Originally published in April 2014
On Saturday, 22 March, the Department of International Politics hosted the 2014 Carr Student Conference – a conference organised for students by students. This year’s topic was the ‘Arab-Israeli Conflict’, which too was proposed by students. I was the friendly staff member helping the student organising team when needed. Having had more experience than our student organisers, I knew in the early morning on the day that the conference will be a success. Thus, I could enjoy the conference from the very beginning while the student organisers were still a bit nervous. As the day progressed and all guests arrived, as the paper presentations and discussions proved to be really engaging, and as everyone seemed to be content and saturated with ideas as well as coffee + lunch, the organisers relaxed.
The conference speakers included Matthew Lower from the Humanitarian Intervention Centre, Andras Lederer, an InterPol alumnus and current students of conflict resolution at SOAS, Glyn Secker from Jews for Justice for Palestinians and three of InterPol’s current undergraduate students, Gregory Beckett (2nd year), Alex Parslow (3rd year) and Freddie Mackereth (1st year), whose own blogposts out of their presentations will hopefully appear here soon. The audience comprised students – undergraduate and postgraduate – from several AU’s departments and members of the local community. The event was live tweeted and all tweets can be seen in one story here.
The day, which started with an opening speech by InterPol’s head Dr Jenny Mathers and introductory remarks by the Department’s specialist on the Arab-Israeli conflict Dr James Vaughan, who also concluded the conference, went really fast. This success was the fruit of long hours the organising team put in in the months before the conference. The five student organisers – Alexandra Hird, Akos Erzse, Karolina Kobylnik, Maria Krolczyk and Freddie Mackereth – deserve to be applauded for all their hard work. They did all the fundraising, marketing, communicating, logistics, planning, scheduling, hospitality, panel chairing, media presence and all the big and small jobs that contribute to a successful event. Akos Erzse writes about his experience of organising the conference here.
Fundraising turned out to be particularly challenging. Eventually, the organisers managed to secure financial support from the David Davies Memorial Institute, theDepartment of International Politics and the Department of Law and Criminology. The largest sum, however, came from a bake sale that the organisers held in InterPol’s foyer in early March. The whole InterPol community was high on sugar on that day.
Not only because of the bake sale, the 2014 Carr Student Conference was a showcase of students’ ingenuity and ability to produce excellent results out of very little.