Jack Mason Law & Democracy Initiative

Books For Africa

In Africa, law schools and bar associations often have only a few old, tattered law books. A few have no books at all. Imagine the challenge of creating a civil society when students and lawyers have no access to the fundamental texts on which the rule of law is based. Books For Africa launched the Law & Democracy Initiative to address this emerging continent’s appalling scarcity of law and human rights books, and by doing so to further the rule of law in Africa. Your financial support will allow the Law & Democracy Initiative to send these books to African law schools, bar associations, and other legal entities. Please help us end the law book shortage in Africa!

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Since 2008, the Jack Mason Law & Democracy Initiative of Books For Africa has shipped 140 law and human rights libraries to 24 African countries. See where the books have been sent, read the latest L&D news, or view our brochure.  

The Law & Democracy Initiative is named to honor the late Jack Mason, a federal magistrate judge and Books For Africa board member. His late wife, Vivian Mason, was instrumental in establishing and supporting the initiative.

Thomson Reuters and numerous law firms and law schools have generously agreed to donate the needed texts (view a full title list of our Thomson Reuters Law Library).  The Advocates for Human Rights provide key human rights material.

 What kinds of law books are we looking for? View our Law Book Donation Requirements.

Special thanks to Thomson Reuters, and to Robins, Kaplan LLP, major sponsors of the Law & Democracy Initiative. Thanks also to the Manhattan firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, which provides periodic pro bono legal assistance to the Law & Democracy Initiative.

In the news:

November 2023 Press release from the American Bar Association

Article from the American Bar Association (ABA) Journal and interview from Legal Current - learn more about this ongoing partnership with Thomson Reuters!.

Co-chairs Kofi Annan and Walter Mondale at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, May 2009.
Former co-chairs Kofi Annan and Walter Mondale at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, May 2009.

Former Chair, Ambassador Chihombori-Quao, was the keynote speaker at Books For Africa's 30th Anniversary Gala

Jack Mason Law & Democracy Initiative Advisory Board

In Memorial

Kofi Annan, former U.N. Secretary-General, Founding Co-Chair
Walter Mondale, former U.S. Vice President, Founding Co-Chair

Advisory Board:

Esther Agbaje, Attorney and Minnesota State Representative, Ciresi Conlin firm
Nane Annan, Former U.N. Human Rights Attorney, Author
Fatou Bensouda, Former Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court, The Hague
John Bessler, Professor, University of Baltimore School of Law
LaBreonna Bland, Attorney, Dorsey & Whitney law firm
Neneh Cham, Past President, Female Lawyers Association-Gambia
Ingrid Culp, Attorney, Fredrikson & Byron law firm
Judge Michael Davis, Former Chief Judge, Federal District of Minnesota
Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General
Mike Essien, Past President, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers
Yvonne Fiadjoe, Attorney, African Development Bank
Barbara Frey, Former Director, University of Minnesota Human Rights Program
Moh'd Makame Haji, Dean, Faculty of Law and Shariah, Zanzibar University
Stephen Hayes, Former CEO, Corporate Council on Africa, D.C.
Sam Kaplan, Former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco
Bryan Kay, Director, Editorial & Licensing, ABA Publishing
Tom Leighton, Vice President, Thomson Reuters Legal
Pat Mandile, Former Chief Operating Officer, Robins Kaplan firm
Steve Pfeiffer, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright law firm, DC 
Korir Sing'Oei, Attorney, Kenya Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Hon. Peter S. Shivute, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Namibia
Georgina Wood, Former Chief Justice, Ghana Supreme Court


Jack Mason Law & Democracy Initiative
Lane Ayres, JD, Director
(612) 616-5661 • lanebfa@gmail.com
c/o Books For Africa
717 Prior Ave N., Ste. B, St. Paul, MN 55104, USA

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