The Rule of Law Institute, a program inspired by work at Loyola’s John Felice Rome Center (JFRC), is coming to Chicago, officials announced last year.
The institute will be a part of Loyola’s School of Law and is designed to engage people throughout the university in finding solutions to global issues, according to a Dec. 10 email from the Office of the President.
The work of the Institute is intended to “bring about social, racial, political, economic, and environmental change,” according to the School of Law website.
“The rule of law really underlies all political, economic and social good because it ensures equal access and responsibility to the law, accountability due process and transparency,” Paul Kantwill, executive director of the Rule of Law Institute, told The Phoenix.
The institute builds on Loyola’s Rule of Law for Development program (PROLAW), which was created about 11 years ago and is offered at JFRC, according to Dr. Michael J. Kaufman, dean of the School of Law.
The idea of that program was to bring about 25 students from developing countries to JFRC each year and educate them about the rule of law in order for students to apply this knowledge in their home countries.
The Rule of Law Institute expands the PROLAW program beyond where it started to a global scale.
“It’s imperative to build those structures from Rome in America and spread the word about its work,” Kaufman said.
When creating the Institute, the founders wanted to expand upon the ideas of PROLAW and have a global effect by including world-class scholars and outside racial and social justice organizations under one organization, according to Kantwill.
The Rule of Law Institute will include the already existing PROLAW program as well as three additional centers that will work together to research and then turn that work into legislation and real-world solutions, according to Kantwill.
These centers “will complement the curricular work of the PROLAW,” according to the School of Law website.
Kantwill said the Center for Applied Research will do research in multiple areas, and the Center for Policy, Legislation and Governance will use that research to implement solutions into policy, legislation and government documents. The third center, the Center for Strategic Engagement and Global Partnerships, will work with both international and domestic organizations to implement the solutions created by the other centers.
The Institute will include the students in PROLAW as well faculty from other schools and colleges at Loyola, such as the Quinlan School of Business and School of Environmental Sustainability. The Institute also will collaborate with outside researchers, students and research fellows from Loyola and other places and “anyone else who wants to work with us to tackle these issues,” according to Kantwill.
Kantwill explained that he anticipates the work that schools are doing on specific issues to filter down to undergraduate students and allow them to be involved with the Institute. The Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health, for example, will work with the Institute on the issue of access to healthcare and immunizations, and this work can include undergraduates who can work with professors to research the topic.
“What makes our institute so unique is not only do we have all these great interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary partners, but we also have the ability to loop in organizations from the outside the university to look at things like economic issues, healthcare, environmental issues, post-conflict governance, social justice and equality, education,” Kaufman said.
The Institute’s founding was made possible by a $6 million donation by Barry McCabe, a member of Loyola’s Board of Trustees. McCabe is the retired co-founder and president of Hometown America, a real estate management company, and now works in real estate investments.
“For my whole life I’ve been passionate about the rule of law,” McCabe told The Phoenix. “As time went on and I got older I knew I wanted to do something about promoting the rule of law,” McCabe said.
McCabe’s gift will cover resources for faculty, programming, collaboration with governments and non-governmental organizations, as well as other partners around the world, according to the Dec. 10 email.
“I hope that [the Institute] helps people understand the meaning of the rule of law and why it is important,” McCabe said.
While there is no designated space for the Institute at this time, Kantwill said he envisions it will have a physical space, most likely in downtown Chicago, once it becomes more practical with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The establishment of the Rule of Law Institute reiterates Loyola’s commitment to social and scientific issues and will likely put the school on the map for this kind of work, according to Kaufman.
“The time couldn’t be more right to do this,” Kaufman said.