By Florit Shoihet
LSESU’s oldest society, LSESU Grimshaw Club, launched on 25 November a Symposium on ‘The Changing Face of International Affairs.’ The event featured a series of networking afternoons and evening lectures, along with interactive student events, such as the Multinational Manic Memeing event and a society treasure hunt.
The event tackled different topics of global relevance such as technology challenges, security issues and climate change. Grimshaw hopes that the symposium will mark the beginning of a new tradition that it can be held every November.
Joshua Weinert, Grimshaw Club President, and Yasmina O’Sullivan, Executive Speaker Officer, explained to the Beaver that their aim was to keep events approachable and interactive. “There is an excellent lectures program at LSE, and we are not trying to compete with them,” Weinert told The Beaver.
“What we want to provide is informal talks. It has a lot more comfort to students to ask the questions they want to experts and to break this unnecessary barrier between students and experts. We want them to feel like these experts are not gods,” O’Sullivan added.
The Grimshaw Society also emphasised that the symposium was student-led. “Our speakers’ team really pushed for student chairs. We don’t need to have the biggest names: we want to learn and we want to be involved – whether that be emailing speakers, learning communication language, organising the event ourselves and dealing with this administrative pain or preparing the interviews, doing the research and then chairing and lead the discussion. Students can do it.”
Symposium lecturers included: Andrew Norton, the Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development, Anthony Finkelstein, the Chief Scientific Advisor for National Security to HM Government, Dr Jill Stuart, an expert in the politics, ethics and law of outer space exploration and exploitation based at LSE, Alina Averchenkova, a Grantham Institute Distinguished Policy Fellow and Ex-Global Director for Climate Change and Carbon at KPMG, Dianna Melrose, a former Ambassador to Cuba and High Commissioners to Tanzania, among others.
Dianna Melrose shared her thoughts on being one of a very few women in top diplomatic circles, the flexibility of diplomacy under different UK governments in Cuba and the future of the Commonwealth.
Alina Averchenkova talked about the need for young professionals from varied fields, such as law, economics and management, in managing issues such as climate change.
The Grimshaw Club, in collaboration with Beaver Sounds, will post podcasts from the talks on its website.