As a teenage political dissident, Makau W. Mutua fled his native Kenya during the violent final years of the Daniel arap Moi regime and lived to tell the story, largely due to the kindness of strangers in neighboring Tanzania.

A few years later, in 1984, as an aspiring lawyer with $40 in his pocket, Mutua made his way from Dar es Salaam to Boston and then to Cambridge, Mass., where he worked his way through Harvard Law School as a night watchman.

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