I was excited to learn that I had been selected for the AIJA scholarship grant to attend the Zurich Half Year Conference. I was happy at the opportunity to make my first visit to continental Europe. Apart from looking forward to attending the Conference, I was also looking forward to experiencing the sights and sounds of Zurich.
I immediately applied for and was issued with a Swiss Visa. I arrived Zurich (via Paris) on May 7 2014 at about 8 am. It was raining. Coming from Lagos, Nigeria with a population of around 17 million people, my first shock was the limited number of people I saw on the streets. I had no difficulty locating the Hotel and settled in immediately.
The welcome cocktail was an interesting experience. I had the opportunity of meeting young and vibrant lawyers from across Europe. I was also excited at the face-face meeting of AIJA’s staff who were responsible for planning my trip. Later that evening, we were hosted to a dinner in a beautiful restaurant. Surely, these welcome activities set the right mode for the scientific programmes that were to follow.
The scientific sessions that followed were very educating and enlightening. I particularly enjoyed the story about the United States Department of Justice investigations of Panalpina’s operations in Nigeria. In my view, the topics for the sessions I was able to attend were timely and engaging. Also, the organisation of the sessions was near perfect. The speakers arrived on time and each kept to their time limits. Save for the International Bar Association’s Annual Conference, I have never seen a conference with so many attendees so well organised. To the organizing committee, I say – very well done!
I also enjoyed the home hospitality dinner. During the dinner, we talked about so many things and I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to listen and learn from the experiences of lawyers working in different jurisdictions. The home hospitality dinner is a great idea!
My trip to Zurich was academically and socially rewarding and I look forward to participating in future AIJA’s activities. Chinedum Umeche, AIJA Scholarship winner
ACIArb, Barrister and Solicitor Lagos, Nigeria