Thanks to the Principal’s Go Abroad Fund, I was able to participate in the IUCN AEL Annual Conference in Oslo. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is an international organisation very active in the development of environmental protection at a global level, and its Academy of Environmental Law (AEL) is focused on legal issues around international and national environmental problems.
Since my doctoral research is in the precise field of the organisation, I was very lucky and benefited enormously from the conference. Not only did I receive very useful feedback on my presentation, but I was also able to meet scholars from my field that I have been reading for many years.
I stayed in Oslo for one week in the end of June, and we were very lucky with the weather. I presented during the first day of the conference, which released the stress for the next days and I could enjoy the rest of the conference with less pressure.
I attended panels on varied subjects, which really broadened my understanding of the current developments of research in the field of environmental law. I learned a lot from many great speakers and academics, from all around the world, such as Indonesia, Nigeria, Australia, the US, Germany, the Netherlands, etc. It was such a great forum to meet researchers who are all passionate about the topic. It motivated me so much to do more with my own research and explore beyond what I am already familiar with. In particular, I was able to see how different research methodologies are used in environmental research and their impact on the role of academia in general.
As part of the conference, we were invited to visit the Oslo City Hall, with a fantastic architecture and a guided tour was organised for us. I got to learn about the history of Norway and its political organisation. The reception was in the same place as where the Nobel Peace Prize is delivered, which was impressive. I also took the time to visit the Munch Museum, one of my favourite painters.
Overall, this experience made me realise the importance of knowing other researchers close to my field and the impact it makes to feel part of a bigger community who is passionate about the same things as me. It really motivated me to keep going and I really hope I can attend the next IUCN AEL Annual Conference in 2017.