Four weeks ago, at the end of the General Assembly in Prague, I took over the AIJA Presidency from Anita Schläpfer, who fulfilled her Presidency in the most excellent way. Anita serves as an example for me, especially on how she diplomatically coped with the challenges every AIJA President comes across with during his (or her) mandate.
My honeymoon weeks are over now and last week I attended the first AIJA seminar of this working year, which took place in Santa Margherita (Liguria). With an excellent scientific program, almost 70 participants and beautiful weather conditions, Santa Margerita seemed to be the ideal place to kick off the year.
The next part of this year sounds also promising. Seminars will be organised in every corner of Europe, but in the framework of AIJA’s expansion plans to the East we will also have a seminar in Shanghai and Tokyo (March and April 2015).
Traditionally we will not leave behind our growing membership in Latin America. With a Half Year Conference and EC Meeting in Santiago de Chile (November) and a seminar in Panama, we hope to attract also a lot of our European and Asian members who want to do business with the Americas.
Our cooperation with the ABA-SIL, IBA and UIA continues and results in several joint seminars. One of these will be the joint AIJA-ABA-SIL seminar on LGBT issues (employment, immigration, estate planning, adoption, marriage,...). It is the first time that AIJA organises a scientific program around this topic and we expect to see you all in April in Brighton.
Our Half Year Conference in May 2015 will take place in Antwerp, which I will always consider as one of the most beautiful cities in the world (and this not because I was born there).
The apotheosis of the year will be our annual Congress 2015 which will take place in London in the first week of September. We expect to beat the record of the Paris 2008 Congress where more than 700 participants attended.
To end my first contribution to the E-zette I want to draw your attention to what happened last week with one of our colleagues in Iraq. Human Rights lawyer and activist Samira Salih al-Nuaimi was tortured and killed by ISIS because she was defending the civil and human rights of her people. This news has shocked all lawyers in the world and together with the Leaders of other International Lawyers Association we are working on a joint and appropriate statement to condemn these barbarian acts. For Samira we hope that she may rest in peace and besides showing our deepest respect for this brave woman, we extend our heartfelt condolances to her husband and three children.