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UNITED IN DIVERSITY: EMPOWERING OUR FUTURE

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Work coordinators,
academic programme
Mark Beardsworth
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, UK
Clara Poglia
Schellenberg Wittmer, Switzerland
Fernanda Pacheco
Dannemann Siemsen Advogados, Brazil

“Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common… Celebrate it every day.”
(Winston Churchill)

Although many years have passed since Churchill’s quote, can we safely say that we are now in the comfort zone and that there is nothing further to be done? Unfortunately, not.

Diversity, at its core, means acceptance and respect. It implies an understanding that each individual is unique, and that one should recognise differences as an added value. Diversity is often discussed in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, age, physical abilities, culture, religious and political beliefs or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embrace and celebrate the richness of different points of view and backgrounds.

The topic of diversity and how to manage it has become more relevant than ever in today’s workplace and in the business environment. Governments throughout the world have introduced legislation, directives, and initiatives to adjust the workplace environment to the current reality. Actions originating in the private sector have naturally been oriented toward finding ways to manage more effectively the increasingly complex workforce, markets, and business relations.

However, there is still a wide gap between aspirations and achievements. Women and minorities still face substantial obstacles in attaining positions of leadership and equal economic reward. Yet the fact that these issues are being so thoroughly explored already acknowledges our partial progress.

Choosing diversity as the main theme of the 58th International Young Lawyers` Congress responds to AIJA’s undertaking to promote and advance the principle of equality, to provide insights into the complex and multidimensional nature of our society, and to work together with its members to support a dynamic and wide-ranging profession.

The goal is to generate an environment that welcomes and values diverse backgrounds, thinking, skills and experience, and which allows everyone – regardless of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, marriage and civil partnership or pregnancy and maternity – to share their points of view, new ideas, doubts and to openly address their concerns. Such inclusive approach is vital for the success and the development of the legal profession. As lawyers, we shall take the challenging route, be curious and willing to explore our differences: it means reflecting, debating, questioning, implying conscious efforts to respect and understand the other, negotiating and accommodating.

We are pleased to invite all young lawyers around the world to join us for a diverse, inspiring and up to date academic programme that will present a wide range of topics embracing diversity. Let’s chart a path to a more inclusive future.

ACADEMIC & SOCIAL PROGRAMME

  • Monday 24 August
  • Tuesday 25 August
  • Wednesday 26 August
  • Thursday 27 August
  • Friday 28 August