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My third driving force is for AIJA and all of its members to thrive in today’s world. I am very grateful I got to participate in celebrating AIJA’s 60th birthday and its legacy at the end of last year in my hometown Antwerp. More than ever, it made me realize that AIJA’s spirit is timeless, but what that means changes at the pace of generations of lawyers hitting the 45 year milestone.

I want our association to stay as young and dynamic as its members.


That is why I want to address and support today’s pressing topics on the world’s agenda:

Sustainability – The core activities of our association are not always easy to reconcile with today’s sustainability concerns. Something that hit me though, was the statement in one of my favourite books, that not only problems, but also solutions can grow exponentially. In recent years, AIJA has taken some interesting steps towards making our events more sustainable and, in close collaboration with the Sustainability Board,  I wish to see an increase of this focus in the coming years.

Inclusion – I am so very thankful for the steps AIJA has taken when it comes to promoting minority groups in the legal profession. As an enthusiastic member of the AIJA Women Network, an initiative I have always appreciated immensely, I know that diversity without inclusion feels like attending a dinner party where the host forgot to set an extra plate. Inclusion in the legal profession remains a topic that we should continue to address. And we should not stop doing that until everyone has a seat at the table, not only within AIJA but also outside, in our law firms and other professional networks. Within AIJA, this can be achieved by putting relevant topics at the forefront of academic sessions, gathering data on (the efforts to improve) diversity and inclusion in law firms and issuing guidelines and practical steps as well as organizing specific retreats in smaller groups to offer moments of reflection that can serve as think tanks for the future.


Thought leadership In recent years, there have been so many important things going on in the world, from a global pandemic to a war on European territory. I want AIJA to stay vocal about the legal aspects of events like these, as it has rightfully done in the past. Young shoulders do carry wise heads. And it is our duty to make good use of this privilege through close collaboration with NGO’s and other actors defending the rule of law and human rights. 

Having AIJA at heart means being a lawyer fully aware of the world surrounding them. 

We should act as if what we do makes a difference. It does.

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