(Washington, D.C.): The Environmental Law Institute is pleased to announce the inaugural class of fellows of the Jim Rubin International Fellowship: Ginary Tatiana Gutiérrez Robledo of Colombia, and Junhong Li of China. Building on Jim’s legacy, and with the generous support of Jim’s wife, Nancie, and other members of the ELI community, ELI launched the Jim Rubin International Fellowship program to support rising environmental lawyers who are committed to building the next generation of environmental protection law and policy. Under the Fellowship, selected environmental lawyers from developing countries work with ELI staff and other fellows on cutting-edge issues and transferable approaches in environmental law and policy. Selected in part due to their proven track record doing meaningful work in overlooked areas of the world, Ginary and Junhong will embody Jim’s focus on both the substantive elements of environmental law and the procedural elements of dispute resolution, capacity-building, and citizen participation.
Jim Rubin was a stalwart environmental advocate and highly respected environmental attorney who left an enduring mark on the field of international environmental law both as a private practitioner and a public servant. During his 15 years of service at the U.S. Department of Justice, he worked tirelessly to integrate newly developing norms in environmental law, public international law, and international trade and investment. You can read more about Jim Rubin’s impact here.
“Throughout his career, Jim was an active member of the Environmental Law Institute, lending his expertise to ELI seminars and master classes and sharing his knowledge and experiences with a younger generation of environmental professionals,” explained ELI President Scott Fulton. “ELI is humbled by the opportunity to offer this fellowship to Ginary and Junhong in his name.”
For the past three years, Ginary Tatiana Gutiérrez Robledo has been an attorney at the Inspector Attorney General Office in Colombia. Her work has included coordinating monitoring processes of government compliance with agreements made between the government and Afro-Pacific communities, collaboration with communities to educate people on their human rights by organizing events and educational campaigns, and developing a community empowerment strategy regarding the exercise of democratic rights, the fight against corruption, and environmental justice. Educated in both Colombia and the United States, Ginary graduated from Duke University Law School with an LL.M. in May 2020. Before that, she studied at the Rosario University Law School in Bogota, Colombia, where she received an undergraduate law degree in 2018 and is in the graduation process to her M.A. in administrative law.
Since 2013, Junhong Li has been working at the Centre for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims (CLAPV) at China University of Political Science and Law (CUPSL) in Beijing. Among her various responsibilities at CLAPV, she represented local communities in public interest litigation matters and also conducted research on climate change legislation, enforcement and compliance, and illegal wildlife trade. Between April 2019 and January 2020, she worked at the China Environmental Protection Foundation (CEPF), where she managed CEPF’s NGO environmental public interest litigation capacity-building project. Junhong holds a Ph.D. in Law from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom; an LL.M. from CUPSL, and bachelor degrees from Renmin University of China and Henan Normal University.
More than 40 applicants from around the world, including Bangladesh, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Kenya, Lebanon, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, applied for the fellowship.