MSc in Environmental Policy, University College Dublin
Ricardo was employed by the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic as an Advisor on Enviroment Policy and Law of the Sea before receiving his Ireland Fellows Programme award (2021-2022) to study in University College Dublin.
For the past 7.5 years I have been employed by the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic as an Advisor on Enviroment Policy and Law of the Sea. I advise on law of the sea and environment law, research, write legal analysis and draft judicial decisions on environmental cases admitted under the authority of the Constitutional Court. I draft the recommendations of the Constitutional Court to the Congress of the Republic for the approval of policies, acts or regulations within the marine and environmental legislative framework. I also examine the international and bilateral treaties related to natural resources, including marine and coastal resources.
I chose to study Environmental Policy at University College Dublin because I believe that without environmental policy, the world may continue to be unaware of how to take better action in protecting our planet. As an international student studying environmental policy, I am learning about public policies and plans that will help to protect the environment and create sustainability. Since environmental policy focuses on action, boldness, and advocacy, I will have a hands-on and exciting experience, knowing first-hand how to analyse the diverse environments found on our planet. Ireland is a reference in the world to study this field not only because of its environmental policies but also because its strong position in environmental justice.
I am looking forward to writing a research thesis that makes a significant contribution to the fight against climate change, using the Irish example to promote cooperation, study, and possible cross-border initiatives. The valuable knowledge this fellowship position is offering me would be extensively applied and prove immeasurably useful to make a positive impact in my region which is affected by the issue of climate change and rising sea levels.
As a lawyer who has mostly worked in the legal sector before, I wish to highlight the chance to study with a diverse group of professionals from different careers including economists, engineers, and scientists. This situation has opened my mind giving me the opportunity to have different perspectives on environmental issues and a clear notion of the so-called science policy interfere principle applied to policy making.
My experience has been amazing so far. I absolutely love Ireland, the country really is beautiful, it is a wonderful place to study because it is quiet, safe, and organized. People are nice and polite as well as welcoming. It is a country with a unique culture and that part is exciting too. People complain about the pouring rain and the cloudy weather in Ireland but as I was very much used to vastly different weather in the Caribbean, I find the Irish weather interesting.
After I return home, I will miss the Irish food particularly the brown scones with black currant jam and the Irish tea. The biggest difference between Ireland and the Dominican Republic is that the weather is different, as in the Dominican Republic there is only summer. In Ireland there are the four seasons, and I can see different forecasts even in a single day. The technological development is also different, Ireland is a very high-tech country.
The fellowship is a plus for my career as it gives me a master’s degree in science and international academic experience, which is very much valued in my curriculum. Moreover, the fellowship is a capacity building programme that enhances research skills on the real risks of climate change for the small island developing states. Unfortunately, in the Dominican Republic as well in other caribbean nations, universities do not have the infrastructure or academic advisors to teach the field of climate change by coursework. We need local experts and I am committed to study and research to bring solutions for the environmental challenges we are facing.
The fellowship will also help me to bring innovative approaches and ideas to respond to the environmental issues we work with at the Constitutional Court. I will be able to enhance my work in a more scientific way and not only limited to a legal reasoning.
On a personal level, I intend to continue working for my country, hoping to excel in my responsibilities. Then, I aspire to hold a political position, maybe in Congress, to hold legislative power and promote initiatives overall in the environmental, industrial and climate adaptation area.
I would recommend to other people of my country to participate in the Ireland Fellows Programme as it offers a unique opportunity of academic development in high ranked universities globally recognised with access to world-class research opportunities. Apart from this, Ireland boasts of one of the best living experiences as a student. The country is very safe with scenic beauty and modernity, offering the best of both worlds. Irish people are considered warm and welcoming; thus, international students can live and study in a comfortable, safe, and friendly environment. The programme also has a team of professionals that help and offer support in all the stages of the fellowship.