On 11th November, 9 ELSA UK officers had made their way to the 74th International Council Meeting of ELSA in Opatija, Croatia. The ELSA UK Delegation arrived right in time for the opening plenary where they received ELSA UK’s voting cards for the rest of the week. ELSA UK was officially present and voting, and we were ready to start an educational, interactive and fun week.
The week consisted of workshops in which various topics were discussed by over 350 ELSA officers from 35 National Groups. Workshops were mostly area-specific, which allowed for all the officers from one area to share their expertise, best practices, and to discuss the future of ELSA and its further development. There were also joint workshops, which allowed areas to collaborate and different officers to discuss the matters at hand from different perspectives. The workshops were very lucrative and all the officers contributed to interesting discussions that sometimes continued even a little longer than predicted.
Various topics were discussed in the workshops, but some of the most important ones were the workshop on Strategic Goals of ELSA, where the subject of discussion was the direction of ELSA for the following 5 years, and the workshop on Annual Report of the International Board 2017/2018 where the current officers had a chance to discuss the term with the former International Board members and enquire about it.
Wednesday was a big day – it was the mid-plenary and the conference on the Eurozone and what it would mean for Croatia. Amongst other speakers, we had the opportunity to hear the Prime Minister of Croatia and ELSA Alumnus, Mr Andrej Plenkovic, talk about his term as the President of ELSA International in 1993, as well as about the challenges of Croatia entering the Eurozone. The participants also had the opportunity to interact in an interesting Q&A session.
Every dinner, the delegates had free time which was used as “Reporting time”. During reporting time, delegations gather together and discuss matters that were discussed in different workshops, as well as decide on their stand for the voting during the plenaries. Luckily for all of us, and thankfully to the Chair of the plenaries, the mid and final plenaries were very efficient and generally straight-forward, which allowed for the agenda to continue as planned.
The final plenary was closed with celebration, as the new Vice President for Moot Court Competitions of ELSA was elected by the International Council. We would like to congratulate George Manikas for his achievement, and we are looking forward to working with him, as a part of the International Board, throughout the year.
All of us worked very hard throughout the week, but we also had a lot of fun. Every night we had an organised social programme filled with enjoyable themed parties, such as the Carnival and Grease. We were able to relax, get to know other participants and collectively have fun. The week ended with a beautiful gala where we had a chance to enjoy a nice dinner and wine at one of the most elegant and dazzling venues in Croatia, with the sounds of the violin and the guitar performed live.
On our final day, we said our goodbyes and started leaving Opatija. The week was an amazing experience in which we had the opportunity to socialise with our fellow ELSA officers, learn, shape the future of ELSA and most importantly, form life-long friendships. The Organising Committee had made our week in beautiful and sunny Opatija even more enjoyable, and we came home with knowledge to share with our local officers and plenty of beautiful memories. ICMs are truly an experience that we warmly recommend to all ELSA UK officers and are hoping to send an even bigger delegation to the 75th ICM in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Stela Negran is an LLM candidate at Queen Mary University of London. She has been involved with ELSA since her first year of undergraduate studies, and will serve as the President of ELSA UK for the term 2018/2019. She loves travelling and meeting people from different countries, which is why she loves ELSA.