“Karibu sana” is Swahili for “You are very welcome,” and it is a phrase I have heard countless times since I arrived in Dar es Salaam last week.
I am a Fulbright scholar this semester in Tanzania, researching the role of women judges here in the development of gender norms in Tanzania jurisprudence. My project draws upon my knowledge of the US federal judiciary, civil procedure, and constitutional law, but I am thrilled to delve into fields entirely new and fresh to me: international human rights and the rule of law. I am grateful to the Tanzania Women Judges Association and the International Association of Women Judges for their support of my work, as well as of course the Council for International Educational Studies / Fulbright Commission itself. It is my goal to assist the women judges’ associations in producing a volume of edited cases and papers about international gender rights jurisprudence, as well to publish papers on the broader topic of the impact of international human rights law on the development of domestic gender rights jurisprudence.
In only one week so far in Dar es Salaam, I feel pleasantly immersed in local life. The US embassy is very welcoming and helpful; in addition to helping me to find a Swahili tutor, they sponsor receptions such as this week’s visit of international hip-hop artists from the annual Zanzibar World Music Festival. I have been asked by the embassy to speak for Women’s History Month in March, and am happy to meet the challenge of presenting; who knows, maybe I will even have some Swahili conversation mastered by then!
In the first photo, I am pictured with three justices of the highest court in Tanzania of the Court of Appeal (one now retired) and a gender studies student who is interning at the court this semester. Of the sixteen justices on the highest court, four are women. In the second photo, I am pictured with Chief Justice Othman Change and Justice Engera Kileo of the Court of Appeal. The judges have been quite generous with time and fruitful topics of discussion, including the current constitutional convention, which begins this month and will continue for three months.
I send my best to all at Santa Clara, and am happy to be its “ambassador” here for the semester!