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February 13, 2012

Oregon Law mourns beloved professor Svitlana Kravchenko

The University of Oregon School of Law community mourns the loss of Svitlana Kravchenko, director of its LL.M. (master of laws) Program in Environmental and Natural Resources Law.  She died Friday, Feb. 10, in Eugene. She was 62. 

A memorial tribute to honor Professor Svitlana Kravchenko is planned for Friday, February 24, at 3:00 p.m. in room 175 of the law school. For those unable to attend in person, a live stream can be viewed at: http://media.uoregon.edu/channel/live/

“Professor Kravchenko accomplished more on the international stage than perhaps anyone in the School of Law’s 128-year history,” said Oregon Law Dean Michael Moffitt.   “She enjoyed international acclaim for her scholarship and her advocacy, which improved our school, our state and our world.  I am deeply saddened by this loss.”

During her brief time in the hospital, more than 300 messages offering support and prayers arrived from more than 60 countries.  Environmental advocates and scholars around the world have suggested that a global treaty protecting citizens’ rights to information, participation, and access to courts, especially in environmental matters, would be the best way to continue Kravchenko’s vision.

Dr. Kravchenko’s dedication to scholarly research resulted in authorship of 12 books, as well as 190 articles and book chapters.  She was a member of the Oregon Law community for ten years.

Her legacy and inspiration will be honored with awards and academic conferences being organized with the American Bar Association, the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, the United Nations Secretariat of the Aarhus Public Participation Convention, L’viv National University in Ukraine, and several other institutions.

Kravchenko recently was honored with the International Union for Conservation of Nature Academy of Environmental Law’s Senior Scholarship Prize. The criteria for the award included the originality, intellectual influence and international significance of Kravchenko’s publications in environmental law.

Accepting the IUCN Senior Scholarship Prize, Kravchenko remarked, “We become more alive through our contact with the young, through our mentoring and through our debates of ideas with each other. We become proud seeing our students’ own growth and achievements, during and after their time with us.”

She insisted, “We face a world that contains great beauty and is populated by humans capable of great acts of generosity.” She urged scholars to help move society “toward beauty and generosity.”  She added, “This academic career is the most fun thing you can do with your life.”

Kravchenko was a tireless traveler, having visited more than 70 countries and lectured in numerous locales.  She was deeply involved in public policy reform and has spoken widely on environmental and climate law.  She has served for ten years as the elected vice-chair of the Compliance Committee of the Aarhus Public Participation Convention, a quasi-adjudicative international body.

In addition to her passion for scholarly research and involvement in public policy reform, Kravchenko was also devoted to teaching, a profession to which she dedicated herself for more than 35 years. Prior to teaching at Oregon Law, Kravchenko taught environmental law at Lviv National University in Ukraine for 25 years.

Kravchenko was the founder and president of Environment-People-Law, the first public interest environmental law firm in Ukraine, the co-founder and co-director of the Association of Environmental Law of Central and Eastern Europe, and an elected regional governor of the International Council of Environmental Law.

Previously, Kravchenko served as a vice chair of the IUCN Commission of Environmental Law and an advisor for the Ministry of Environment and the Parliament of Ukraine. She also worked as a “citizen diplomat” in the international negotiation of the Aarhus Public Participation Convention.

“This loss is an immeasurable tragedy for the environmental public interest community across the globe” said Oregon Law Philip H. Knight Professor and Faculty Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program Mary C. Wood. “Professor Kravchenko’s impact extended to nations world-wide, and to the United Nations. She was a tireless champion of nature, and of humanity. She gave voice to the world’s people who are oppressed by the ravage of resources in their own homelands.”

“Professor Kravchenko’s work has established Oregon Law’s international reputation for its LL.M. in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and in international environmental law scholarship,” said Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Adell Amos. “Her spirit and efforts will continue to shape the program’s trajectory for years to come. Our community has lost an important voice and tireless advocate. We will miss her here in Eugene, and she will be missed around the world.”

Kravchenko is survived by her husband, Professor of Law John E. Bonine, whom she first met at an environmental conference in Ukraine in 1994.  She also leaves a daughter, Maria Kostytska, who practices law with Winston and Strawn in Paris, France, and niece Lena Kravchenko, who is executive director of Environment-People-Law in Lviv, Ukraine, and is studying to become a lawyer there.

View Oregon Law’s Tribute to Svitlana Kravchenko: law.uoregon.edu/2012/02/13/kravchenko

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