College of Law Society and ELSA Lead Sustainability Conference

College of Law Society and ELSA Lead Sustainability Conference

22 Mar 2022

Student-initiated conference covers issues relevant to Europe and the MENA region

The online conference was held on March 15 and 16.

‘Green Mirror: A Look at Our Sustainable Future’ was the theme of the first international conference on energy, sustainability, environment, and the law on March 16-17, a collaboration between Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU)’s Law Society and the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA Padova), University of Padova, Italy. 

The joint online conference explored new comparative insights on environmental laws and policies in Europe and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The international gathering was an opportunity for law students to shape discussions on legal, political, and social implications and share their own research with established law scholars and practitioners from leading universities.   

The international event opened with welcome addresses by His Excellency Alessandro Prunas, Ambassador of Italy to Qatar, Professor Marcello Daniele, University of Padova, and Dean Susan L. Karamanian, College of Law, HBKU. Dr. Damilola S. Olawuyi, SAN, College of Law’s Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Research, presented the conference keynote. Dr. Olawuyi highlighted the need for, and the challenges arising from, a sustainable transition and the promise of Green, Low-Emission and Climate Resilient Development (LECRD) strategies. 

Multidisciplinary contributions were at the center of an insightful panel featuring graduate students and young practitioners from HBKU and several international universities, titled “Innovations in Sustainable Law and Governance”. Other panels considered “Investments, Labor and Sustainability in Qatar and Italy,” “Energy, Environment, Sustainability and the Law,” and “Tools for Advancing Human Rights, Sustainability and the Environment in Key Sectors”.

Speaking after the conference, Elena Indar Athwal, Law Society President and Co-Chair of the event, remarked: “We are delighted that our Law Society collaborated with ELSA Padova, which is also student-led, to present this inaugural forum. Sustainability is embedded in our courses and it has been featured in our many conferences and lectures. The Law Society-ELSA Padova event offered innovative and global perspectives on today’s pressing problems. We especially thank the College of Law’s Dr. Zachary Calo and the University of Padova’s Dr. Andrea Pin for establishing the foundation for our cooperation with ELSA Padova, Dr. Barry Solaiman’s initial engagement with our class and the ELSA Padova students, and Dr. Olawuyi for his leadership in helping guide us on the conference theme, sub-topics, and speakers.”

Sofia Cassagrande, Vice President of ELSA Padova and Co-Chair of the conference, said: “This was a tremendous opportunity to reflect on how environmental law and sustainability interact with human rights and other objectives, in the presence of accomplished academic, legal, and industry leaders and fellow students. The conference both deepened our comparative knowledge and brought forward new areas to explore further. We look forward to building on these ties with HBKU’s Law Society and to having more opportunities for such engaging exchanges.” 

Among the conference speakers were academics from HBKU’s College of Law and College of Public Policy, the University of Padova, the Universities of Birmingham and Bradford, UK, the Islamic Azad University, Tehran, and the TOBB University of Economics and Technology, Turkey. Panelists also came from the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC); Gianni & Origoni Law Firm; BM&A Law Firm; the Fashion Technology Accelerator, Milan; Clean Energy 4 Africa; and the Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar. Conference partners and stakeholders included HBKU’s Energy and Environment Club, Gianni & Origoni Law Firm, the QFC, and the Association of Environmental Law Lecturers in Middle East and North African Universities (ASSELLMU).