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Legal Education and Development (LEAD) Fellowship Program for Tajikistan

The Legal Education and Development (LEAD) Fellowship Program for Tajikistan provides opportunities for studying comparative and American law in the United States for current resident citizens of Tajikistan.

The purpose of the program is to strengthen rule of law culture in Tajikistan by providing exceptional legal professionals with a broader understanding of comparative systems of law and increased opportunities to examine the American justice system. Through practical learning and intensive coursework, participants prepare to shape the dynamic legal landscape in Tajikistan, strengthen the rule of law, and foster ties with the international legal community.

LEAD is a program of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) of the U.S. Department of State and is implemented by the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and IREX.

Information for LEAD STEP Applicants


Through an intensive legal educational and cultural exchange, legal professionals from Tajikistan will do the following:

• Expand their understanding of the judicial system and legal culture in the United States.

• Gain exposure to core values of the American legal profession.


As Tajikistan’s legal education system continues to mature, legal professionals need a deep understanding of the judicial systems of other countries in order to strengthen their country’s rule of law and build on the lessons of the international community. LEAD provides these professionals an opportunity for broader understanding of comparative systems, and increased opportunities to experience and discuss the systems of Tajikistan and the United States. LEAD, in collaboration with programming implemented by IREX’s partner ABA ROLI, is developing a cadre of legal professionals who will contribute to the strengthening of the rule of law in Tajikistan. By strengthening Tajikistan’s rule of law and advancing its legal framework, participants support sustainable, increased investment, economic stability, and security for the country and its citizens.

Project Activities

Through two tailored project models, legal professionals in Tajikistan receive U.S.-based training in comparative law and legal studies. Fellows participating in both projects are successful legal professionals who are well positioned to initiate change and reform in public, private, and nonprofit institutions. LEAD is a one-year program through which fellows pursue a master of laws (LLM) degree program at an ABA-accredited law school in the U.S, collaborate with a mentor from the American Bar Association, participate in a volunteer community service project, and gain professional experience and skills during a full-time summer internship.

The LEAD Short-Term English Program (LEAD STEP) brings young professionals to the U.S. for a five-month intensive training, in which they strengthen their English and legal English skills, in addition to completing coursework in comparative and American law. 

After their stay in the U.S., LEAD and LEAD STEP participants return home equipped with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the American legal system and poised to make positive lasting change in Tajikistan.