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Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies

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About the Center:

The Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies (GCELS) is the international and comparative arm of the Haub Environmental Law Program. Under the leadership of its founders and co-Directors, Professor Nicholas A. Robinson and Professor Richard L. Ottinger, GCELS anchors innovative and ongoing projects to develop necessary laws to address the world’s most pressing global environmental issues. 

GCELS maintains close relationships with important international environmental organizations, giving students unique insights into, and experience in, a fast developing area of environmental law.

  • Under the umbrella of GCELS, the "Center for Environmental Legal Studies" (CEL) is one of only two law schools that is a voting member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network. CEL has actively participated in the IUCN World Conservation Congress held every four years, as well as supported various sectors of the IUCN, including the World Commission on Environmental Law. Through its partnership with IUCN, law students participate in identifying practical solutions to pressing environmental challenges.  Decisions regarding CEL and IUCN are taken by a student-led Board of Governance, with faculty participation.
  • Since the inception of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law (Academy), GCELS has significantly furthered the scholarship of international and comparative environmental law through participation in the annual Academy Colloquium and contributions to the Academy’s publications. In 2016, the Maryland-Pace Alliance took on the Secretariat role, through which GCELS will offer students unique opportunities to work with leading international environmental law scholars.       
  • The Elisabeth Haub School of Law presents the Elisabeth Haub Award for Environmental Diplomacy and Law to distinguished diplomats, international civil servants and other negotiators in recognition of their innovation, skills, and accomplishments in creating the world environmental order and for distinguished achievement in the field of environmental law.  GCELS is the Secretariat for the Award.

GCELS offers many opportunities for law students to advance their experiences in and understanding of comparative environmental law and international environmental issues.

  • The UN Environmental Diplomacy Practicum allows students to serve as representatives of UN missions, including those of the IUCN and various small island nations, and to address pressing environmental matters with diplomats at the United Nations.
  • Pace Law students enrolled in the Brazil Comparative Environmental Law course are offered on-the-ground experiential learning with Brazilian scholars and attorneys in Rio de Janeiro through the BAILE Program.
  • The China Program gives Pace Law students the opportunity to collaborate with students and scholars at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Wuhan University Law School, amongst others, and with Chinese scholars visiting each year at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law.

Students working with GCELS actively participate in these projects, assisting with researching, editing, and drafting important publications as faculty research assistants. GCELS also holds periodic national and international symposia and conferences, which Pace Law students assist in organizing and directing, including a symposium to launch an international environmental judicial institute (2011). GCELS also works closely on international and comparative legal matters with other centers within the Haub Environmental Law Program, such as the Environmental Litigation Clinic, the Energy and Climate Center, the Land Use Law Center, and the Kheel Center for the Resolution of Environmental Interest Disputes, and with the Pace Environmental Law Review.