Edna Odhiambo, LL.M. ’16 Brings Sustainable Cities to Nairobi, Kenya

When LL.M. graduate Edna Odhiambo returned to Kenya, the climate change advocate sought solutions for the densely populated Nairobi. “I am constantly seeking spaces to drive localized climate action towards sustainability,” she said.

Edna, a Fulbright Scholar with a background in Environmental Law, traveled from Kenya to Eugene in 2015 for the sole purpose of attending the School of Law. She had enrolled in the LL.M. Program taking full advantage of not only Oregon Law, but also the innovative Sustainable Cities Initiative here at the UO.

SCI is a groundbreaking multi-disciplinary initiative focused on sustainability and the built environment. It addresses community sustainability issues through education, service, public outreach, and research. Projects connect students and community stakeholders to improve the future outlook and viability of each locale. Each community, with its unique infrastructures and legal frameworks, is a new challenge for students. During her year here at UO, Edna worked on SCI’s Redmond Project, focusing on promoting urban agriculture by concentrating on the connection between urban farming and local regulations. This adaptable model with its practical approach to learning stayed with Edna as she returned to Nairobi.

Now teaching at the University of Nairobi, Edna is implementing the Sustainable Cities model she learned in Oregon, working closely with the SCI projects leads to get it started. “The County of Nairobi is interested in creating more green spaces and pedestrianizing streets as the city experiences rapid urbanization,” Edna shared. “The timing and opportunity is right to get Sustainable Cities off the ground, here.”

Working through existing faculties at the University of Nairobi such as law, architecture, and engineering, and in partnership with the county, she will be implementing the Sustainable Cities model with enrolled students in target communities beginning this fall.

“Since 2009, we’ve seen the Sustainable Cities model extend across the country and to other continents. Edna has been both a champion and an ambassador for the program as we embark on this first project in Kenya,” stated Nico Larco, Co-Director of SCI. “She is the right person to promote this model in Nairobi, specifically, one of the most populous urban areas on the continent.”

Edna’s efforts have also produced a partnership between the University of Nairobi and the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities called Walkability, Nairobi County. EPIC’s ability to adjust to different urban settings will provide functionality in Nairobi’s densely populated setting. As Edna has noted, “Nairobi is much bigger than Eugene. Students have to choose a locality instead of focusing on the city as a whole.”

The progress Edna has made since leaving the Law School has created a buzz that is difficult to contain. Kristie Gibson, LL.M. Program Director, recently said, “We couldn’t be happier for Edna and her ability to make the world a better place.”

Find out more about SCI at the UO.

This story first appeared in the ENR Year in Review. 

Gina Rosario Diaz, Class of 2017, ENR

I work as the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Climate Change Specialist at the Dominican Republic Delegation of the Inter-American Institute of Cooperation for Agriculture (IICA), a specialized agency of the Inter-American System for the promotion of agriculture and rural well-being. After graduating from the University of Oregon School of Law LL.M. Program, I did a summer internship at Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW) in Eugene, Oregon, where I gained vast knowledge in researching and legal writing on International Environmental Law.

Personal Update: Two months ago, I started my dream job in the Dominican Republic, and I am getting married to the love of my life in 2018.

Do you have any advice for current students in the LL.M. program? The UO LL.M. program is a life-changing experience! Do your readings and assignments, participate in extracurricular and outdoor activities and enjoy the mix of cultures and the breathtaking landscapes Oregon and UO have to offer!

5-year plan: I hope to continue to work on issues concerning climate change, natural resources and international relations, especially in rural communities. My goal is to keep climbing and developing professionally at my current institution and on the issues in which I currently work.

Comments: The University of Oregon School of Law is the best place to pursue an LL.M. degree if you are an international student. The academia, the environment and the people (especially the LL.M. staff) is the perfect combination to succeed in your studies. Go Ducks!

