May 29, 2008
Professor to survey attitudes toward Serbia’s legal education reforms
Northeastern University Professor Thomas H. Koenig, Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and a founding member of Northeastern’s Law, Policy and Society Ph.D. program, has been recognized by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. As a result, Koenig will spend the 2008 fall semester at the University of Belgrade School of Law, Serbia’s largest and most historic institution of higher learning, where he will teach, lecture and conduct research focusing on Serbia’s progress in bringing its legal regime into conformity with the requirements of the European Union.
The Fulbright award will provide Koenig with the ideal platform to conduct an extensive study of the educational reforms that Serbia has adopted as it continues its rapid progress toward legal harmonization with the European Union and the globalized world economy.
"This is an exciting time to study the transformation of Serbian legal education," said Koenig. "Legal developments in the United States, even in dynamic fields such as cyberlaw, move at a glacial pace compared to the rate at which Serbian law has been revolutionized over the past decade. Serbia is now engaged in the difficult process of creating the legal and educational infrastructure necessary to become a full member of the European community. Legal education is being updated to comply with the pan-European Bologna Process."
During his time at the University of Belgrade, Koenig plans to conduct an anonymous questionnaire survey of law school faculty and a sample of students on their views concerning the impact of recent educational reforms. Respondents will be asked about the aspects of legal education that are operating smoothly and what remains to be accomplished.
"My questionnaire will cast a broad net because the participants will teach and practice in diverse areas of the law," added Koenig. "A specialist in international business transactions can be expected to have quite different concerns than someone whose research focuses on human rights. The reforms desired by an expert in privatization will be quite different than one who deals principally with social security issues or tort law."
The flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, widely known as the Fulbright Program, is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” With this goal as a starting point, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 279,000 participants—chosen for their leadership potential—with the opportunity to observe each others’ political, economic, educational and cultural institutions, to exchange ideas and to embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world.
The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board was established by Congress for the purpose of supervising the Fulbright Program and certain programs authorized by the Fulbright-Hays Act and for the purpose of selecting students, scholars, teachers, trainees, and other persons to participate in the educational exchange programs.
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Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is a private research university located in the heart of Boston. Northeastern is a leader in interdisciplinary research, urban engagement, and the integration of classroom learning with real-world experience. The university's distinctive cooperative education program, where students alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of paid work in fields relevant to their professional interests and major, is one of the largest and most innovative in the world. The University offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate in six undergraduate colleges, eight graduate schools, and two part-time divisions. For more information, please visit www.northeastern.edu.