2014 | NIJMEGEN: The Universality of Human Rights in the 21st Century

IAPSS Autumn Convention 2014

“The Universality of Human Rights in the 21st Century”

Radboud University | Nijmegen, the Netherlands

October 20th – 24th, 2014


written by the IAPSS Executive Committee | October 29th, 2014

Only a few days have gone by since the IAPSS Autumn Convention 2014 ended in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The IAPSS Executive Committee is back at its desks and is happy to present you with a few selected stories and photographs revolving around IAPSS’ second largest political science convention in 2014. Need inspirations to come to our next large-scale event, the IAPSS World Congress 2015 in London? Check out the recap below and let yourself be inspired.

Show Debate on the last day of the Convention

The festive Oxford Style Show Debate, officially closing the academic conference of the IAPSS Autumn Convention 2014 on October 23rd, 2014.

Day 1 | October 20th: A Global Crowd at the IAPSS Headquarters

Over 220 participants from almost 50 different countries met at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, to attend the IAPSS Autumn Convention 2014, organized by IAPSS and the Dutch student association ismus. After an empowering welcome speech by Steffen Westerburger, head of the Local Organizing Committee, the conference was festively opened with a keynote on “Transitional Justice” by Assoc. Prof. Anja Mihr from the Hague Institute for Global Justice and Utrecht University. Right afterwards, the first participants were given the chance to present their papers at student panels with topics ranging from “Human Rights Norm Advancement” to “The Enforcement of Prosecution by International Law Institutions”.

After a variety of lectures and student panels following throughout the afternoon, Day One was festively closed with a reception held in Nijmegen’s City Hall, with addresses by representatives of the Nijmegen City Council, Radboud University’s Rector Prof. Theo Engelen, IAPSS President Philipp Aepler and the Local Organizing Committee.

Day 2 | October 21st: Meeting former Dutch Prime Minister Dries van Agt

Day Two of the IAPSS Autumn Convention 2014 was started off by three distinguished expert panels. For this, IAPSS and ismus invited the former Dutch Prime Minister Dries van Agt to speak about the Isreali-Palestinian conflict, his work and anticipations on the conflict’s further development. Prof. Michael Pugh from hte University of Bradford, UK, continued the morning programme with a thought-provoking lecture on the state of economic rights, where he spoke about LGBT rights as well as labour rights. The lunch break was followed by another round of student panels, only to be rounded off by a short presentation about Radboud University’s very own Master’s programmes.

During the evening time slot, Prof. Dr. Marcel Wissenburg, co-chair of the Department of Political Science at Radboud University, outlined his research on the question, whether animal rights are human rights (by the way, his answer is “yes”) and involved the attendants into a vivid discussion. The evening featured the first documentary evening taking place at the cultural center De Lindenberg. Following the screening of the moving documentary “5000 Roebel” and an expert panel featuring the documentary’s director Kris van der Veen as well as Joyce Hamilton of ILGA Europe and Assist. Prof. Anna van der Vleuten of Radboud University, the crowd got ready for an early morning trip to The Hague for a full-day excursion to the city’s international law institutions.

Day 3 | October 22nd: Excursion to ICJ, ICC and the Dutch Foreign Ministry

Embarking on a journey to The Haag, the seat of the Royal Dutch Government and a series of international law courts, at 07:15am (!) the participants had the chance to take part in two out of four scheduled events: lectures at the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice and the Dutch Foreign Ministry or attending a Masterclass on “Human Rights and Human Development” by Prof. Jan Pronk, the Netherlands former Minister for International Development and UN Envoy to Sudan. The Hague – the International City of Human Rights – offered 220 participants the chance to witness the functioning of its key institutions in an in-depth manner.

After returning to Nijmegen, the British film director Callum Macrae presented his challenging documentary No Fire Zone addressing the atrocities commited by the Sri Lankan government at the end of the country’s civil war in 2008/09.

Day 4 | October 23rd: Human Rights Institutions and Closure of the Academic Conference

The very last day of the IAPSS Autumn Conference 2014 was started off with three expert panels on the “Shelter City Initiative” of the City of Nijmegen, “International LGBT Rights” and “Current Trends in Migration Policies”. Prof. Janneke Gerards, head of Radboud University’s Department of European and International Law took over presenting the work and institutional set-up of the European Court of Human Rights. With her insightful lecture, she gave the participants a detailed overview on the working processes of the institution and the relevance of the Court’s work for citizens of the European Union.

The evening was rounded off with the traditional Oxford Style Show Debate, where participants, IAPSS representatives and local organisers alike could show off their debating skills while defending (or not defending) the notion of “The Universality of Human Rights”. Following two powerful talks by IAPSS President Philipp Aepler and the Local Organising Committee’s Chair Steffen Westerburger, the crowed was invited to an exquisite farewell dinner at De Vasim – one of Nijmegen’s leading cultural venues.

Day 5 | October 24th: 19th IAPSS General Assembly

Traditionally closing every IAPSS convention, the IAPSS Autumn Convention’s last day saw the 19th IAPSS General Assembly happening at the Gelderland Province’s Assembly Hall in Arnhem. Featuring over 60 individual members and ten IAPSS Member Associations, the agenda comprised the review and vote upon the IAPSS budget for the financial year 2015, a series of amendments to the IAPSS Legal Framework and the election of three new members of the IAPSS Executive Committee. We are happy to welcome Jannick Burggraaff (Head of IAPSS Congress Management), Vit Simral (Head of IAPSS Academic Department) and Aleksandra Vavic (Head of IAPSS Events Department) as great enrichment to the team.

The IAPSS Executive Committee addresses its kindest thanks to the members present, for fruitful and empowering discussions and the continuous support shown to the Association!

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We have had a truly awesome conference and would like to express our special thanks to the Local Organising Committee headed by Steffen Westerburger, as well as all participants of both the Academic Conference and the 19th IAPSS General Assembly. Special thanks go out to our colleagues from IPSA (the International Political Science Association) for realizing the guest lecture of Prof. Anja Mihr (Chair of IPSA Research Committee 26 “Human Rights”) and our host, Radboud University, and its Political Science Department, as well as the Province of Gelderland, for their financial contributions, organisational support and the continously provided advices.

Stay tuned for more information about our upcoming IAPSS World Congress 2015 in London. Addressing “The Politics of Conflict and Cooperation”, the Congress will take place from April 14th – 18th, 2015, at Birkbeck, University of London – right in the heart of London.

Stay tuned and follow all news on the program, the opening of the Congress registration and valuable practicable tips on Facebook or Twitter, and arrange your participation here.