Environmental Law Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - March 2020

The 2nd Congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Environmental Law will be held in Rio de Janeiro in March 2020. 

The Latin America Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence (LatAm CAPE) and the Victoria University of Wellington Law School are offering a 2-week study tour to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to attend the Congress for nine New Zealand law students, recent graduates and/or young lawyers 

The study tour will be led by senior environmental law Professor Catherine Iorns from Victoria University of Wellington and Tom Stuart, a young lawyer who has lived and studied in Brazil.  Members of the study tour will be able to grow their knowledge of international and Latin American environmental lawattend Portuguese language, history and culture immersion courses, and learn about Brazilian laws and the legal system. 

The study tour will take place from Friday 20th March to Sunday 5th April, inclusive of international travel to and from Brazil. There will also be a pre-trip orientation day in Wellington on Saturday 14 March. 

The Latin America CAPE will cover the following: 

  • Return international flights, including domestic flights within New Zealand  
  • International health and travel insurance 
  • 14 nights twin-share accommodation, with breakfast  
  • 6-10 hours of group Portuguese classes 
  • All related travel expenses (public transport and taxis/shuttles) within Rio de Janeiro 
  • Registration fees for the Environmental Law Congress 
  • Meetings with Brazilian lawyers, academics and students working in relevant fields 
  • Some cultural excursions in and around the city of Rio de Janeiro 
  • Domestic Travel to Wellington for the pre-trip orientation day  

 How can this opportunity benefit you? You will: 

  • Learn about environmental laws and legal systems in Latin America, and in Brazil in particular. 
  • Experience a high-profile international environmental law conference. 
  • Be introduced to and work with environmental lawyers, judges, academics and students in Latin America. 
  • Enhance your global competence. 
  • Learn about the social, cultural and political dimensions of life in Brazil. 
  • Learn/improve your Portuguese language skills.    
  • Contribute to New Zealanders' increased awareness of the Latin American region by presenting your experience and learnings to key stakeholders back in New Zealand.  

Who can apply? You must: 

  • Be a NZ citizen or NZ Permanent Resident 
  • Be aged 18 or over 
  • Be an undergraduate law student who has completed their compulsory second-year law subjects, recent law graduate, or an LLM student at any New Zealand university, or be working as a lawyer in New Zealand within 3-5 years of graduation.  
  • Be able to demonstrate interest in environmental law and protection, and in other legal cultures. 
  • Be able to attend the 2-week study tour and the pre-trip orientation day in Wellington on 14th March 2020 
  • Agree to writing a 500-800-word blog and give a presentation of your experience to key stakeholders on your return to New Zealand. 

Application criteria: 


  • A demonstrated interested in environmental law and protection  
  • An interest in other legal cultures 
  • Good relationship skills and ability to work with a range of people in different contexts. 
  • Ability and willingness to represent both New Zealand and Brazil positively whilst in Brazil and upon returning to New Zealand   


  • Interest in Latin America  
  • Interest in cross-border commercial law 
  • Teamwork: can demonstrate experience and success working in diverse teams.   
  • Good written and presentation skills  
  • Basic Portuguese language skills  


  • The diversity of backgrounds and experiences of the overall team will also be taken into account. 

Application process 

  1. Submit an application by email to sarah.walker@vuw.ac.nz by midday, February 5, 2020 (the application requirements are detailed below). Any questions can also be emailed to sarah.walker@vuw.ac.nz  
  2. Interviews will be held with shortlisted applicantsThey are likely to be held during the week of 10th-14th February 2020, and may be conducted by teleconference where needed 
  3. ResultsSuccessful applicants will be notified in the week of 17th February 2020. 

Application Content Requirements 

Please send us the following things as part of your application: 

  1. Current Curriculum Vitae of up to pages. 
  2. A link to a 2-3 minute video (uploaded to YouTube) of yourselfabout yourself.  
    • You could address:
      • who you are; 
      • any experience you may have that could be relevant to this study tour and its criteria;
      • your personal strengths and weaknesses. 
  3. 200-300 word essay addressing the application criteria.   You could address: 
  4. A copy of the personal information page of your passport and/or New Zealand Resident visa, as applicable. 
  5. Make sure that the details below are included. 

Details required to be included in your application  

(this could be in your CV or typed below) 

  1. Personal information 
    1. Surname 
    2. Given name/s 
    3. Date of birth 
    4. Gender 
    5. Ethnicity 
    6. Iwi/Hapū affiliations (if applicable) 
    7. Email address 
    8. Contact address 
    9. Contact phone number 
    10. Emergency contact name and relationship 
    11. Emergency contact number 
  2. Degree and work information 
    1. University and degree programme 
    2. Degree status – eg: 
      1. Upper year undergraduate student  
      2. Master’s student  
      3. If graduate, when degree was awarded and from which institution 
    3. Work status and type of legal work undertaken (for graduates) 
  3. Other 
    1. I am available to travel to Wellington for the March 14 Orientation YES/NO 
    2. I am available to travel to Rio de Janeiro for the 2-week Study Tour.  YES/NO 
    3. Referee contact (name, relationship, phone number) 
    4. Contacts permission: Do you give permission for the Latin America CAPE to add you to their mailing list? YES/NO 


If offered a place, you will be required to agree to a conduct statement and to disclose any ongoing and/or recurrent health conditions (this is for assistance purposes, not screening). 

What are you looking for?