This past March, the National Council of ELSA UK convened for its eponymous semi-annual meeting. This meeting was no regular occasion, however, as this was the 20th National Council Meeting of our network since re-establishment in 2011, and a cause for celebration. ELSA Queen Mary University of London, ELSA London School of Economics, and ELSA University College London were the proud hosts of the event, aptly hosted for this special occasion in the nation’s capital: London.
We were thrilled to make this event the largest in ELSA UK history, as 120 participants descended on the capital from all across the UK and the European mainland. Our international participants included friends of ELSA UK from ELSA France, ELSA Germany and ELSA the Netherlands, who helped introduce our local officers to the truly international ELSA spirit. The event was also attended by the President of ELSA International Filipe Machado, as well as two of his predecessors in office Anastasia Kalinina and Bartosz Balewski.
The event began on Friday 15 March 2019 where, upon arrival at the London School of Economics, delegates were greeted by the Organising Committee and the Opening Plenary began under the leadership of the National Board. In addition to our standard programming, we were pleased to offer a phenomenal academic programme to our participants. Professor Conor Gearty, the renowned human rights academic and Matrix Chambers barrister, opened the plenary with a thought-provoking address on the status of human rights in the UK and the perpetual duty of aspiring lawyers to safeguard that cause. The academic programme was followed with a talk hosted by the Council of Europe on their HELP programme, specifically on the topic of radicalisation in Europe.
On Saturday, trainings and workshops were held at the Queen Mary campus, providing the indispensable opportunity for ELSA officers to learn more about the Key and Supporting Areas. These workshops provided the perfect platform to exchange ideas on how to improve our projects and best practice for future committee members.
Over the weekend, participants also had the opportunity to enjoy a lively social programme to relax and meet the NCM participants. The weekend began in Grow, a trendy greenhouse bar by the river, where participants broke the ice with a fun game and danced into the early hours of the morning. On Saturday night, we hosted a Roaring 20s themed Gala Dinner with lavish sit down meal at UCL’s Jeremy Bentham’s room. The evening was filled with live jazz, compelling speeches, and unforgettable memories. To end the evening, the participants rode in style to the Piccadilly Institute club by a 1960’s vintage double-decker bus.
The Spring NCM wrapped up on Sunday with the all-important casting of the votes. After having welcomed five new Observer Groups into the network at NCM Bristol last autumn, we further welcomed ELSA Leicester, ELSA Manchester and ELSA University of Law among our ranks this time around. Additionally, we were thrilled to welcome ELSA King’s College London, ELSA Leeds and ELSA UCL among our ranks as Member Groups. Most importantly, a full new National Board was elected to steer the network for the next term. It is inspiring to see how much ELSA UK has grown and we look forward to seeing and contributing to bigger and better projects to come.
The OC would like to take this opportunity to to kindly thank our sponsors, Law faculties, and guest speakers for their invaluable contributions to the NCM.
A big thank you to all our participants. Internationals, you have brought the ELSA spirit and showed our network that there is a big family outside of the UK. To each Local Group and every participant thank you for your hard work and dedication – we wouldn’t be able to make all of this happen without you! We truly hope you enjoyed the weekend as much as we enjoyed hosting it. We would like extend a big thanks to the amazing organising committee, without whom, this weekend would not have been possible. Finally, we would like to extend our eternal admiration to the outgoing board for the hard work and dedication they have shown throughout their term. They have been a permanent source of inspiration and support throughout the organisation of the NCM and beyond.
We look forward to seeing you all in Leeds for the Autumn NCM!
With ELSA love,
Shannon McLaughlin and Charlotte Madrangeas,
Head of OC and Head of Administration for the XX NCM in London
Shannon McLaughlin is a final year Law student at Queen Mary. She is currently serving as President of ELSA QMUL for the 2018/2019 academic term. She has been involved in ELSA since she began university in 2015 previously serving as Assistant for Study Visits, and Treasurer. Shannon hopes to use the experiences she has garnered in international relations and management through ELSA to one day work in the Public Sector.