This guest post was written by John Elstad, head of Content Transformation at Thomson Reuters, who shares an update on the company’s partnership with Books for Africa.

Thomson Reuters has a long-standing relationship with Books for Africa as part of our ongoing commitment to access to justice and the global rule of law. Today I’m happy to share an update on our partnership with the nonprofit, which sends millions of books, computers, e-books and other educational materials to countries throughout Africa.

 We have worked with the Jack Mason Law & Democracy Initiative, which is a partnership between Thomson Reuters and Books for Africa, for more than a decade. Personally, I have been involved with the organization the past three years as a board member. A highlight of my tenure was in June, celebrating the opening of Books for Africa’s new warehouse in Marietta, Georgia – a location that takes advantage of easy access to highway, air and sea transportation. It was great to see our law libraries there in Atlanta, carefully prepared for the journey by our team in Core Publishing Solutions.

The event’s special guest was Her Excellency Hilda Suka-Mafudze, the African Union ambassador to the United States, who recognized our contributions in her keynote address: “I would also like to thank Thomson Reuters for their generous support in agreeing to fund the delivery of another 40-foot sea container of books to my home country of Zimbabwe in honor of my visit to this exciting event here today. This delivery of over 22,000 books will also include a law library donated by Thomson Reuters. I very much appreciate the support of Thomson Reuters in advancing the cause of education in Zimbabwe, and across our beloved Continent.”

Celebrating the Books for Africa warehouse opening in Marietta, Ga.

Nearly 110 law libraries delivered to Africa

Suka-Mafudze noted Books For Africa has sent more than 51 million books over 33 years, benefiting all of Africa’s 55 countries. Also noteworthy: the Zimbabwean library marks the 108th law library Thomson Reuters has provided through the initiative. Our model of building up the legal domain is being replicated, as companies with expertise in areas including medicine and agriculture work with Books for Africa to donate libraries in their respective niches.

Our global footprint at Thomson Reuters affords us a unique position to provide law libraries in multiple languages and in support of various legal structures. The resources we’ve contributed often go to organizations or countries with no existing law library, and it’s an honor for Thomson Reuters to help provide this crucial foundation, especially in emerging democracies.

What’s particularly powerful to me is the importance of democratic structures and the rule of law in the world, and how they ultimately lead to safer societies and more peaceful ways of resolving conflicts and gaining access to justice. Books for Africa is a foundational part of that, and it’s a privilege for Thomson Reuters to collaborate with them. Our efforts are making a significant impact across Africa, but there’s much more work to be done.

Pictured above: African Union Ambassador Hilda Suka-Mafudze with John Elstad, head of Content Transformation at Thomson Reuters, at the opening of Books for Africa’s new warehouse.

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