Mentoring Afghan lawyers … and future leaders


A Navy lawyer has been helping mentor five young Afghan law students from Balkh University while preparing to take part in the prestigious Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition.

Lt. Megan Romigh and Department of State Foreign Service Officer Jeff Arnold joined a USAID team that provided “support and mentoring” to the team in late 2011, according to Arnold.

“I’m a New Yorker,” Romigh says on the tape. “I lived in Manhattan on 9/11. So it was very important for me to come here and especially with this team in particular, to actually work so closely with these Afghan citizens who are the future of this country.”

Students from more than 500 law schools in 80 countries are taking part in the competition, now in its 53rd year. It’s a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. One team is allowed to participate from every eligible school. Teams prepare oral and written pleadings arguing both the applicant and respondent positions of the case.

This season’s Jessup Problem will address the legality of the destruction of a cultural site.

The regional and national rounds are being held this month and next; participants compete to advance to the international round in Washington, D.C. in late March.

“They’re going to be the next generation of leaders for their country,” Arnold says on the tape. “They’re going to be the judges, the prosecutors and, perhaps in some cases, the governors or members of Parliament for their country.”

“It’s an investment that we know is going to pay off.”


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