2015 Environmental Law Education Awards

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Education Awards recognize significant and diverse contributions to education and learning on environmental law by Senior and Emerging faculty. Such contributions include teaching specialized courses to undergraduate and graduate students, delivering clinical programs that expose students to the practice of environmental law, and supervising students who are undertaking advanced research in Masters and PhD programs.

The 2015 Education Award winners are announced below.

Senior Education Award : Professor Charles Okidi


Professor Charles Okidi

Professor Charles Okidi is associated with the School of Law and the Centre for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy at the University of Nairobi, Kenya.  The following commentary is taken from the remarks of Professor Sophie Riley, Chair of the Academy’s Teaching and Awards Committee, in announcing the award.

“Professor Charles Okidi is of course well known amongst our colleagues of the Academy as the father of environmental law in Africa. In this sense, he requires no further introduction and anything I am about to say is superfluous. However, let us reflect on some of Professor Okidi’s amazing achievements.

To start with he taught environmental law at the University of Nairobi in the 1980’s, long before the subject was taught elsewhere. Professor Okidi has supervised many graduate students and mentored students in publishing their work. He uses a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching and this is reflected in the fact that Professor Okidi’s students have gone on to work for organisations such as UNEP, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In addition many of his students have become researchers and academics at a range of universities.

Professor Okidi is also one of the founding members of the International Commission on Environmental Law as well as a founding member of the IUCN Academy on Environmental Law. In these positions Professor Okidi has forged linkages with leading academics around the world.

More recently Professor Okidi founded the Centre for Advanced Study of Environmental Law and Policy at the University of Nairobi. This centre offers graduate programmes in environmental law, policy and diplomacy. Professor Okidi was also a driving force behind the establishment of the Association of Environmental Law Teachers in African Universities.

Professor Okidi has published in the vicinity of 40 books and monographs, 28 journal articles and book chapters. He has also co-authored the first environmental law text book in Kenya.

In short, professor Okidi has been instrumental in setting the environmental agenda in Kenya and beyond.”

Emerging Education Award: Professor D. Kapua’ala Sproat

Professor Kapua’ala Sproat teaches at the University of Hawaii. The following commentary is taken from the remarks of Professor Sophie Riley, Chair of the Academy’s Teaching and Awards Committee, in announcing the award.

“Professor Sproat has taught environmental law at the University of Hawaii since 2007. She is an exceptionally talented teacher who emphasizes the relationship between environmental law and the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In addition, Professor Sproat teaches practice-oriented environmental law courses with a focus on environmental enforcement and citizen litigation. In 2011 she became the principal investigator for the A’o Aku A’o Mai initiative to provide direct legal services to under-represented groups in rurual communities.


Professor D. Kapua’ala Sproat

Professor Sproat has also published a number of legal primers including: one on water use and management in Hawaii; traditional and customary Native Hawaiian Rights and Nature; Hawaiian Burials and Quiet Title and Partition. Moreover, Professor Sproat is an outstanding mentor to her students, whom she encourages to act as research assistants and assistants in environmental law clinics.

In the words of her Dean, professor Sproat “…stands out as extraordinary…her success in conveying intricate information to law students, experts, community members…is unparalleled…she is an exemplar of what it is to be a brilliant teacher”

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