Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the South Asia Foundation ("SAF") and the South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies (in the process of formation) ("The Institute")
This MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MoU) dated 26th December 2006 between the South Asia Foundation ("SAF") and the South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies (in the process of formation) ("the Institute") sets forth the agreements reached between the parties relating to the implementation and establishment of the Institute.
This MoU is drawn up further to the submission to SAF Governing Council in March 2006 a Proposal ("the Proposal") for the establishment of the Institute and in October 2006 a draft five year budget for the Institute ("the budget") and various meetings, discussions and correspondence between the Founder of SAF, Mr. Madanjeet Singh, and the Chairman, SAF-Bangladesh, Dr. Kamal Hossain.
The decisions and other agreements reached between the parties to date are set forth below:
Establishment of the Institute
1. The Institute will be established in Bangladesh as a centre of excellence for research and education in South Asian law and human rights. There will be established within the Institute a centre for research on South Asian law to be known as the Madanjeet Singh Centre for Research on South Asian Law.
The Institute will be established as an independent legal entity registered under Bangladesh law. Once established, the Institute will enter into an agreement with BRAC University (BU) for purposes of conferral of degrees as well as for cooperation on other related matters. It is understood that BU will be willing to enter into such an agreement with the Institute, subject to appropriate institutional and financial arrangements.
Objectives of the Institute
2. in conforniity with the cardinal SAF objectives of promoting regional cooperation, the Institute will establish itself as a centre of excellence for research and education in South Asian law and human rights. As the leading institution of its kind, it will undertake teaching and research in its chosen area.
3. The Institute will be involved in post-graduate legal education and will offer, in conjunction with BU, post-graduate degrees within its area of expertise. To start with, an LL.M. in South Asian Law and an M.A. in Human Rights and Development may be offered.
4. The Institute will design and undertake research projects and provide financial support to research programmes approved by it. It will offer fellowships to academics and professionals to undertake research on topics relating to human rights and South Asian law.
It will also engage in publication of books, joumals, working papers, bulletins and newsletters containing original research works and articles, reports and information about matters of interest to researchers and other concerned in the field. The Institute will organise national and international conferences, seminars, symposiums, workshops and lectures on various subjects for interested persons.
5. The faculty, fellows, researchers and students of the Institute will be drawn from all SAARC countries, so that it acquires a truly South Asian character and can acquire a central position in South Asian cooperation in the fields of law, human rights and development.
Association of the Institute with BRAC University (BU)
6. The Institute will be responsible for entering into necessary agreements and arrangements with BU for purposes of offering the aforementioned LL.M. and M.A. degrees and for the use of support services and facilities of BU, including library and ICT, personnel and any other services or facilities that may be made available to the Institute by BU.
These agreements and arrangements would contain details regarding the nature and manner of association and cooperation between the Institute and BU and whether - and, if so, what - fees or charges will be payable by the Institute to BU.
Organisational structure and management
7. Institute will have its own independent legal status. It will be established as an independent non-profit legal entity registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
8. Although the Institute will be associated with BU, the organizational and management structure of the Institute will allow academic autonomy to encourage creativity and full contribution of its faculty, fellows, researchers and students in fulfilling its mission. It will have its ovm management and staff. At the same time, the Institute's existence as a part of BU will be recognized.
9. The Institute will have financial autonomy. It will not be financially dependent on BU and will raise and spend funds in its own name.
10. As a society, the Institute will have a Goveming Body to which the management of its affairs will be entrusted. The work of the Institute will be guided by an International Advisory Board. There may also be an Academic Committee to oversee the academic affairs. The Institute will have a Director responsible for its day-to-day management and academic affairs.
11. The first Governing Body, International Advisory Board, Academic Committee and the Director must be approved by SAF Bangladesh Chapter. Subsequent appointments will be made in pursuance of appropriate procedures drawn up by agreement between the Institute and Chairman of the SAF Bangladesh Chapter.
12. To start with, the size of the faculty of the Institute may be small but would be supported by outside resource persons. Commensurate with the objective of regional exchange and collaboration, both the permanent and the part-time faculty of the Institute will be drawn from SAARC countries and, where appropriate, intemationally.
