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ABA Rule of Law Initiative Annual Report 2019


The American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) is pleased to launch its 2019 Annual Report—celebrating our 30th anniversary. 

Founded in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall, ABA ROLI was initially conceived as the Central and Eastern European Law Initiative (CEELI). The co-founders of CEELI/ROLI are Homer E. Moyer, Jr. and the late-Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, and the first Executive Director was Mark S. Ellis.​ In 1991, CEELI opened its first field office in Bulgaria. CEELI’s first full-time “Liaison,” William F. Meyer of Boulder, Colorado, took up residence in Sofia, Bulgaria.

A pioneer in the field of democracy assistance, CEELI’s legislative and legal support helped Eastern European countries’ efforts to design new constitutions and laws as they built democratic societies. By 2003, the ABA launched law initiatives in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa. And it was in 2007 when the ABA formally merged the regional law initiatives into the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI). ​

2020 marks the 30th Anniversary of the founding of CEELI/ROLI. In those 30 years, ABA CEELI/ROLI has worked in more than 100 countries connecting more than 8,000 volunteer lawyers and judges to rule of law programs. We have led nearly 3,000 grants designed to promote justice, economic opportunity, and human dignity through the rule of law around the world. Our programming has emboldened judges, prosecutors, lawyers and legal educators to take the lead in establishing– or in some cases re-establishing– the rule of law in their own countries.​

We invite you to read our 2019 Annual Report and delve into some of our work from over the year in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa.

Download the Report