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

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."