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December 9, 2010

Oregon Law Professors return from annual ELAW meeting in Costa Rica

Oregon Law Professors John Bonine and Svitlana Kravchenko have just returned from the Central American nation, Costa Rica, where they met with environmental lawyers, politicians, judges, law students, and other law professors.

Professor Kravchenko with
Costa Rica Vice President
Alfio Piva

The professors attended the annual meeting of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW), a network of lawyers in 60 countries who represent citizen groups in environmental cases. More than 50 lawyers from 20 countries met at a rainforest retreat near the Pacific Ocean to plan strategies, share ideas and skills, and learn how to survive increasing threats against environmental advocates in some countries.

In addition to the ELAW meeting, Professors Bonine and Kravchenko introduced the Oregon LL.M. (Masters in Law) program to third-year law students at the University of Costa Rica and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. While there, the professors also met the Vice President of Costa Rica Alfio Piva, and held discussions with Justice Fernando Cruz Castro of the Constitutional Court of Costa Rica.

Professors Bonine and Kravchenko with
Professor Patricia Madrigal of the University
of Costa Rica law school

Bonine and Kravchenko also engaged in discussions about the relaunching of the University of Costa Rica’s Environmental Law Clinic, which, like 30 such clinics at law schools in the United States, was originally inspired by the University of Oregon’s pioneering environmental law clinic, established in 1978.

Oregon connections with Costa Rica are well established. Last summer, two Oregon Law students spent the summer studying environmental law in San Jose, Costa Rica, through a partnership among the universities of Florida and Costa Rica.

ELAW, which has its international headquarters in Eugene, also has long-established ties with Oregon Law. Bonine co-founded ELAW in 1989, soon after a sabbatical trip in which he realized that public interest lawyers needed a means to work with one another across national borders. Many of ELAW’s current staff members are alumni of Oregon Law. Kravchenko founded the ELAW-Ukraine office in 1995.

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