Staff

Fernanda Venzon, Executive Director

Fernanda VenzonFernanda Venzon was appointed as Executive Director of EDLC in 2024. She has long served the organization, having joined EDLC as a consultant in 2009 and becoming a full-time staff attorney in 2011. Fernanda has over two decades of experience in the defense of the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities affected by large resource development projects such as roads, dams, mines, and thermoelectric plants. She has collaborated with lawyers from many countries, including in transnational litigation and in climate cases. Prior to joining EDLC, Fernanda was the Executive Director of a Mexican and American NGO where she managed a team of ten staff and was responsible for fundraising as well as for the legal strategy. Fernanda holds advanced degrees from Brazil and the United Kingdom in international law, environmental management, and development management. She is fluent in English, Spanish, and French as well as her native Portuguese.

 

Filipa Lopes, Global Steel Coalition Coordinator

Filipa Lopes holds a law degree from Nova University in Lisbon, Portugal, a master’s degree in international law with a specialization in human rights from the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands, and is currently studying sustainability and regeneration at Gaia Education. Filipa started her career at the United Nations Population Fund, Defence for Children International, and the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao. She then served as the operations and project coordinator at Limitless Horizons Ixil, a grassroots NGO in an indigenous community in Guatemala, where she coordinated educational programs focused on socio-emotional skills, gender equity, community leadership, and cultural identity. She now coordinates the Global Steel Coalition, facilitating meetings, activities, and partnerships with stakeholders in efforts to protect the environment, climate, and human rights.

 

Lewis Gordon, Senior Counsel

Lewis Gordon is a Harvard graduate with nearly forty years of experience as a lawyer. Following a federal court clerkship, Lewis entered private practice in Alaska in 1982. He successfully defended environmentalists and environmental organizations from intimidation lawsuits, and represented them in environmental litigation as well. From 1989-94, while the managing partner of the Anchorage firm of Ashburn & Mason, Lewis served on the nine member plaintiffs’ steering committee that managed the massive litigation arising from the grounding of the Exxon Valdez. In 2003, Lewis was invited to be a Wallace Stegner Center Fellow for a year at the law school of the University of Utah, as well as an adjunct professor of law (Environment and Human Rights). He founded EDLC that same year, serving as EDLC’s Executive Director until January 2020. He has been invited to every continent to speak on human rights and corporate accountability issues before legal groups, NGOs, and foundations.

 

Margarida Ravara, Staff Attorney

Margarida RavaraMargarida Ravara is a full-time staff attorney with EDLC. Her role includes providing legal and strategic advice to local communities, drafting amicus curiae briefs, and conducting research on the applicable national and international frameworks in a range of cases in Africa, Asia and Latin America in which local communities have been affected by natural resource development projects. Previously, she helped EDLC create a database concerning the application of the right to a healthy environment. Margarida holds a bachelor’s degree in law from Lisbon Law School, University of Lisbon, and a master’s degree in international human rights law from Lund University, Sweden. She became interested in the link between the environment and human rights while taking a course on human rights, the environment, and climate change which ultimately led her to write a master’s thesis on the impacts of the plastic cycle on human rights and the environment.

 

Pricila Aquino, Climate Change and Brazil Lead

Pricila AquinoPricila Cardoso de Aquino joined EDLC in 2024 as Climate Change and Brazil Lead. Since 2015, Pricila has worked on cases involving socio-environmental and climate law, with emphasis on illegal deforestation in the Amazon. She has a law degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná, Brazil, where she is currently studying for a doctorate in Socio-Environmental Law. She also has a master’s degree in Environment and Development from the Federal University of Paraná. In addition to litigating cases, Pricila was a researcher at the Federal University of Paraná, with a focus on the Rights of Nature, human rights and traditional communities. Pricila also works as an independent legal consultant for the Institute of Amazonian Studies, where she develops legal education actions and advises traditional communities on climate law and carbon projects.

 

Brigitte Gynther, Development and Communications Consultant

Brigitte GyntherBrigitte serves as a Development and Communications Consultant to EDLC. She has two decades of experience working with human rights and social movement organizations in a variety of roles. She spent seven years working with human rights defenders under threat in Honduras, particularly communities defending their land, rivers, and territories from extractive projects. She collaborated closely with the Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) and served as part of the team seeking justice for Berta Cáceres following her assassination. Prior to that she was a key organizer for multiple successful corporate campaigns with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). Brigitte has a degree in Anthropology and International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame in the United States.