Dec. 16, 2020 – The University of Houston Law Center has established the Initiative on Global Law and Policy for the Americas (GLPA), aimed at uniting academics, practitioners and policy makers to develop research, coursework and collaboration in the areas of international and comparative law.
Elizabeth Trujillo, founding director and Mary Ann & Lawrence E. Faust Professor of Law, says the mission is to provide a platform to examine how domestic law and policy in the Americas shapes global law and policy and vice versa. She joined the Law Center in 2019.
Specific areas of study will include international trade and investment, international and transnational law, sustainable development, and human rights in the context of today’s environmental and energy challenges and technological advances.
“The relationship between nations and the international landscape is changing. New legal frameworks are needed to capture the organic shifts between the global and the local. My hope is that the focus of GLPA will be in examining international trade and environmental sustainability, for example. These are areas that require both global and local solutions,” said Trujillo. “The challenge is finding frameworks that are flexible and malleable enough to allow for varied local solutions to global problems, while taking into account the interconnectivity of local action with other countries which can impact an entire region.”
While the Initiative emphasizes the Americas, it is not confined to the region. Rather, collaborators will examine these areas in terms of the interconnections between domestic law and policy with international law and global policy, with the Americas as a platform from which to engage with the rest of the world. Specific areas of the Americas will be highlighted, including the regions of North, Central, and South America as well as the Caribbean, fostering interdisciplinary research and international collaborations.
Prior to joining the Law Center, Trujillo was a professor of law at Texas A&M University School of Law where she was also the co-convener for its Global and Comparative Law Program and an affiliated faculty member with the Texas A&M University Energy Institute. She has also held positions as professor of law at Suffolk University School of Law in Boston where she also served as co-director of their International Law Concentration, visiting professor at Florida State University School of Law, and a visiting scholar at Harvard University Law School. As the recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship funded by the German government, Trujillo was a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Public International Law and Comparative Public Law and International Law where she did research for her book on trade and sustainable development to be published with Cambridge University Press next year.
Before entering academia, Trujillo worked for the Houston office of the New York law firm LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene and MacRae, later known as Dewey and LeBoeuf, in the areas of corporate law, project finance and international business transactions, with an emphasis on energy and Latin America.
Trujillo's publications, which have appeared in top 50 law reviews, books, and peer-reviewed journals, examine the relationship between international trade and investment with domestic regulatory structures, specifically in the areas of energy and the environment, sustainable development, and international consumer protection law. Her recent research focuses more specifically on the trade implications of local decarbonization strategies in national efforts to mitigate for environmental challenges.
GLPA will host in Spring 2021 its first six-part webinar speaker series in collaboration with the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Bologna discussing cutting-edge issues concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the region with respect to international trade, constitutional law, health and social justice as well as the environment. The series is entitled, "Constitutionalism, Trade, Social Justice, and Sustainability in the Americas: Lessons from the 2020 Global Pandemic," and will feature an array of international legal experts from the U.S., Europe, Mexico and Latin America.
“A webinar on the 2020 global pandemic is a prime example of just how interconnected our world is today, both with respect to addressing a common challenge like a transportable virus and in implementing the solutions to eradicate its impact,” Trujillo said. “At the same time, nations must use local mechanisms to protect its own communities and provide realistic solutions befitting their local needs. It is changing the way we think about our relationship to the world.”
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The University of Houston Law Center (UHLC) is a dynamic, top tier law school located in the nation’s 4th largest city. UHLC’s Health Law, Intellectual Property Law, and Part-time programs rank in the U.S. News Top 10. It awards Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees, through its academic branch, the College of Law. The Law Center is more than just a law school. It is a powerful hub of intellectual activity with more than 11 centers and institutes which fuel its educational mission and national reputation. UHLC is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.
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The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter for excellence in undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city and one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse regions in the country, UH is a federally designated Hispanic- and Asian-American-Serving institution with enrollment of more than 47,000 students.