Manon Simon, Class of 2015, ENR

I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in International Environmental Law and Policy at the Research Institute of Wuhan University School of Law in Hubei Province, China. After graduating from the University of Oregon, I also interned at the United Nations Environmental Program in Geneva.

Do you have any advice for current students in the LL.M. program? Be bold!

 5-year plan: Maybe become a Professor of Law at the University of Oregon…who knows!

Jesse Imonje Indeche, Class of 2017, ENR

I am a lecturer at Riara University, School of Law in Nairobi, Kenya.

Do you have any advice for current students in the LL.M. program?  It is all about hard work and the memories you create. They build a pillar of success for the present and future.

5-year plan: My goal is to be established in academia, especially in a field that focuses on environmental and natural resources law.

Comments: During my studies at the UO I learned that integrity, self-discipline, faith in oneself, persistence, perseverance, teamwork and respect are the essential virtues that enable you to achieve your dreams.

Roberto De Palma Barracco, Class of 2017, Conflict and Dispute Resolution

I am an alumnus of the LL.M. program (Conflict & Dispute Resolution track) at the University of Oregon School of Law. I am from Brazil and work in the sports industry, focusing on crisis prevention and conflict management. An ADR enthusiast, I also deal with negotiations as well as arbitration and mediation within the sports sector and other related industries, such as fashion and entertainment.

Currently, I act as consultant in a couple of ADR/sports crossover projects here in Brazil. As to organizations that I am part of, I handle new sports initiatives in the Iberian-American legal context as IB|A Sports Legal Institutional Relations advisor. And I reach out to international partners as the Brazilian Sports Law Institute (IBDD) International Relations coordinator. I serve as a member of the International Association of Sports Law (IASL), as a guest member on the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) Sports Law Commission Santos Chapter, and as a member on the Brazilian Bar Association Technology and Innovation Commission São Paulo chapter.

I do follow a lifelong passion as a Universidade do Futebol sports law columnist. There I work to help others understand more about the underlying complexity of the law and sports convergence. As a sports lawyer, I also contribute to other media vehicles, such as LawInSport, TPA (The Players’ Agent), the Iberian-American Law Review of Sports’ Business & Economics, and the Panorama of Brazilian Law (PBL).

I do love my academia side. I was a Visiting Professor for the Summer Sports Institute at the University of Oregon School of Law in the summer of 2017, and I will be back again for its ’18 edition as a Visiting Professor. I work as an Academic Assistant at the University of São Paulo School of Law, and I have had visiting lecturer and key note speaker appointments in various universities, events and seminars in countries such as Brazil, U.S., Moldova and Japan.

Aside from my LL.B. (University of São Paulo School of Law) and LL.M. (#goDucks), I do have an extension on entertainment management & marketing (UCLA/MEMES Institute) and on sports business (FIA), as well as certificates in mediation (UO) and IP law (WIPO Academy). I am a University of São Paulo School of Law Master’s candidate (’18) and an International Sports Law ISDE global Master’s candidate (’19). As a continued learning believer, I hope to start my Ph.D. here in Brazil in ’19 to learn fresh perspectives on my area of work and share my own experience. Now you know a bit about me, and I would like to invite you to connect with me at my LinkedIn and twitter (@RBarracco) so I can get to know you more!

Do you have any advice for current students in the LL.M. program?  Believe in yourself.

5-year plan: I would like to continue with most of the work I am doing now. Hopefully I will be able to contribute more to sports law as a professor at a Brazilian university and as a pro tempore professor at the University of Oregon School of Law. I do see myself as a Court of Arbitration for Sport arbitrator and a sports negotiator abroad focusing on the U.S. market.

LL.M. Program Congratulations

LL.M. Class of 2017

This year has been another exciting year for the University of Oregon LL.M. Program. The Environmental and Natural Resources Law concentration continues to bring enthusiastic, highly accomplished students to the law school. The expanded LL.M. program also welcomed talented students who pursued an LL.M. in the American Law, Business Law, or Conflict and Dispute Resolution concentrations.

