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Bok Course Spotlight: “Energy Justice and Sustainable Development”

March 15, 2023

Every year, through Penn Carey Law’s innovative Bok courses, students engage with top scholars from around the world in 3- or 4-week-long explorations of current topics at the forefront of global legal scholarship. These courses supplement the Law School’s wide array of Global Coursework offerings.

The Fall 2022 offering, “Energy Justice and Sustainable Development,” explored some of the most difficult issues in the field of energy and environmental law, including the drivers and dimensions of energy injustice and their implications for sustainable development.

The Bok Visiting Professors who teach these intensive, timely courses are selected by Penn Carey Law faculty for their expertise in and contributions to their fields. Bok Visiting Professor Damilola Olawuyi, SAN, a prolific and respected expert in petroleum, energy, and environmental law, was no exception, bringing an experienced voice and a unique perspective to the course topic. He is one of the youngest full professors of law in Nigerian history, and the youngest academic to ever conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Olawuyi is currently serving as Vice Chair for the International Law Association. He was also recently appointed as an Independent Expert on the African Union’s Working Group on extractive industries.

“The purpose of international diplomacy, the reason why we do what we do, is to make life better for everyone and to achieve a just, inclusive, and sustainable world …,” said Olawuyi. “That is why we study [justice issues], and that’s why we’re doing this work.”

The Bok course, which emphasized practical skills and mechanisms for managing justice risks, provided a comparative assessment of the application of the normative guidelines offered by international instruments in the energy sector, such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Students examined human rights due diligence, corporate social responsibility, sustainability reporting, green supply chains and procurements, and strategic risk management as effective tools for business enterprises, governments, lawyers, and law firms.