Legal writing professors collect thousands of books to send to Africa

Seattle University School of Law legal writing professors who have taught in Africa collected nearly two tons of needed books for law schools in Africa. The group Academics Promoting the Pedagogy of Effective Advocacy in Law (APPEAL) organized a book drive to collect badly needed law books for African law schools. About 25 law schools around the country donated books.

While collecting them was not too difficult, getting them to Africa was an expensive endeavor. Legal Writing Associate Director Anne Enquist, who is on APPEAL's Book Committee, worked with her contacts at Boeing to arrange to have 111 boxes of books weighing nearly 3,400 pounds transported - for free - on a new Kenya Airways plane when Boeing delivered the plane to Nairobi. A small ceremony was held at Boeing Field to commemorate the loading of the last pallets of books onto Kenya Airway's newest Boeing jet.

"These U.S. law schools have essentially managed to send a small library of law books to Africa," Professor Enquist said. "We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the response our request for law books has generated. The generosity of the legal writing community of law professors exceeded our wildest expectations."

The School of Law and APPEAL are grateful to Boeing and Kenya Airways for making sure the books get where they are needed.

"It's very generous for Kenya Airways to add thousands of pounds of weight to their plane," Enquist said. "Boeing has been very helpful in coordinating logistics."

Visiting Professor Edwin Abuya, who is from Kenya, will help coordinate distribution of the books once they reach Nairobi with his colleague at Moi University, Henry Mutai. Books will be sent to law schools in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Malawi and Zambia.

"Currently, our students and staff are forced to learn and teach in an environment where access to online resources is virtually non-existent, thus the small number of books that we have are shared between very many students in cramped surroundings," Mutai said.

"Each and every book that we receive will be appreciated and will make a significant addition to our library resources," said Daniel R. Ruhweza, attorney and lecturer-at-law at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and the African APPEAL president. "The book donation will certainly go a long way in helping our students gain access to more legal materials from an international perspective."

Boeing and Kenya Airways have partnered on a number of projects related to enhancing education and training in East Africa. Boeing has contributed to new school construction in Kenya, conducted children's book drives and maintains an annual sponsorship of five Nairobi-area schools. Last year, Boeing and Kenya Airways jointly opened The Pride Centre, a training and leadership facility located outside Nairobi.

"We applaud Kenya Airways and this dedicated group of Seattle University law professors for leading this effort, and we're happy to have played a supporting role," said Boeing's Marty Bentrott, vice president of sales for The Middle East and Africa. "Part of our strong record of success with airlines throughout Africa is built on mutual trust and a commitment to actively pursue projects that bring real benefit in the countries where we do business."

APPEAL grew out of the Conference on the Pedagogy on Legal Writing for Academics in Africa, which was organized by Legal Writing Director Laurel Oates and Professor Mimi Samuel and held in Nairobi in March 2007. Samuel is co-president of APPEAL, and several legal writing professors from the law school serve on various boards.