Comparative constitutional law, Political science

Course date

3 July - 14 July, 2017
Application deadline
14 February, 2017
The application deadline has expired. Late applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Experiences of past course participants

2018 course participants said:
"As someone working on legal and institutional reforms, I often have to deal with constitutional design matters. the course gave me ideas on a variety of constitutional design and institutional arrangements including government types, decentralization, power-sharing arrangements. These will be definitely useful in a variety of the work that I do. For example, in one the countries I work in a number of discussions being undertaken about introducing constitutional court. the discussions from course will definitely be helpful in this regard. Gender quotas was another useful subject which I found helpful and that is something I have been working on with different organisations."
"Most significant for me was innovations in African constitutions in addressing development needs and economic, social and solidarity rights, as well as African constitutional jurisprudence. So often constitution building focuses on more traditional issues regarding structuring the state, restraints on power, and related, but these other lenses are critical to look deeper at reasons for constitutional failure, corruption, conflict, and other challenges facing not Africa but many MENA and Latin American states as well. Highly useful."
"The course was very well structured. The diversity of the student cohort was crucial to the success of the course. Getting to learn from each other's exprience was really enriching. Sometimes, what seems obvious or benign for one participant was actually eye-opening for another. This was really the strength of this course. Moreover, the proximity with the professors created a very nice and warm environement in which, I think, all felt comfortable participating and exchanging. Finally, the use of groupwork, plenary lectures and documentary films was well balanced and enriched both the discussion and the overall learning experience."

2017 course participants said:

"The high quality of this course does not allow me to compare with others. Almost everything was perfect, from contents and agenda to the facilitation of sessions. It was a perfect balance between deep academic reflexions and the insight of highly experienced practitioners."
"The Faculty, the Materials, the Library, the punctuality, the diversity in teaching, moderating and listening to participants all exemplary. It is incomparable. Also, the residence in Kerepesi, the trams, metros and buses were marvelous. I also take the choice of Budapest as the best for learning. I would love to return to CEU as a participant or Faculty focusing on East African experiences in Constitution Building!"
"Broad variety of perspectives on constitution-building encompassing both political science and law. Especially the sessions on pan-African approaches, taming the executive and managing diversity were interesting."
"Comparative analysis and insights into various jurisdictions were helpful to my search for alternative constitutional models.[..] I can better advise my employers on better practices across the continent and beyond.
Consultations especially on decentralization was helpful. I was also called upon to give a lot of examples from my country, which resulted in me learning even more about my country as well as others." 
"Excellent preparations. There was never a time before this course that I had so much, well prepared dockets of materials like at CEU. My 100 pages of printing allowance was also very useful in my preparations. I printed and copied a lot."
2016 course participants said:
The course was "very useful to many aspects of my PhD thesis and for my professional teaching activities as a University lecturer and a PhD student in Political Science writing on conflicts and democratisation."
"Many things were interesting and what I will take from it is more how to observe currents and patterns in African constitutionalism; rather than specific info."
The most important thing I take away is "the importance of a multi-dimensional approach to constitution building that goes beyond the monopoly of the constitution-building process by legal practitioners, the need to harness cultural heritage that will advance constitutionalism, reviewing our paths to constitution-making and constitutionalism."
2015 course participants said:
"The course was a rich experience not only in regard to its content, which enabled me to strengthen my knowledge of the constitutional field, but also because it enabled me to meet people with whom I share common research interests, which could be useful for future works."
"The diversity of participants and instructors was the main strength of this course and should absolutely be maintained and further developed. Bringing together such a diverse groups of scholars and professionals representing all parts of Africa, but also countries that experienced (more or less recently) interesting constitution-making processes, was what made this course so rich and in my view so successful."
"The course was useful because it gave me a new perspective on Constitution building besides the one I have 
from my civil society background. It was also useful to learn about other countries experiences on constitution-building as it helped draw lessons from the respective experiences; what worked and what has not. The course also helped me understand better the positive and negative roles that international players can play in Constitutional building. It is therefore important to always develop processes that are relevant to the socioeconomic and political situation of your country even when international players are involved. This was extremely useful as my work is mostly based on working with international agencies."
"This course first enabled me to complete my theoretical knowledge on constitutionbuilding, in particular in
regard to topics on which I had limited experience (role of the judiciary, interim constitutional arrangements),
or which are not a major issue of discussion in my own country (unitarism vs. federalism). But it also enriched my 'cultural' knowledge on constitutionbuilding by bringing diverse African experiences but also experiences from other parts of the world (Afghanistan, Nepal) to the forefront, with which I was not necessarily familiar, thus broadening my own perspective on constitutional issues and debates."
2014 course participants said:
"I was impressed by the high level of experience and professionalism of the participants. Accordingly, the
level of discussion was always very high and insightful. The opportunity of sharing academic and practical
experience was invaluable and has helped me to broaden and deepen my understanding of constitutionmaking
"The course brought together a very interesting range of practitioners working in different fields and
institutions as well as academics. A really unique mixture that made the course incredibly inspiring."
"The most important thing I learned was the general challenges and opportunities facing constitution
making in Africa. I learned that my country is not exceptional in it's challenges, and that there are many
other cases to study for relevant approaches. I have only interacted with European/American consultants
until now, and this has been an educational and empowering experience. I also walk away with the "we
are not alone" feeling, which is quite comforting."
"The course has helped me in refocussing my research area. The substantive questions of the course
(Systems of Government, questions of constitutional design) were very usefully addressed in real life
context. This will help me in the future to address practical questions of constitutional design in
constitution-making context I am involved in."
"Fantastic lecturers, capable of bridging theoretical and practical questions. Brilliant participants, enriching
discussions with their own constitutional background and experiences. Very good choice of topics,
covering both more procedural and substantive questions. The academic quality of both participants and
lecturers also enabled discussions on a more theoretical/academic level."
2013 course participants said:
"This course was almost an eye opening to critical thinking around constitution building and implementation in Africa and various other parts of the world. It has provoked new reflections and comparisons on the way in which better constitutions can be built up and implemented."
"High quality of teaching engaged and interested professors. Good organization, extremely helpful staff at the CEU." 
"This course compares very well with similar courses I have attended at Harvard University, McGill University and the World Bank Institution, in all respects." 
"The course was very useful for my professional development because there was a good mix, both among the faculty and participants, of practitioners and academics, which gave a flavour of balance and good spread of experience in constitution building."
"It was really useful as it crystallized most of my previously acquired knowledge. It also helped me to put issues in perspective thanks to regional empirical evidence. As a practitioner in the fields of conflict resolution and democracy work, the course helped to link both, understand and practice (through exercises) constitution making as a conflict resolution tool."
"Many things discussed in the course can be read about in the IDEA and Interpeace handbooks, but the course raised them in a practical way, problematised them (incl through the working group exercises), and provided practical and comparative insights both form he faculty and the participants. Thus, the course has made me want to go back to the handbook and the background reading for the course, which I now will be able to read with a more informed and inquisitive eye."
"I am supporting constitution writing in Nepal. The experience of constitution building in Africa gives me ideas and insights that are helpful in designing the work of my office."