Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Taylor has received the American Bar Association’s 2016-2017 International Rule of Law Pro Bono Award for his continued work with the legal community in Tajikistan. Taylor accepted the award on behalf of the Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office during the American Bar Association’s Annual Rule of Law Initiative Luncheon in New York City this past August.
“This award is the culmination of something that started nearly a decade ago here in Canyon County,” said Prosecutor Taylor. “From the Commissioners to the court system and throughout the entire County, there were a number of individuals involved in bringing this together. I’m humbled to receive this extraordinary honor on behalf of my Office and everyone else who helped make it happen.”
Prosecutor Taylor has been working with the Tajikistan legal community through a partnership that began in 2010 between the Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the American Bar Association (ABA), and Tajikistan judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys in an effort to help them better understand the American legal system and garner knowledge to take back to their home country to help implement their new criminal code.
The partnership evolved even further in 2016 after Taylor developed a program and work manual called “Train the Professor” that focused on Tajikistani instructors of legal education. The purpose of the comprehensive training program was to help create a group of law school professors who are passionate about the rule of law and provide them with the basic skills on how to teach it. As part of the new program, Taylor made two trips to Tajikistan to conduct a series of trainings. The Tajikistani participants then came to Idaho for the second part of the training, which allowed them to build on their education and learn additional skills and techniques on the rule of law. Once again, numerous partners came to support this program including Canyon County, Concordia University School of Law, and the University of Idaho School of law.
A central theme of Taylor’s training is the “cycle of instruction,” which aims to create and implement an effective learning environment. The cycle posits that learning is best promoted when participants can acquire skills in the context of real-world problems, incorporate prior knowledge as a foundation for new skills and then demonstrate and reflect on their newly acquired skills. Participants put this into action when they designed and delivered a presentation to their fellow trainees where they applied the learning techniques taught throughout the course.
Training participants remained engaged throughout the training sessions and are eager to use their new skills during the upcoming academic year. One of the participants, Tojinisso Khabirova said, “I very much liked the diversified approach of the training. Taylor provided us with both practical approaches and professional advice, as well as with information for the future, which can be used while improving myself as a teacher. The blurring of (the) distinction between teacher (Taylor) and students (participants) really helps a lot to learn and apply knowledge at same time.”
Newer professors, such as Evgeniya Sotnikova, added that the training also provided significant value to their work. “I have very little teaching experience, therefore this training was an important discovery for myself. These three days were full of practical knowledge on how to conduct classes to attract my students’ attention. This training proves that teaching is always about looking for new approaches (to) self-perfection of both teacher and student.”
During his acceptance speech in New York, Taylor said, “My Tajik colleagues and friends have truly taught me that language is the gateway to the world. I hope that I have shared a different type of language with them – the language of adult learning – so that they can educate the next generation as to the importance of the rule of law.”
Taylor was one of three recipients of the ABA’s International Rule of Law Pro Bono Award for 2016-2017. During his time working with the Tajikistan legal community, he’s provided more than 400 hours of pro bono work on his own personal time with an estimated value of over $200,000. The other two recipients were international law firm Hogan Lovells, LLP, based in London, England, and Alex Rossmiller, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
About the ABA Rule of Law Initiative
The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) is an international development program that promotes justice, economic opportunity and human dignity through the rule of law.
The ABA established the program in 2007 to consolidate its five overseas rule of law programs, including the Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (CEELI), which it created in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
For more than 25 years, and through our work in more than 100 countries, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and our partners have sought to strengthen legal institutions, to support legal professionals, to foster respect for human rights and to advance public understanding of the law and of citizen rights.
ABA ROLI has roughly 500 professional staff working in the United States and abroad, including a cadre of short- and long-term volunteers and legal specialists, who in fiscal year 2015 alone contributed $1.2 million in pro bono legal assistance.