Serious challenges, with some green shoots of hope

Eric Gitari, an S.J.D. candidate at HLS

Eric Gitari is a candidate for the Doctorate in Juridical Science (S.J.D.) at Harvard Law School. Before beginning his studies at HLS, he was the co-founder and executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in Kenya.

In a 2018 Harvard Law Today profile, Gitari discussed his work with NGLHRC—most notably, a case in Kenya that his NGO brought on behalf of two young men arrested in 2015 on suspicion of engaging in homosexual activities—a felony in Kenya—and distributing pornographic material.

Earlier this month, he described his work this summer, as a 2019 Chayes International Public Service Fellow, monitoring the status of human rights for LGBTIQ persons in Gambia and Senegal, and his ongoing efforts to decriminalize same-sex relations in these and other African countries.

Read “Serious challenges, with some green shoots of hope” on Harvard Law Today.

Photo: National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

A fresh look at financing green activities

By Ayako Fujihara ‘21

During my summer placement at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London, I conducted research related to emerging legal frameworks for tackling climate change, including the EU’s efforts to codify the green bond framework (bonds issued where the funds are to be allocated to “green” activities). On a related project, I wrote a memo on how central banks can help tackle climate change, which is not traditionally perceived as being within the mandate of central banks, especially in the U.S. or Europe. But what was really interesting to see is that some central banks in emerging economies in Asia, such as India and Bangladesh, have already been taking active steps—some for almost a decade—to promote investment in green activities in their economies. These measures include compensating commercial banks for loans extended to green activities, or committing to allocate a certain proportion of their lending to green activities. Central banks have the potential to leverage their position of oversight over financial markets to exercise a stronger influence over the country’s policy in this sphere, to ensure that active steps are being taken by financial institutions towards supporting the transition into a greener economy.

This turned out to be a wonderful way to see the intersection of law and policy, understanding how the Legal Transition Team works not just to advocate for legal reform in the EBRD’s countries of operations, but also takes into consideration what policy initiatives can be implemented. My understanding is that the EBRD is aiming to hold an event for central bankers across Eastern Europe and Central Asia on this topic in the coming months, so I hope that some of my research will be integrated.

Ayako Fujihara is a second-year student at HLS, with an interest in the legal infrastructures that undergird the international economic system.  She spent her 1L summer as a 2019 Chayes International Public Service Fellow, working with the EBRD’s Legal Transition Team. Her research focused on emerging challenges for various stakeholders in tackling climate change, as well as comparative analysis on international and national legal instruments in public procurement.

Photo courtesy of Ayako Fujihara

International, Comparative and Foreign Law at HLS

International Legal Studies has launched a new web page — International, Comparative and Foreign Law at HLS — designed to let the HLS community know about the many events relating to international, comparative and foreign law at HLS and across the University. We hope you’ll find it of interest.

Is your organization planning an event that could be listed here?  Let us know about it (at least 10 days in advance) by emailing International Legal Studies at Please be sure to include the date, time, location, sponsoring organizations and a link where people can find more information.

The Education of an Idealist

On September 23, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power ’99 expressed both skepticism and hope for the current state of international affairs during a panel discussion at Harvard Law School about her new memoir, The Education of an Idealist.

Ambassador Power is currently teaching at Harvard as the William D. Zabel ’61 Professor of Practice in Human Rights at Harvard Law School, and the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

Read about and watch the discussion on Harvard Law Today.

The event was sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library and International Legal Studies.

Photo:  Lorin Grainger