The principal goals of the Peace Law Academy (PLA) curriculum are to provide students with a legal education and advocacy skills so that they can:
KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL SETS
The PLA curriculum focuses on developing and strengthening the following knowledge and skill sets:
As English is the primary language in the international community and most of the international law classes at PLA are taught in English by foreign legal professionals, English language skills are an essential foundation for PLA students. Therefore, the first month of the PLA curriculum focuses on intensively building and strengthening English language skills including grammar, vocabulary, legal terminology, speaking, reading, and writing. Following this intensive course, English courses take place everyday throughout the PLA curriculum.
At the beginning of the school year, students are given a diagnostic test to gauge English language skills. The results of this test serves as a means of dividing students into two English classes. Re-testing of students may take place at the discretion of the English professor.
Students gain a thorough knowledge of Burmese domestic law so that they can effectively navigate the domestic legal system and effect democratic change inside Burma. Domestic law courses focus on core components of Burmese law and actual judicial practices. Students are expected not only to be well versed in domestic law but also to critically analyze laws and the conformity of government actions with those laws.
Through a range of international law courses, students gain a strong understanding of international legal standards and mechanisms. Students can then apply this knowledge to advocate for democratic change in Burma through both international mechanisms and domestic reforms that bring Burmese laws and practices in accordance with international law. International law courses focus on a theoretical background of international law, international legal institutions, relevant case studies, and the available points of access to international legal institutions for human rights lawyers. Students are expected to critically analyze the strengths and weakness of international law and international legal mechanisms and are also asked to identify ways in which international law can be used to effect change inside Burma.
Government and Politics
In order to prepare students to navigate the changing political landscape inside Burma and in the international community, students learn the basics of political science with an emphasis on government structure, constitutionalism, and political ideologies and philosophies that have shaped various forms of government. Students are also expected to conduct a critical analysis of government and politics in Burma and a comparative analysis of government and politics in different countries.
Civil Society and Networking Skills
As a means of ensuring that students can effectively participate in civil society, students learn about the structure and function of democratic political organizations including civil society organizations and institutions. Students also learn networking skills with a focus on establishing and maintaining collaborative relationships between NGOs, civil society institutions, international organizations, government bodies, and donors. In addition, civil society and networking courses focus on building strong NGO administration and advocacy skills including grant writing and report writing.
In order to cultivate effective advocacy skills, students participate in trial skills competitions that focus on both written and oral advocacy. Students compete in mock trial and moot court competitions in both English and Burmese so that they can successfully advocate inside Burma and on the international level.
Legal Research and Writing
Legal research and writing skills are fundamental to effective advocacy for lawyers, NGO workers, and activists. Thus, a course on Legal Research and Writing focuses on building various skills including conducting research, using proper citations, using reliable sources, writing coherently and logically, tailoring writing styles to a specific audience, and disseminating findings to target audiences. Beyond this course, many other core courses incorporate legal research and writing assignments in order to solidify these skills.
The following list of courses comprises the core curriculum of PLA. Further courses, seminars, and trainings will be added to the PLA curriculum in accordance with student interest and the academic focus of available volunteer legal professionals and visiting scholars.
Courses Taught by International Professors
Courses Taught by National Professors
Governance and Administration of Peace Law Academy
The Board Members of the Peace Law Academy are responsible for enforcing school policies, developing a curriculum, teaching courses, and collaborating on the administration of the school.
Academic Board Members of the Peace Law Academy
Dr. Venkat Iyer, Associate Professor, University of Ulster, Ireland
Dr. David Fisher, Professor of Law, Stolkholm University, Sweden
Dr. David Williams, Professor of Law, Indiana University, USA
Dr. Susan Williams, Professor of Law, Indiana University, USA
U Thein Oo, B.A., LL.B., M.A., Chairperson of BLC
U Aung Htoo, R.L., M.A., General Secretary of BLC
B. K. Sen, Senior Advocate, India
Management Committee Members of the Peace Law Academy
U Myint Thein, Chairperson
U Aung Myint, Member of BLC
Nai Lawe Ong, Member of BLC
Ma Myat Myat Aung, Member of BLC
Financial Committee Members of the Peace Law Academy
U Nyunt Lwin, Chairperson
U Aung Myint, Member
U Than Nai Htwe, Member
Daw Moe Moe Aung, Cashier
Ma Ei Phyu, Accountant
Maung Naing, Auditor
The Chairman of BLC is the Headmaster of PLA and serves multiple key roles. First, the Headmaster is a professor of law and teaches courses to students in addition to developing academic curriculum. Second, the Headmaster is the lead administrator and ensures that administrative staff at the school has adequate direction and guidance. Third, the Headmaster manages all staff including the Student Supervisors, Professors, and supporting staff.
The Student Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that student needs are met, implementing PLA school policies and serving as a liaison between PLA and BLC. Students with academic, administrative, or other concerns should discuss their issue with Student Supervisors who will then work with students, teachers, and the Headmaster of PLA to develop an appropriate resolution.