13. The Institute will be involved in post-graduate legal education, and to start with, an LL.M. in South Asian Law and an M.A. in Human Rights and Development may be offered. About 50 students from SAARC countries as well as from outside SAARC may be enrolled for each of these courses. However, during the first one or two years lesser number of students may be enrolled. The courses will be of one year duration (September to August).
14. The LL.M. in South Asian Law programme will cover laws relating to regional integration in the widest possible sense, as well as comparative studies of core areas of South Asian law. The M.A. in Human Rights and Development will be a multi-disciplinary course where students will be drawn from a wide range of disciplines, including, law, economics, development studies, sociology and politics. The curriculum of both the LL.M. and the M.A. programmes will be developed by expert groups. International workshops will be held to prepare and finalize the curriculum.
Research and Fellowships
15. The Institute will actively promote research on themes within its area of expertise, which will include legal mechanisms for regional and South Asian integration, comparative studies of South Asian law, unification and harmonization of the laws of the region, and human rights and development. The faculty of the Institute will be expected to have research interests in these areas and actively engage in research. The Institute will also design and undertake collaborative research projects, and will encourage outside resource persons to become involved in the research initiatives of the Institute. Sufficient funds will be earmarked for research activities of the Institute.
16. To further strengthen its research - and also teaching - base, every year the Institute will offer three to five fully funded Fellowships for a year. Two or three of these may be offered to academics or professionals from SAARC countries and the rest to academics from non-SAARC countries. The latter will make it possible for scholars from leading universities of the world to spend a year at the Institute as Visiting Professors or Scholars.
While at the Institute, the Visiting Professors or Scholars will engage in research work and will undertake some teaching responsibilities in selected modules in the area of their expertise. The Institute may also offer Fellowships to younger scholars who have completed, or are about to complete, advanced post-graduate research degrees and are keen to pursue a career in research and teaching. The Fellowships will be properly advertised, including advertisement in international media, so that they become adequately competitive.
Partnership with institutions of excellence
17. The Institute will endeavour to establish partnership with world-reputed academic institutions for specific inputs in the form of faculty and curriculum content. Which institutions are to be approached for partnership and the nature of association with them will be decided in due course by the governing and advisory bodies of the Institute. The careful selection of prestigious partners who have high quality competence, programmes or facilities to share and who wish to learn from South Asia and Bangladesh will be an important strategic aspect of the Institute's development.
Financial contribution of SAF
18. SAF undertakes to contribute US $ 1,000,000/- (one million United States dollars) towards the establishment and operation of the Institute ("the contribution") over a period of five years.
19. The first instalment of the aforesaid contribution should not be less than US $ 200,000/- (two thousand United States dollars). It will be paid by SAF into a bank account of the SAF Bangladesh Chapter ("the account") upon formation and registration of the Institute as a society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. The account will be operated under the joint signature of the Chairman of the SAF Bangladesh Chapter and the Director of the Institute.
20. In conformity with the SAF Governing Council resolution adopted in 2002 at Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France, SAF shall not fund any project without at least a matching contribution in cash or kind against SAF's financial assistance.
21. SIALS shall submit an annual Audit to SAF Governing Council and a progress report on the Institute.
22. The Institute and SAF will enter into necessary arrangements for payment by SAF the remainder of the contribution as and when required.
23. It is stipulated that SAF shall discontinue funding SIALS in case the Institute fails to fully comply with SAF's cardinal objective of promoting regional cooperation.
Additional financial support
24. The Institute will be responsible for raising additional funds that may be necessary for the establishment and operation of the Institute. The Institute undertakes to inform SAF from time to time of additional support that may be forthcoming for the Institute.
Appointment of the first Director
25. Immediately after the first instalment of the contribution is paid, SAF Bangladesh Chapter and the Institute will jointly undertake all necessary steps to appoint the first Director of the Institute, bearing in mind that commensurate with the aim of the Institute to establish itself as a centre of excellence she/he should be a scholar of international repute and capable of implementing this MoU and the Proposal. She/he will be a SAARC national.
Dr. Kamal Hossain
On behalf of the South Asian lnstitute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies and the Madanjeet Singh Centre for Research on South Asian Law
Ambassador Madanjeet Singh
On behalf of the South Asia Foundation