New ‘Rule Of Law’ Center Discussed, Mills Honored at Conference
Top legal and policy experts from throughout Florida and Latin America participated April 13-14 in a unique “roundtable conference” organized by the law school’s Center for Governmental Responsibility (CGR). Panelists and commentators were charged with designing a blueprint for establishment of a “Center for Judicial Reform and Rule of Law in the Americas,” a UF initiative to be housed in the Levin College of Law. “When it is established and accomplishes the goals we discussed here, the Center for Judicial Reform and Rule of Law in the Americas could literally change the world by impacting how countries in this hemisphere work together,” said Mills. “That makes this fourth annual Legal & Policy Issues in the Americas conference particularly significant.” The proposed center is based on the concept that a democracy without an effective judiciary governed by the rule of law inhibits the capacity of its citizens to enjoy basic freedoms and discourages the international community from investing in the future of the country. The UF team proposes a universitybased program designed to collaborate with sister universities throughout the Americas to implement a program that strengthens the rule of law in the region. Collaborators include the Justice Studies Center of the Americas in Santiago, Chile, which joined with CGR, the UF Warrington College of Business Center for International Business Education and Research, and the Florida Journal of International Law as conference sponsors. “Everyone who participated in this discussion should consider themselves a partner in this important undertaking,” said Mills. “And our panelists and commentators were well-qualified to assist in its development. Participants represented 14 international universities from eight countries; six international organizations; eight private law firms; five international businesses; five U.S. universities; and 12 UF academic departments.” An outstanding leader in the Americas is selected for special recognition each year at the Legal and Policy Issues in the Americas conference. The award was named in honor of Dean Jon Mills this year. Terry L. McCoy, director of the Latin American Business Environment Program, associate director of UF’s Center for International Business Education and Research, and professor of Latin American studies and political science, presented Mills with a plaque commemorating the naming and honoring his leadership in the Americas. According to McCoy, “Mills founded the annual Americas conference, and his vision as dean of the Levin College of Law and founding director of the Center for Governmental Responsibility is strengthening international programs at the University of Florida and preparing graduates for the competitive global marketplace. By personally working in Central America, Haiti and Brazil, Mills is providing leadership in cooperation among universities, governments and non-governmental organizations throughout the Americas.” The “Jon Mills Award for Significant Contributions to Relations Between Florida and the Americas” was then presented to Paulo Roberto Pereira de Souza for his accomplishments in the development of a permanent relationship between the University of Florida and Brazil.