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Farewell symposium and valedictory lecture Jan Michiel Otto, 29 June 2018

On 29 June 2018, Jan Michiel Otto, professor of Law and Governance in Developing Countries and director of the Van Vollenhoven Institute until 2018, delivered his valedictory lecture entitled De ander als spiegel: reflecties over recht en bestuur in ontwikkelingslanden (The Other as a Mirror. Reflections on Law and Governance in Developing Countries).

Royal distinction

After his valedictory lecture Jan Michiel Otto received an award for his work that has had, and continues to have, a major influence on the development of the rule of law in Indonesia, North Africa/Middle East and Sub-Sahara Africa. Jan Michiel Otto has been appointed Officer in the Order of Orange Nassau. The Mayor of Leiden, Henri Lenferink, surprised him with this royal distinction.

Photo: Hielco Kuijpers

Book presentation

Furthermore the book Real Legal Certainty and it Relevance. Essays in honour of Jan Michiel Otto was presented. This book has been edited by Adriaan Bedner and Barbara Oomen and published by Leiden University Press in the Law, Governance and Development Research series.

Farewell Symposium

The valedictory lecture was preceded by a farewell symposium from 10.00 – 14.45: The role of law in development: steady beacon or mere sham? This symposium marked the retirement of Jan Michiel Otto, professor of law and governance in developing countries, from active work at the Van Vollenhoven Institute. It offered a varied impression of ongoing research on the role of law and governance in North Africa/Middle East, Indonesia and Sub-Sahara Africa. Four junior and six senior colleagues, from the Netherlands, Indonesia and Libya presented aspects of their research. Working at the interface where national law is supposed to meet local people, they shared observations from Morocco, Libya, Indonesia, Senegal, South Sudan/Uganda, and DRC Congo. Are there clear signs that a rule of law is on the rise? Is there an increase or decrease of ‘real legal certainty’? Are there legal institutions in place in support of political, economic or social development? Or is law only to be found in the books, and do those who are in need of justice merely depend on the whims of local powerholders, officials, chiefs, imams, or militiamen? In other words, is the role of law in development one of a steady beacon, or a mere sham?

Photo: Bernardo Ribeiro de Almeida
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