Melissa Mendizabal Melissa Mendizabal
Innovation Scholar
Drew Precious Drew Precious
Director of Communications, The Presidential Precinct


July 01, 2024


In today’s interconnected world, the rule of law is a fundamental pillar for prosperity. It is the principle that all people and institutions within a society are accountable to the same laws. Think of the rule of law as the rulebook for society. It ensures that everyone – from individuals to governments – follows clear and fair guidelines. Just like rules in a sport or board game, it creates impartiality, predictability, and accountability. This framework is crucial for countries to thrive because nations with a strong rule of law experience higher economic growth, better education, improved health outcomes, and greater peace.

Yet, the global landscape is fraught with challenges to the rule of law. Recent reports from the World Justice Project highlight a concerning trend: rule of law has entered its sixth straight year in decline. Such erosion threatens to destabilize economies, diminish trust in government, and undermine basic human rights. As geopolitical tensions escalate, the need to strengthen rule of law is increasingly urgent to safeguard a just and stable future.

  • 6 years
    of rule of law in decline
  • 78%
    of countries where rule of law has declined

To address this challenge, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Presidential Precinct have launched the Judicial Fellowship Program – a concerted effort to fight corruption and strengthen rule of law globally. This initiative will bring 20 judges and magistrates from nations grappling with upholding the rule of law to D.C. for a rigorous fellowship. Through immersive workshops and interactive sessions, participants will delve into critical topics such as judicial independence, human rights, and anti-corruption measures.

Drew Precious, Director of Communications, The Presidential Precinct

At its core, the Judicial Fellowship Program aims to build a cadre of leaders who are dedicated to upholding judicial integrity. These participants will return to their home countries equipped with the skills and knowledge to foster a legal environment conducive to economic and societal resilience. But the impact goes beyond individual training. By creating a global network of leaders, we are fostering a community of advocates who can provide ongoing support and mentorship to continue strengthening and defending the rule of law worldwide.

Why apply?

  • Learning experience: The program includes interactive workshops, panel discussions, case studies, court visits, and networking events, focusing on critical thinking, ethical decision-making, and a deep understanding of rule of law principles.
  • Subject matter: We will review judicial independence and ethics, human rights law, combatting corruption, technology in the judiciary, managerial processes, cross-cultural legal exchanges, and constitutional law and principles.
  • Other benefits: Participants gain advanced legal training, networking opportunities with global judicial leaders, and exposure to different judicial systems, enhancing their capabilities to lead reforms in their home countries.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is in the business of stronger communities. We anticipate, develop, and deploy solutions to challenges facing communities – today and tomorrow. The Foundation's sponsorship of this initiative underscores its role as a catalyst for impactful change. By cultivating a network of rule of law champions, we aim to promote democratic principles and enhance conditions for business, and in turn community, to thrive. This initiative embodies our dedication to forging resilient societies capable of navigating complex geopolitical landscapes.

For the Presidential Precinct, this program presents an opportunity to expand upon a ten-year track record of building impactful leadership experiences. Partnership with the Presidential Precinct connects the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation with a network of partners across the Commonwealth of Virginia, who together have hosted nearly 1,500 emerging and established leaders from more than 170 countries to date. Programs built through the Presidential Precinct are designed with a foundational belief in the transformative power of visionary leaders to create thriving, just, and free societies. With today’s pressing global challenges to rule of law, the Judicial Fellowship Program stands as no exception.

Ultimately, the Judicial Fellowship Program represents a significant step toward strengthening judicial systems and promoting fairness and accountability on a global scale. Through this initiative, we are not only addressing immediate challenges but also building a foundation for a more equitable future for all. This initiative is not a band-aid for legal concerns but represents a steadfast commitment to project justice and democracy. 

About the authors

Melissa Mendizabal

Melissa Mendizabal

Melissa is an Innovation Scholar on the Foundation's Incubator team. She spearheads a portfolio of projects focused on democracy and capitalism, geopolitical threats, and other wicked problems.

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Drew Precious

Drew Precious