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About Us


The Center for Democratic Governance and Rule of Law at Ohio Northern University is dedicated to three key objectives:

  1. Enhancing awareness, understanding and capacity to promote democratic governance and rule of law throughout the world.
  2. Fostering scholarship, dialogue and education in democratic governance and rule of law.
  3. Attracting, developing and deploying the resources and expertise at Ohio Northern University directly to rule of law promotion activities, by engaging students, faculty and alumni in real-world problem-solving and service.

Origin and History

ONU has been a leading academic institution in the rule of law field since 2006, when it first launched its LLM in Democratic Governance and Rule of Law program, offered through the Claude W. Pettit College of Law. That program was designed for lawyers from developing and transitional countries, training them in the principles and practice of justice and political sector reform, so they can return home afterward to build the Rule of Law in their own nations. The degree is now offered to American students who have already earned a regular law degree (a Juris Doctor, or JD) or are concurrently enrolled in ONU's JD program.

Building the LLM program involved globally recruiting faculty members who bring expertise and experience in the field of rule of law promotion and transitional justice to Ohio Northern. These individuals have continued to combine their teaching with active engagement in law and governance reform on a regular basis. By sharing their knowledge and experience with the LLM students, these professors have developed graduates from around the world into a formidable network of contacts and change-agents in transitional societies.