As Zimbabwe progresses toward the creation of a new constitution, the U.S. embassy in Harare has been inviting the world’s top constitutional scholars to the nation’s capitol to share their perspectives. Andrew Arato, Dorothy Hart Hirshon Professor of Political and Social Theory at The New School for Social Research, traveled to Harare last month as a scholar invited to discuss the process of building fair and durable constitutions in democratizing nations.
Drawing on his research on constitutional processes around the world, Arato stressed that broad, popular engagement is key to a functional governmental charter. Unfortunately, free and open discussion has been lacking thus far in Zimbabwe’s initial steps toward a new constitution, a situation the U.S. embassy hopes to correct with visits by academics like Arato. To read more about Arato’s visit to the U.S. embassy in Harare and Zimbabwe’s constitutional revision process, visit the U.S. Department of State’s blog entry on the event.
Arato’s research on constitutional law and human rights has earned him a global reputation. Earlier this semester, he served as a visiting scholar at South Africa’s University of Witwatersrand, where he researched South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy.