posted Oct 05, 2018

As a high school student in Mexico City, Gabriela Ocampo was fascinated by international affairs. She participated in student debates and served as a student delegate to the Model UN. Little did she realize that this early interest in world affairs would lead to an advisory position in sustainable development at the United Nations in New York City.

After earning a bachelor of law from Anahuac University in 2011 and working as a corporate lawyer in Mexico for several years, Ocampo wanted to switch gears.

“I was not getting the broader social component that is important to me,” she said.

In 2015, she applied to the Mexican Permanent Mission at the UN to serve as a sustainable development adviser. There, she participated in the negotiations for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a massive global initiative outlining 17 goals ranging from eradicating poverty to protecting the environment.

While working in issues relating to the Second Committee of the United Nations, Ocampo realized she needed to deepen her knowledge of sustainable development. She selected the UW School of Law for its outstanding graduate program in international development law.

“Many universities offer specialized training in sustainable development but I wanted to continue working in law,” Ocampo said. “UW Law is one of the few schools in the world to offer an LLM in sustainable international development.”

She received a scholarship from the university for the first quarter, and additional scholarship support from the Mexican government. Ocampo graduated in spring 2018 with an LLM in Sustainable International Development.

She is now back at the United Nations, interning with the UN Global Compact, a worldwide initiative to help companies align their operations with sustainable principles in four areas: human rights, labor, anti-corruption and the environment.

Ocampo acknowledged that the internship was a direct result of the knowledge acquired at the UW School of Law, the experience obtained through the International Human Rights Clinic lead by Prof. Alejandra Gonza and the extensive network of professional connections maintained by the UW School of Law, in particular, Anita Ramasastry, director of the Sustainable International Development Graduate Program and Dean Emeritus Roland L. Hjorth Professor of Law.

“The UN internship was only one of many options brought to my attention,” Ocampo said, “and it wasn’t just me. This level of attention shows how much faculty and staff are committed to student success.”