An update from Paola Fudakowska, AIJA President 2019/20
At AIJA we thrive on embracing qualities and experiences that are different from our own. Our variety of expertise, skills and knowledge has enabled us to build a diverse association with over 4,000 members from more than 90 countries. This cultural diversity has empowered us to grow and foster strong alliances, relationships and connections both inside and outside our association. Through supporting diversity, we have created a community which produces innovative ideas and solutions from the synergy of our members.
Until now this year has been different, unexpected. As we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important for us to continue to meet as a community and have the events we are used to having and love – just virtually.
What we’ve been up to
We’ve set up an internal e-learning taskforce to propose new ideas, formats and content for our members to stay connected online during the upcoming months. The e-learning taskforce works closely with AIJA’s Academic Programme Committee which is responsible for maintaining our calendar of virtual events. The e-learning Taskforce is composed of Viktoria Keri (AIJA Association Manager), Anouk Rosielle (Co-chair, Academic Programme Committee), Manuela Cavallo (Portolano Cavallo), Debra Forman (Pinstripe Coaching) and Corina Pirva (AIJA Communications Manager), with support from François Barré (AIJA First Vice-President). Our approach is built on three main themes:
(1) Learn: We want to provide a learning environment for our members, using webinars to discuss current events impacting the legal profession and the practice of law.
(2) Network: We want our members to continue to meet as a community during these uncertain times when in-person events and meetings may not be possible.
With the weekly Friday virtual ‘Coffee with the AIJA President’ series, we’ve started informal conversations to connect with our members and their experiences across the globe. Guests have interacted with our members on important topics, such as well-being in lockdown and tackling disability in the legal profession. The next dates are currently scheduled on 8 May, 15 May, 22 May and 29 May.
We’ve also put a virtual spin on our traditional and much-loved evenings of home hospitality. Once a month, AIJA hosts are opening their virtual homes to their guests. If you’d like to be a host or guest for the next virtual home hospitality on 28 May, send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s a screenshot of April’s home hospitality, with some 50 guests joining our hosts for the evening.
(3)Share: Our community can continue to grow by sharing best practices and experiences.
We’ve launched the AIJA #HomeTalks, a limited series of weekly informal conversations about the business and human impact of COVID-19, with lawyers and business leaders from around the world sharing their experiences.
Finally, we’ve offered our members the opportunity to meet with their Commissions to discuss current events in their areas of practice, share and plan future AIJA projects and keep in touch. Commission meetings take place during the last week of the month in April, May and June. The agenda is available here.
For AIJA, this year dedicated to Diversity is about starting to enrich conversations and challenge individuals to understand the value of different perspectives within society and the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic has moved these conversations online for now.
I want to thank our Brussels team for their efforts to bring our beloved Association online during this extraordinary time. We will continue to closely monitor feedback and adapt our online offering to the needs of our members.
To contact the AIJA eLearning Taskforce about new ideas for e-learning projects, please send an email to email@example.com.
If you are a Commission looking to organise a webinar, please contact the AIJA Academic Programme Committee(Anouk Rosielle, Babak Tabeshian, Kristine Zvejniece).