June 24, 2009
ATLANTA – Georgia State University College of Law Professor Colin Crawford has been awarded a three-year, $650,000 grant to do environmental law capacity-building in Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
The three countries are part of the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), a comprehensive trade agreement among Costa Rica, The Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the United States.
The grant is the largest one-time federal grant ever awarded to a College of Law faculty member. The grant, funded by the Higher Education for Development/U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will allow Crawford and the law school to combine its resources with those of U.S.-based, Spanish-speaking technical experts and Dominican, Guatemalan and Nicaraguan universities, institutions and technical experts.
Local partners include the faculties of law at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Santo Domingo, the Universidad Rafael Landivar in Guatemala City, and the Universidad Paulo Freire in Managua. The project will produce a model, inter-disciplinary environmental law diplomado curriculum, train a core of environmental law experts/practitioners in the three partner countries who can staff the environmental law diplomado programs at those institutions, and produce a training manual to implement the diplomado regionally. The project also will assure the creation of an extensive, multi-lateral network of environmental law and regulatory professionals and activists between and among CAFTA-DR and U.S. partners.
Crawford secured the grant with the help of the GSU’s Office of International Affairs.
"It is important for Georgia State to be involved internationally because it allows us to bring our expertise to bear in the larger area," said Earl Picard, director of international program development and management. "Central America is one of the largest growth areas and we have strong relationships there. It’s important that we stretch ourselves beyond Georgia and the borders of United States."
Environmental protection is an essential component to effective development in the three countries, Crawford said.
"Without sound environmental law and regulation tailored to local needs that can reasonably be enforced given the resources, strengths and limitations of particular countries, long-term economic and industrial growth will fail because without such regulation, the tendency is to implement projects aimed to short-term returns," he said.
Crawford co-directs (with Professor Julian Juergensmeyer) the College’s Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth, and directs the Summer Legal Study Program in Rio de Janeiro, a large, inter-disciplinary summer foreign study program in Rio de Janeiro that offers courses in comparative and international environmental and land use law, social justice and human rights law, and corporate and trade law. His newest project is Study Space, which, twice a year, brings together a dozen academics and graduate students for an intensive study of one city in the Americas or the Caribbean.
"Professor Crawford is one of the nation’s leading scholars in environmental comparative law," College of Law Dean Steven Kaminshine said. "This grant will enhance his ability to expand on his considerable work in this area."