Two F&ESers Receive Fellowships for Global Justice and Women's Rights

Note: Yale School of the Environment (YSE) was formerly known as the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). News articles and events posted prior to July 1, 2020 refer to the School's name at that time.

hilary faxon and lia nicholson Hilary Faxon, left, and Lia Nicholson
Hilary Faxon B.A. ‘11 M.E.M. ‘13, and Lia Nicholson M.E.M. ‘14, have each received a Gruber Fellowship in Global Justice and Women’s Rights for projects to implement environmental programs in vulnerable parts of the world.
As a Fellow, Faxon will spend one year in Myanmar, where she will work with the NGO Local Resource Centre (LRC) to help implement the environmental component of the nation’s first National Strategic Plan for Advancement of Women.
Nicholson, the first Gruber awarded to the Caribbean, will manage a climate change project in the twin-island nation of Antigua & Barbuda that aims to build resilience to climate impacts, with a focus on women’s empowerment, and to communicate knowledge of climate adaptation globally.
The Gruber program is a Yale University program administered by Yale Law School that helps foster international understanding and dialogue in the fields of global justice and women’s rights. The fellowships allow recent graduates of Yale graduate and professional schools to spend a year working abroad on these issues.

It is the first time that a student or alumnus of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) has received this fellowship.

“It is a great honor that this outstanding group of Gruber Fellows includes two members of the F&ES community,” said Peter Crane, Dean of F&ES. “A central principle at this School is that the environmental challenges facing our planet are intrinsically linked with issues of equality and justice. We are extremely proud that both Hilary and Lia are taking the lead in addressing these issues in parts of the world that face profound environmental challenges.”

In Myanmar, Faxon will also serve as technical advisor to the Gender Equity Network, which will provide a platform for cross-sector collaboration on the twin goals of women’s empowerment and sustainable development.

A graduate of both F&ES and Yale College, she aims to blend her academic expertise in environmental governance with practical experience in policymaking and community conservation to contribute to the successful implementation of Myanmar’s ground-breaking national plan.
Drawing on her experience with community conservation and development in Bhutan and women and water in Haiti, she will initiate research and reports to inform how gender considerations might be incorporated into national policies and programs. She also will develop related workshops, educational curricula, and toolkits for government, civil society groups, and local communities.
“I’m thrilled to return to South Asia to represent F&ES and the Gruber program for this project,” Faxon said. “The linkages that my project seeks to catalyze upon and promote — gender and environment; natural resource rights and justice — are integral to the culture and curriculum of our School, yet not always fully recognized in the larger development field. The project definitely has an F&ES stamp.”

Nicholson, who will graduate from F&ES this year, will spend one year as a field-based manager of a project with the Government in her home country of Antigua & Barbuda, a nation vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The project will address flood hazards in four disadvantaged communities through a series of workshops that identify engineering and ecosystem-based solutions. Communications goals are to inform policymakers about national strategies for adapting to a future of extreme weather patterns, and to develop ‘storyboard’ materials for an international audience.
The project is being funded by the Global Environment Facility, an independent international organization that provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, the ozone layer and persistent organic pollutants.
Nicholson comes from a non-profit background where, prior to Yale, she directed the Environmental Awareness Group, a civil society organization in Antigua & Barbuda. “The Gruber Fellowship will support me to do two things that I most believe in: amplify the voices of marginalized people, and support island nations in the face of climate change,” Nicholson said.
“I have high hopes for this project. Antigua & Barbuda — like many small islands globally — is facing a time of transition, with new recognition in private and public sectors for the urgent need to address vulnerability in a changing climate. The task ahead is to translate political will into on-the-ground action. I am extremely grateful to the Gruber Foundation for this opportunity to make progress in my home country.”

View the full list of winners.
– Kevin Dennehy    203 436-4842