LLB Law Student attends G20 Summit

Emilija Lazarevic, an LLB Law (with German Law) student, reflects on her experience as a Policy Analyst at the 2017 G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany.

The University of Sheffield offers students from the faculty of social sciences the opportunity to attend major international summits through the Global Leadership Initiative. On the 7th and 8th of July 2017, I attended the 12th G20 summit in Hamburg with a mix of undergraduate and postgraduate students, from a variety of academic departments.

The G20 is a platform that brings together the world’s strongest economies to discuss shared global issues, and while I was there I actively engaged with the discussions that took place between world leaders. For the duration of the summit, I worked with my peers to produce co-authored blogs for the Global Policy Journal. These blogs explored a variety of different ideas concerning the summit. While some blogs placed greater emphasis on policy concerns such as tackling climate change, others explored the personalities of the world leaders, and the effectiveness of the G20 as a political forum. The students in attendance also developed a single policy brief each. My own brief considered the commitment of the G20 to international tax co-operation, and the way in which the member countries could more efficiently bring about measures against abusive tax practices.

It was fascinating to see the impact that the G20 summit had on Hamburg as a city. Buildings were bordered up and the streets were lined with armed police as violent anti-capitalist riots and protests swept the city, indicating a firm rejection of globalisation. Despite these demonstrations, the summit itself was exceptionally organised and I found Hamburg to be a wonderful place to visit.

I initially felt quite apprehensive about attending the summit. As a law undergraduate, I knew very little about international relations, especially about global summits on such a large scale. The summit however, proved to be a fantastic learning experience. When stationed at the International Media Centre, I had a great deal of exposure to journalists and some of the world leaders themselves. One of the highlights of the summit was seeing Angela Merkel at her first press conference following her discussions with other leaders. I learned a lot about how summits are organised and how relations between politicians and the press are governed. The summit was an amazing opportunity to engage with very real and complicated global issues. I learned that the processes behind resolving such issues are never as straight-forward as they may appear; I found that onerous discussions and negotiations between members took place in Hamburg, and they found it difficult to reach unanimity on key issues such as climate change.

My greatest challenge at the summit was having to write my pieces in such a short time frame. Days at the International Media Centre were long, but working with such a highly motivated and enthusiastic team, with the anticipation of waiting to see world leaders at their press conferences, made it an incredible experience. I could not be more grateful to the University of Sheffield for providing me with such an extraordinary opportunity. My time at the G20 has made me think about international relations in a way I have never done before, and would strongly recommend it to social science students who have some interest in global policy.

Students and staff at the G20 Summit

...the anticipation of waiting to see world leaders at their press conferences, made it an incredible experience.

Emilija lazarevic, LLB Law (with German Law)

Students working on their policy briefs at the G20 Summit

More information on GLOSS (Global Learning Opportunities in Social Sciences)