Sylvia Kang’ara was appointed founding Dean of Riara University Law School in April 2012. An expert in comparative private law and property theory, international law, and theories of justice, she has taught in several institutions, most recently at the University of Washington School of Law in the US and the University of Perugia, Italy.
Professor Kang’ara graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Nairobi School of Law in 1996. After completing postgraduate studies at the Kenya School of Law in 1997, she received the Samuel Morse Lane Scholarship to pursue a Master of Laws (LLM) degree at Harvard Law School, graduating in 1998. She subsequently gained admission to Harvard Law School’s Doctor of Juridical Sciences (SJD) degree program from which she graduated in 2003. In the course of her doctoral studies, she received awards from the Association of American University Women, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and the Institute for the Study of World Politics. She subsequently joined the New York law firm, White & Case, LL.P., as an international legal associate in the firm’s project finance and equipment leasing practice.
Professor Kang’ara has recently published Beyond Bed and Bread: Making the African State through Marriage Law Reform – Constitutive and Transformative Influences of Anglo-American Legal Thought, in the Comparative Law Review. In this article, Professor Kang’ara unveils the juridical template that years of progressive reform of marriage laws in Africa have produced. She discuss the compromises that countries have made to produce a pragmatic regime that simultaneously adopts new ways of thinking about marriage while respecting “African” value choices and constraints. She concludes that this history shows that the laws governing family and property are as constitutive of the family as they are of the state and are therefore tools of governance, never purely private or personal.