In May, Oregon Law celebrated eleven students who received their Master of Laws degrees, including seven students who completed the Environmental and Natural Resources Law (ENR) LL.M. concentration.

In addition to their academic work, the 2017 LL.M. cohort was engaged and involved in environmental law and human rights conferences, symposia, and consortia locally and internationally. One LL.M. student, a Fulbright scholar, traveled to Oxford, United Kingdom to participate in the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights. Two LL.M. students coordinated panels on trans-boundary water issues and climate change during the 2017 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference in March and presented papers on climate change migration and offshore underwater data centers during the UO Climate Change Research  Symposium in April. Another LL.M. student was a guest lecturer on food law and urban agriculture in an UO undergraduate food studies course. Following graduation, many LL.M. ENR graduates started new internships, applied to advanced degree programs, or returned to their home countries to pursue or recommence their practice in the environmental law and natural resources law fields. LL.M. alumna Gina Rosario Diaz, a LASPAU Fulbright Faculty Development scholar and environmental lawyer from the Dominican Republic, was excited to have an opportunity to participate in a summer internship with the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW). Gina shared that her work at ELAW entails “a variety of environmental law issues in different countries, including climate change, right to a healthy environment, aquaculture, [and] environmental impact assessment.”

LL.M. alumna Gloria Chelang’at, an International Cultural Service Program award recipient from Kenya, was admitted to a prestigious Ph.D. program in international environmental law and policy at Wuhan University in Wuhan, China. She will focus her research on developing “policies governing the environment and natural resources in [Kenya] and in other developing nations facing similar issues.” Gloria’s goal is to establish a consultancy firm in Kenya that focuses on public interest environmental law and natural resources policy.

This August, the LL.M. Program welcomed returning LL.M. students, and seven new members of the LL.M. class of 2017 – 2018. Several LL.M. students will be working toward an LL.M. degree in environmental and natural resources law this academic year. The class of 2017 – 2018 includes an impressive array of students from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. Among the members of the incoming class is a Fulbright scholar who is pursuing an LL.M. degree in environmental and natural resources law.

The incoming and returning LL.M. students bring with them vast and experienced professional portfolios. Among them is an attorney who worked as a legal officer for the Ministry of Agriculture, Directorate for Water Resources Management in Africa, several attorneys who are interested in incorporating environmental law and natural resources law into their practice, an attorney who works for a securities and exchange commission in Asia, and several who have a transactional business practice.

Kristie Gibson, LLM Program Director

Just like the class of 2017, some of this year’s students have worked in environmental justice and advocacy programs and projects in their home countries and others aspire to focus their work in this area. The incoming ENR-focused students have a strong commitment to public interest service and initiatives, with a focus on climate change, natural resources law, water law, appropriate dispute resolution, environmental protection and preservation. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with such talented students, and I am excited to be involved in furthering the legal education of such impressive and dedicated legal professionals.

Gloria Chelang’at, Class of 2017, ENR

Gloria Chelang’at, LL.M. Class of 2017
Photo credit: Jack Liu

I am currently working on legal research on Implementation of International Environmental Law at the domestic level (with an emphasis on Environmental Courts), at the Research Institute of Environment Law (RIEL) at the Wuhan University School of Law in China, where I am pursuing a Ph.D. in International Environmental Law and Policy on a scholarship award.

Do you have any advice for current students in the LL.M. program?  Believe in yourself and pursue your dreams and goals. Use resources and time wisely, and create meaningful relationships. Learn to balance life, be a good team player and be an ambassador for yourself, county, region and the world. The UO is a great place and is a stepping stone to your future career life. Remember that work without play makes Ducks very dull!

5-year plan: In five years, I will be done with my Ph.D. program and will have set up a consultancy firm which will deal with public interest and private environmental issues, and offer consultancy on International Environmental Law matters to my country, and internationally by partnering with other international consultancy firms. I would also love to lecture part-time at a university in Kenya and work with the United Nations Environment Programme.