The office is abuzz this week with visitors from four continents.  All of our visitors do great work to protect communities and the environment.  They are here to work with ELAW staff and participate in the 2011 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC).

Most everyone flew in on Monday:  Lovesta Brehun from Green Advocates in Liberia, Rockson Akugre from the Center for Public Interest Law in Ghana, Pedro Leon from IDEA in Mexico, Tania Arosemana from the Environmental Advocacy Center in Panama, Kart Vaarmari from the Estonian Environmental Law Center, Szilvia Szilagyi from the Environmental Management and Law Association in Hungary, and Olena Kravchenko from Environment-People-Law in Ukraine.

On Wednesday we toured NextStep Recycling and learned about a pioneering model for e-waste recycling right here in Eugene.  Read more in The Register-Guard and watch a clip on KEZI-TV.

Yesterday, ELAW Fellows met with Bill Jaeger, a Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Oregon State University.  In the afternoon we were joined by Dean Xu Xiangmin and Professor Yu Ming from Ocean University in Qingdao, China.

PIELC is now underway at the University of Oregon, through Sunday. Our visitors will participate in panel presentations on the impacts of mining in Ghana, Mexico and Panama; pesticide pollution in Ukraine; and strengthening public participation in Estonia and Hungary.

I manage the ELAW Fellows Program, so having a large group in town from around the globe is a great experience. For 20 years,  ELAW has welcomed hundreds of grassroots advocates to Eugene for individually tailored Fellowships to collaborate and build skills to better protect communities and the environment through law.

Special thanks to the Trust for Mutual Understanding, the International Community Foundation, and the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for supporting the ELAW Fellowship Program.

Maggie Keenan
ELAW Communications Director