Four Students Selected as 2017 Sabin International Environmental Fellows

sabin fellows 2017
By Amber Collett
Camilo Huneeus-Guzman ’18 M.E.M., left; Elham Shabahat ’18 M.E.M.; Diego Manya Gutierrez ’18 M.E.M.; and Kelechi Eleanya ’17 M.E.M.
The Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) has selected four graduate students as Andrew Sabin International Environmental Fellows, with each Fellow receiving up to $40,000 of funding for their education and post-graduate service in the environmental sector.

The 2017 Sabin Fellows are Kelechi Eleanya’18 M.E.M. (Nigeria); Camilo Huneeus-Guzman ’18 M.E.M. (Chile); Diego Manya Gutierrez ’18 M.E.M. (Peru); and Elham Shabahat ’18 M.E.M. (India).

Started in 2011 by the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, the fellowship provides scholarship support for students from developing countries, and postgraduate awards to those students returning to their home countries and regions to pursue environmental careers. Each Fellow is eligible to receive tuition assistance of up to $20,000 and another $20,000 in post-graduation awards within 18 months of graduation.
“I’m so impressed by the passion of these young leaders, and their commitment to return to their home countries of Chile, India, Nigeria and Peru to help address critical environmental and health issues such as climate change, habitat and biodiversity loss, and clean air and water,” said Andrew Sabin, president of the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation. “By reducing their student debt and getting them started on their careers, I hope to create a global network of environmental professionals who can help save the planet for future generations.”

Since its inception, 50 F&ES students have received this fellowship, many of whom have since returned to their home countries to work on conservation, forestry, climate change, biodiversity, wildlife, and agricultural issues. Ambika Khadka ’13 M.E.M. is working on sustainable use of water and land resources as a Research Officer at International Water Management Institute in Kathmandu, Nepal; Lia Nicholson ’14 M.E.M. is developing climate change adaptation strategies for the Government of Antigua & Barbuda; and Heri Hermawan ’15 M.F.S. is Section Head of Community Forestry at the Agriculture, Estate Crops and Forestry Department of the Klungkung Regency Governmentin Bali Province, Indonesia.
“The Sabin Fellowship provides such a valuable opportunity for our international students, offering not just financial support but encouraging them to tackle critical environmental challenges in their home countries,” said F&ES Dean Indy Burke. “We are so grateful to the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation for its support of these future global environmental leaders.”

About the 2017 Sabin Fellows

Elham Shabahat is studying the human dimensions of environmental management. After spending five years working for international organizations — including the UN Development Programme, the World Bank, and UNICEF — she hopes to spend the next phase of her career working on field projects that integrate conservation and development, particularly in India and other nations in Asia. Her summer research will examine the architecture and implementation of a community-based adaptation project in Bangladesh, evaluating reforestation and afforestation programs in coastal communities, particularly as they relate to building capacity of the poor to adapt to climate change. She hopes to better understand what community-based adaptation looks like on the ground — and whether it can lead to positive development outcomes.
Diego Manya Gutierrez aspires to integrate environmental principles and sustainability into future development in his native Peru and in the Latin America region. Having previously worked as a specialist for the Poverty and Environment Initiative for the UNDP/UNEP, he found the environmental sector to be isolated from most development discussions, with development focused mainly on economic factors. He is particularly interested in exploring how these realms can be integrated in urban areas and in contributing to the design and implementation of public policies that address environmental impacts and social inequalities driven by rapid and disorganized urbanization processes. At F&ES he has worked with the Yale Data-Driven Environmental Solutions Group, where he has focused on developing a new indicator to evaluate the environmental performance of cities.
Camilo Hunneeus Guzman, who has a background in chemical engineering and industrial management, came to F&ES to develop skills related to conservation and water management. In the next phase of his career he hopes to focus on basin conservation and management, particularly in locations that provide access to drinking water or are affected by sanitation challenges. He aspires to create a space of regional water management and a conservation decision-making process, particularly pertaining to trans-boundary waters. Specifically, he aims to create a network that coordinates different actors at three basins in Chile that provide water for human needs but where there is currently a lack of communication between stakeholders and natural areas with endemic and endangered species. “They also share in common the nascent presence of conservation efforts,” he writes.
Kelechi Eleanya is studying environmental law and policy with a goal of advocating for populations whose livelihoods are tied to natural resources and building lasting solutions to the challenge of sustainable rural livelihoods. After graduation he plans to return to a teaching position at the Federal University in Nigeria, where he aims to expand his contribution in the areas of natural resource conservation and policy. He also plans to engage with the scientific and international development community and help shape discussions around the environment and livelihoods. For his summer internship, he will work with government agencies in Nigeria to create a strategy for science-policy engagement and action. This year he transitioned from a one-year midcareer MEM program to the two-year masters program to broaden his knowledge base in environmental governance, including water, forests, and urban and rural livelihoods.
PUBLISHED: May 4, 2017
Note: Yale School of the Environment (YSE) was formerly known as the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). News articles posted prior to July 1, 2020, refer to the School's name at that time.