Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

Philanthropist and veteran legal counsel Diego R. Figueroa-Rodriguez meets with ARDD’s legal team


Philanthropist and veteran legal counsel Diego R. Figueroa-Rodriguez and his brother Diego Gilberto Figueroa, a mental health specialist and an expert on drugs and crime prevention, met today, August 27, 2018, with ARDD’s team to discuss the justice system in Jordan, as well as ARDD’s mission towards legal empowerment, enhancing access to justice for Jordanians and refugees in the Kingdom and providing free-of-charge legal aid to those who need it.

Mr. Figueroa-Rodriguez’s and his brother’s five-day visit to Jordan will cover an array of fields including youth, women empowerment and civic engagement.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Mr. Figueroa-Rodriguez has served as financial and legal counsel to the president of the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico in a wide range of issues related to the formulation and establishment of public policy. Besides that, he served as counsel to governmental agencies in general legal, business and financing matters. As for his brother, known as “Tito”, a holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science with a Minor in Psychology and a Master of Science in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, he works as the Advisor to the President and Board of Directors of the largest labor union in Puerto Rico that represents over 5,000 members of the Police and Correctional System of Puerto Rico where he recruits and train the officers in the aspects of decision making, leadership, team work and mental health in the workplace.

Mr. Figueroa-Rodriguez, a counsel at multinational law film DLA Piper, discussed with the team the obstacles facing an accessible justice system in Jordan, as well as the ones facing civil society institutions like ARDD in their work towards that end.

The ARDD team explained that due to many social, economic and political complications, the mission to legally empower and to enhance the quality of the justice system requires a more wholesome approach that has many pillars, and that is why the organization has programs to empower women and youth, tackle education and culture, psychosocial support, as well as economic empowerment for vulnerable segments.

Drawing from his experience in working in legal empowerment projects in African and other developing countries with his firm, Mr. Figueroa-Rodriguez agreed with the team saying that “it’s not easy to change an entire system… but you can plant the seed”.

The discussion also covered Syrian refugees’ access to legal assistance, their legal status, and the need to train Syrian lawyers on their important role when Syrians return to their country, as well as the work of ARDD’s legal offices in refugee camps and with the refugee population outside the camps.

The two brothers met after that with the lawyers working with ARDD’s legal team, where they discussed comparisons of the legal systems in Jordan and the US, the law profession and unemployment and opportunity in the field.

The Puerto Rican lawyer shared his experience with ARDD’s lawyers on obtaining a degree and becoming a lawyer.