Vance Center Enjoys Renewed Participation and Support

September 2020

(new sub-committee co-chairs)

The first Vance Center Committee meeting of the 2020-21 cycle brought together 31 of the total 46 members.  Chairs of new sub-committees on fundraising (Janet Whitaker of Clifford Chance), communications (Taisa Markus of White & Case), and governance and membership (Werner Ahlers of Sullivan & Cromwell and Rick Levine of Weil), created by the 2020-25 strategic plan, reported on the sub-committees’ activities, as did the co-chairs of the Africa (Inosi Nyatta of Sullivan & Cromwell and Emeka Chinwuba of Baker & McKenzie ) and Latin America (Ahlers and Veronica Rodriguez of Paul Hastings ) sub-committees.  The Vance Center staff reported on new pro bono initiatives and upcoming events.

At the meeting, the Committee learned of new funding that the Vance Center has secured:

  1. The National Endowment for Democracy awarded $60,000 for a project to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Guatemalan Association of Judges for Integrity and promote judicial independence in Guatemala. The Vance Center will assist the judge’s organization to bolster their administrative capacity and international profile. The project also will promote advocacy for judicial independence through tools, trainings, and research and dialogues with relevant actors in the region. The Vance Center will rely on its previous work with the Association and its capacity through the Lawyers Council for Civil and Economic Rights, the Pro Bono Network of the Americas, and the Women in the Profession Program.
  2. The Novo Foundation provided $50,000 as a follow-on one-year grant for the Women in Prison Project, which the foundation has supported for the past three years. The project promotes global collaboration on improving conditions of women’s imprisonment, by convening women prisoners’ rights advocates from the Americas, Africa, and Asia to 1) share information about conditions of women’s imprisonment in their respective countries or regions; and 2) build capacity for improved monitoring and reporting of conditions in women’s prisons.
  3. UNESCO granted $35,000 from its Global Media Defence Fund for training of lawyers and journalists in limiting the risks and consequences of vexatious defamation and similar claims. The Vance Center will work with a network of local investigative journalism organizations, as well as law firms involved in its Good Governance pro bono representation program.