BYU Law Expands Global Footprint with Launch of Jerusalem Initiative

PROVO, Utah, Aug. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — BYU Law, a global law school focused on leadership in legal theory and practice,…

PROVO, Utah, Aug. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — BYU Law, a global law school focused on leadership in legal theory and practice, today announced a new opportunity to provide students with insights on international conflict and Middle Eastern studies. Co-sponsored by BYU Law and the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies, the Jerusalem Initiative will allow students to engage with some of the most vexing international and domestic law issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

«BYU Law is committed to preparing influential professionals,» said D. Gordon Smith, Dean, BYU Law. «This program will provide students with both a theoretical understanding of a longstanding international conflict and with practical skills for dealing with complex problems. We hope to prepare and inspire our students to make the world a better place.»

BYU Law Professors Eric Talbot Jensen and Ben Cook will serve as faculty co-directors of the program, which is open to 2L and 3L students who have demonstrated their interest in international law. The experiential learning model will expose students to a balanced look at both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

«The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the longest, most entrenched conflicts in the world,» said Professor Cook, who teaches conflict resolution. «This initiative will afford our students an unmatched opportunity to gain instruction from both global and local experts on different sides of the issues, to see places where conflict is happening, and to acquire valuable conflict resolution skills.»

During the program, 12 students will have the opportunity to learn from local experts, including government and academic leaders in the region; visit local sites; and engage in negotiations relating to the following issues: 1) property ownership and rights in contested territories, 2) balancing security and human rights, including the freedom of movement, and 3) political representation and equality. The students will prepare for their study in Jerusalem by completing a semester-long preparatory course to ensure that participants understand the history and political, religious, and cultural sensitivities surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The program will culminate with a three-week trip to Jerusalem and the Holy Land sites in late April / early May 2022.

«While international conflict is not unique to this region, the layered and complex issues will challenge our students to gain a deep understanding of the peoples of the region and their histories,» said Professor Jensen, who teaches international law. «BYU Law is uniquely positioned to offer this opportunity thanks to its strong international network and focus.»

Brigham Young University, which is affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has a presence in the area with its Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies located in the heart of Jerusalem near the Old City. Additionally, more than 80% of BYU Law students speak more than one language, and 70% have lived abroad, many of whom have shown a keen interest in expanding their international training and skills. 

BYU Law anticipates offering the Jerusalem Initiative annually following its successful inaugural launch.

About BYU Law School

Founded in 1971, the J. Reuben Clark Law School (BYU Law) has grown into one of the nation’s leading law schools – recognized for innovative research and teaching in social change, transactional design, entrepreneurship, corpus linguistics, criminal justice and religious freedom. The Law School has more than 6,000 alumni serving in communities around the world. In its most recent rankings, SoFi ranked BYU Law as the #1 best-value U.S. law school in their Return on Education Law School Ranking. For more information, visit  

About The BYU Jerusalem Center

The Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies is Brigham Young University’s home base for study in the Holy Land. Current BYU undergraduate students apply to one of three semester-long programs held each year, and upon acceptance, live in the Center while studying a core curriculum focused on the Old and New Testaments, ancient and modern Near Eastern studies and the Hebrew and Arabic languages. Classroom study is integrated with field trips spanning the length and breadth of the Holy Land, as well as travel to Jordan and to either Egypt or Greece. For more information, visit


Kristin Brocoff



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