She plays piano, she  hikes, she even ice skates — but most importantly, Agnes Gajdics works long hours to protect the people and environment in her native Hungary.

For the next nine weeks, Agnes will be living in Eugene, working with ELAW staff members and studying English at the American English Institute at the University of Oregon.  She also hopes to travel around the Pacific Northwest seeing the sights, hiking the trails and learning more about the native environment.  She is blogging about her adventures and experiences – check out her blog:  Eugene Weekly.

Agnes is a lawyer with the Environmental Management and Law Association (EMLA) based in Budapest.  EMLA provides thousands of hours of pro bono legal assistance to disadvantaged community groups and citizens in Hungary.  EMLA describes its work on its website:

EMLA is a non-profit non-governmental organization working in environmental law and environmental management on national, European and international levels. The main activities of EMLA are public interest environmental legal advice and litigation, environmental legal research, consulting and education, and carrying out of environmental management project. EMLA is a founding member of Justice and Environment. The EMLA Foundation established by the EMLA Association is active in environmental education.

In her job with EMLA, Agnes has been fighting polluting coal mines and forcing corporations to clean up hazardous waste. EMLA recently won a big victory, when their work kept a proposed battery recycling facility from being constructed in a natural protected area, as was originally planned.

So far, Agnes has been enjoying Eugene and her time at ELAW. She is looking forward to more opportunities to collaborate with the ELAW staff and explore the area.

by Rita Radostitz