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Rule of Law Collaborative receives UNISHKA Cooperative Agreement

The Rule of Law Collaborative (ROLC) at the University of South Carolina has been awarded a two-year, $443,555 Cooperative Agreement to assist the U.S. Government in fighting corruption by undertaking research efforts to better understand the schemes employed by corrupt actors around the world. Working with implementing partner UNISHKA Research Service, ROLC will implement Combatting Corruption in Conflict Countries, a unique project that uses methodology aimed at identifying the root causes of corrupt behaviors and schemes.

In the 21stcentury, corruption has emerged as a central threat to peace and stability, undermining legitimacy and the rule of law in these regions. “As a result of corruption and the injustice it ferments, post-conflict regions often become breeding grounds for violent extremism and terrorist recruiting,” explains Director of ROLC Joel Samuels. Consequently, in 2017 anti-corruption was elevated to a national security priority for the United States.

The joint ROLC/UNISHKA initiative encapsulates years of research and field work to provide an innovative methodology to understand and thereby challenge corruption networks, schemes, and perpetrators in conflict and post-conflict environments. ROLC and UNISHKA will leverage their combined experience to develop comprehensive research reports, explains UNISHKA President and CEO Jeff Coonjohn.

Samuels explains that this project lies at the core of the ROLC mission. “Our center explicitly invokes the word ‘Collaborative’ in its title, and this project reflects a collaboration between experts on the ROLC team with an organization in UNISHKA that brings rich experience to complement our strengths. Together, we are able to offer a unique research product that will offer new information in the effort to fight the scourge of corruption around the world.” 

ROLC works to develop rule of law as a discipline, advance theoretical and research-based applications in the field, and refine policies relating to rule of law development. With more than 60 faculty associates across a range of disciplines, ROLC takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the rule of law.

To learn more about this project and other activities at the Rule of Law Collaborative, visit

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