About BUILD

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The BUILD Initiative (Building Ukrainian Independence and Lasting Democracy) is founded on the principle that Ukraine will achieve an enduring and stable democracy only through the education and development of its rising generation of leaders, lawmakers, and law enforcement.

The BUILD Initiative (Building Ukrainian Independence and Lasting Democracy) maintains that influence exerted in the right places in a society will have a lasting impact on that society. A large ship turns on a very small rudder. The rudder is only a small part of the ship. However, its location outside the ship’s hull and its direct connection to the captain’s wheel make the rudder the most important instrument in determining the direction of the ship. 

We believe that Ukraine will only achieve an enduring and stable democracy through the education and development of its rising generation of leaders, lawmakers, and law enforcers. While putting proper democratic systems in place with existing Ukrainian leadership is critical, doing so makes little sense without working to develop the character traits and skills necessary for sustainable democracy in the minds of those who within ten years will be handling the affairs of Ukraine’s fledgling democracy. 
The BUILD Initiative empowers the future generation of Ukrainian leaders with democratic ideals and understanding. BUILD aims to effectuate a shift toward greater freedom and democracy for Ukraine’s future. For that purpose, BUILD has established relationships with Ukraine’s top law universities and has contracted with them to teach a full-year university course in democratic principles, advocacy skills, and ethics. As it is with ships, so it is with institutions of higher learning. Ukraine has hundreds of law schools, very few which have the influence and position in society to determine the nation’s course. The BUILD Initiative’s Ukrainian university partners are just such schools. Influencing the students of these schools will have a major impact on the future of Ukraine. Thousands of Ukrainian law students benefit from this instruction, which helps them become the next generation of influential legal minds in Ukraine.
 
BUILD has three main goals:
• To provide a forum for discussion and collaboration with university students for civic education—ethics, civic virtue, and professional responsibility—all of which are necessary elements for sustaining a lasting democracy.
• To offer adversarial legal training for university students, faculty, and reform-minded professionals, in order to develop crucial legal skills including persuasion, fact analysis, team building, collaboration, and advocacy.
• To provide law students and professionals with a forum where they can collaborate and provide synergy for the development of an adversarial system in Ukraine.
 

In order to accomplish these goals, BUILD brings seasoned legal professionals to Ukraine for a two-week segment to teach in Ukrainian partner universities. These professionals primarily come from the United States and Canada. They each have very diverse legal work experience. Students learn and better understand the principles of democracy from experienced instructors. 

 

Additionally, the BUILD Initiative curriculum culminates each year as students put into practice what they learn through participation in regional adversarial proceedings competitions. The winners advance to a national competition. These competitions allow students to demonstrate learned skills, such as cross examination and closing argument, as well as put into practice elements vital to an adversarial legal system. 

 
Inspiring students to internalize and develop the necessary elements of an adversarial legal system, visiting professionals contribute to the BUILD goal of fostering an ethical legal system that protects democracy.