Meet Ada Ordor: Advancing Legal Education in AfricaFebruary 01, 2012
Stories about AAUW Fellowships and Grants alumnae come to my attention in unique ways —through Google searches, books in the office, word of mouth, and even chance encounters. In October 2011, an AAUW delegation traveled to South Africa, where participants engaged in AAUW’s rich tradition of opening opportunities for dialogue and action and building a global community of women. During that visit, members had the opportunity to meet with Ada Ordor, a 2008–09 AAUW International Fellow. Originally from Nigeria, Ordor spent her fellowship year at the University of Cape Town and is a scholar in the field of law in South Africa, where she works to improve legal education and awareness to better benefit African scholars and citizens.
Ordor, like many fellows, developed an interest in law at a young age and saw it as a natural progression of her interest in reading and writing. As her studies advanced, she saw the empowerment law gave to women in developing societies. With AAUW’s support, Ordor was able to focus her postdoctoral research on the role of law in the development of the nonprofit sector and vice versa. She specifically considered how the development and enhancement of law affects vulnerable female workers in South Africa. Ordor notes that “the work of the nonprofit sector within the field of law and development is only an emerging area of study in Africa but an imperative [one] if the rule of law is to advance on the continent.” Her research paper “Exploring Civil Society Partnerships in Enforcing Decent Work in South Africa” won an award for best conference paper at the International Labor Organization’s Regulating for Decent Work Conference in Geneva in July 2011.
Ordor currently serves as the director of the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Comparative Law in Africa, which aims to develop African scholars’ expertise in comparative law. Ordor asserts that the development of this research skill will prove to be critical for the study, practice, and research of law as it relates to Africa’s history of plural legal systems. Her duties include research management, fundraising, and program implementation.
Ordor stresses that there is a critical need for competence and expertise in the field of law in development and passionately seeks to address this need in Africa. Her research is ongoing, and she advises others to “recognize where they have come from, apply the skills they have learned along the way, and to maintain a faith in God.” Ordor’s dedication and drive to improve the field of law in Africa is rooted in her own advice, and she has already begun to make a difference through her leadership at the Centre for Comparative Law in Africa.
This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Elyssa Shildneck.