenya is among the first cohort of students taking part in the program. He is externing at the consulting firm Democracy International, which works to promote free and legitimate elections through monitoring, election administration strengthening, and supporting democratic political parties.

“All the classes under the Rule of Law & Governance Program are exciting because they are completely related to international development,” Musa said. “I get to implement the knowledge I receive in class directly at work and vice versa. We are also studying current issues in select countries that have an impact on U.S. foreign policy, and it’s fascinating to see the events unfold.”

That type of experience underscores the dynamic hands-on component of the program that will work in tandem with the academic module.

“Almost all of the students taking classes in Washington this spring are planning to stay for summer internships or post-graduation jobs,” Fromholz said. “As the program grows, students will also have the opportunity to do field work in overseas programs.”

Williamson has dubbed the field work aspect of the Rule of Law & Governance Program as a “Peace Corps for lawyers.” The goal is to have ASU Law students travel to countries in transition to help develop or strengthen the rule of law in those nations.

“We want our graduates to go out into the world and do great work, and it will be personally fulfilling that ASU Law has been a catalyst for improving people’s lives and strengthening our world,” he said.

It is fitting that ASU Law has a Rule of Law & Governance Program, as the school’s namesake, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.), has devoted her time and expertise to advocating for rule of law around the world. In addition, the O’Connor Justice Prize recognizes people who have made extraordinary contributions to advancing rule of law, justice and human rights, and to honor Justice O’Connor’s legacy.

For more information on ASU Law’s Rule of Law & Governance Program, visit

Director of Communications, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law


Images from ASU’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera featured in new exhibit at Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

February 24, 2016

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will open its newest exhibition, “A New Moon Rises: New Views from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera,” Feb. 26, displaying dramatic landscapes of the moon captured by Arizona State University’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.

These breathtaking images showcase everything from Apollo landing sites to majestic mountains that rise out of the darkness of the lunar poles. The exhibition will be open through December 2016 at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. North Pole of the Moon The North Pole of the moon. Photo by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University Download Full Image

Mark Robinson, professor and principal investigator of LROC at ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, partnered with National Air and Space Museum staff members to make the exhibit possible. Robinson’s team includes undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students with backgrounds in science, engineering and IT. It is this combination of skill sets and talent that are needed to operate LROC’s high-resolution Narrow Angle Camera and lower-resolution Wide Angle Camera and to produce the images featured in this exhibition.

“To me the LROC images reveal the moon as a mysterious and beautiful place, a whole world just three days away,” said Robinson. “It is my hope that visitors will walk away from the exhibition excited about the moon. Continued lunar exploration will answer many fundamental science questions, provide natural resources and renew our sense of place in the universe. A return to the moon is our pathway to human exploration of Mars and beyond, and LROC is leading the way.”

“A New Moon Rises” is divided into six themes — Global Views, Exploration Sites, Discoveries, Vistas, Topography and Craters. These themes helped to determine which of the thousands of images taken by the LROC would be chosen for display. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see new images from LROC projected on a large screen. The new images will be updated daily. The exhibition includes a display of flight spares of the LROC cameras, and a large 3-D model of a young lunar crater.

The 61 large prints in the exhibition reveal a celestial neighbor that is surprisingly dynamic, full of grandeur and wonder. The more than a million images from LROC are reshaping our understanding of the moon. They reveal newly formed impact craters, recent volcanic activity, and a crust being fractured by the shrinking of a still cooling interior.

“Most people do not realize that the moon is still a very active place, and that it has breathtaking landscapes that are both familiar and alien. All of this is evident from the images LROC has taken and that are displayed in this exhibition,” said Tom Watters, senior scientist at the Smithsonian’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies and curator of the exhibition.

NASA launched the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2009, and the mission is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Part of its primary mission was to help prepare NASA to send astronauts back to the moon. Its other mission is scientific research, exploring our nearest celestial neighbor in ways never before possible.

The exhibition is made possible by the support of NASA and Arizona State University.

The National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s research, collections, exhibitions and programs focus on aeronautical history, space history and planetary studies. The building is open from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. every day (closed Dec. 25).

Karin Valentine

Media Relations & Marketing manager, School of Earth and Space Exploration