Law celebrates 20 years of France Study Abroad Program

flag-of-franceTo kick off the 20th anniversary celebration of its France Study Abroad Program, NIU Law hosted an anniversary dinner for alumni, faculty, staff and current students, marking the longtime relationship and exchange program with the Université Bordeaux-Montesquieu in Agen, France.

The program – started under the late Professor Rodolphe de Seife – took the first group of students to Agen in 1996, and has continued the summer trip every year for the past two decades.

During dinner, Distinguished Teaching Professor David Taylor, the current program director, provided some of the program’s history and tested the group’s knowledge with an entertaining Agen trivia quiz.

Agen alumni Melinda Rosales-Byerly (’03) and Eric Johnson (’10) offered stories and fond memories while many more were shared with each other throughout dinner.

Finally, the evening was capped off by a special presentation of gifts to honor Associate Dean David Gaebler and Professor Daniel Reynolds. Gaebler and Reynolds, who both recently retired from the College of Law, served as co-directors of the study abroad program for much of its history.

“The law school owes a great debt of gratitude to Professors Gaebler, Reynolds and Taylor who have extended the school’s global reach with our France Study Abroad Program,” Dean Mark Cordes said. “Through the years, they have also expanded our students’ world view, allowing them the chance to recognize both the differences and commonalities in our legal systems and the increasing importance of a global perspective in the practice of law.”

Recently retired Associate Dean David Gaebler (far left) and Professor Daniel Reynolds (far right), who served as co-directors of the study abroad program for much of its history, were honored during dinner. They were joined by current program director Professor David Taylor (second from left) and Interim Dean Mark Cordes (second from right).
Recently retired Associate Dean David Gaebler (far left) and Professor Daniel Reynolds (far right), who served as co-directors of the study abroad program for much of its history, were honored during dinner. They were joined by current program director Professor David Taylor (second from left) and Interim Dean Mark Cordes (second from right).

Since 1996, about 350 students have participated in the exciting six-week program held at the Université Bordeaux-Montesquieu.

The program, taught in English by both French and American faculty, is designed to give students an understanding of the French civil law system and the legal system of the European Union.

bordeauxIn addition to the six credit hours earned, the program also includes academic and leisure field trips to places such as the French Senate, National Assembly and French Supreme Court. In turn, NIU Law annually hosts students from the University of Bordeaux-Montesquieu who receive an introduction to the law and legal institutions in the U.S.

The 20th anniversary celebration continues during this year’s France Study Abroad Program, where it will be highlighted with a reunion being held in Agen this summer.

Agen alumni are invited at 12:30 p.m. Monday, May 30, to join Taylor, Gaebler and Reynolds for a luncheon being hosted by Ville d’Agen at Musee de Beaux Arts d’Agen.

Alumni are also welcome to attend lectures by  Reynolds, Gaebler, and Taylor on Civil Law tradition, formation of the European Union and inquisitorial adjudication, given from Monday, May 30, through Thursday, June 2; contact Melody Mitchell at (815) 753-9655 or mmitchell@niu.edu for additional details.

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