Zeeshan Tahir (2012-13)
Team Lead of Alternative Dispute Resolution,
The Asia Foundation
Training as a Rule of Law Advisor with PROLAW broadened my knowledge and opened new doors for me. The extensive training during the program made me realize there was enormous work that still needed to be done to improve administration of justice systems in Pakistan. The program design was unique in terms of jurisprudential philosophy as well as practical examples and case studies of existing models tailored in local context in different countries. I had the opportunity to learn from people who came from different parts of the world in an engaging program where lessons, class discussions, experience sharing and group work equipped me with effective tools developed by international rule of law actors. I was able to see “Access to Justice and Rule of Law” with a macro perspective. Learning about how the world conceived rule of law, aid effectiveness and comparative analysis, project design and management altogether helped me think out of the standard box.
Following my graduation from PROLAW, I started envisaging legal system with innovation and creativity. Working as part of legal fraternity, I realized I was concerned about ameliorating the system that was cumbersome, ineffective and perhaps discarded marginalized segments in a society. In addition to my private legal practice, I have been working as a Rule of Law Advisor for NGOs, bi-lateral donor agencies including the United Nations, German Development Cooperation (GIZ), Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Asian Development Bank (ADB). Training during PROLAW empowered me to lead justice sector and human rights related advocacy and campaigning at local as well as policy levels. PROLAW fine-honed my research skills and enabled me to write meaningful concept notes and advocacy campaigns that contributed to impacting the real human life stories. One example is the One Billion Rising (OBR) for Justice Campaign I led in Pakistan. Similarly, I conducted various assessments ranging from the plight of vulnerable groups to institutional capacity assessments of rights-based organizations. The training and coursework of PROLAW enabled me to cultivate distinction in the rule of law industry in Pakistan. Currently, I have the portfolio of working as a Team Lead, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for The Asia Foundation. I am working on mainstreaming ADR for equitable Access to Justice (A2J) in Pakistan and PROLAW made me capable of undertaking this important work.