LLM Student attends G7 Summit as a Policy Analyst with the University's Global Policy Team

Global Policy TeamYuma Osaki, an LLM Law (Doshisha) student, reflects on his experience as a Policy Analyst at the 2017 G7 Leaders’ Summit in Taormina, Italy in May.

I was in Sicily, Italy from 24th to 28th of May, to attend the 43rd G7 Leaders’ Summit as a policy analyst working for the Global Policy Journal; a great opportunity as a student of international trade governance. As such, let me share about my experience.

The University of Sheffield offers a variety of opportunities including the Global Leadership Initiative (GLI) which offers undergraduate and postgraduate taught (PGT) students from the Faculty of Social Sciences the opportunity to attend major international summits. Accompanied by academic staff, a small group of approximately 8 students will actively engage in these meetings. One of the greatest chances is no doubt, the G7 Summit. This time, the Global Policy Team consisted of 7 students (incl. 3 PGTs) and 2 faculty members attending the G7 Summit in Taormina and worked in the International Media Centre (IMC) as policy analysts.

Founded by the Greeks as Tauromenion on a bull-shaped hill in the fifth-fourth century BC, the summitry site was a sophisticated beach resort in the Mediterranean Sea and our Global Policy Team settled down at the IMC located at a short distance from the site where world leaders had their business. In the IMC, there were a variety of inspiring people from all over the world and we could come across with renown journalists, academics, and NGOs, etc. Students attending the G7 Summit produced policy briefs and co-authored blogs for the Global Policy Journal, pertaining to several discussions held at sessions at the summits, from security and terrorism to trade to gender issues, and so forth. (If you’re interested in these, then check out the GLI Team on Twitter)

Beach in front of the IMCWe particularly followed developments at the Summit for British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, and U.S. President Donald Trump, those who are the new faces in this G7 Summit. At the same time, we also followed Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, who hosted the last G7 Leaders’ Summit in Ise-Shima in 2016 and marked the largest number of attendances at the Summits as Japanese Prime Minister, matching Junichiro Koizumi with 6 times. On the very second Summitry day, coincidentally, he also tied with Koizumi’s 1,980-day tenure as Prime Minister, for the third-longest stint in the post-war era, and some of us, including me, got a chance to attend his press conference right after the closing of the G7 Summit.

Visiting the Mediterranean area from England was like an ephemeral ‘Satsukibare’ - the Japanese word referring to sunny spells in the rainy season. The weather was great, and the food and people there were also fantastic. What struck me most during the trip was the hospitality of the Italian security service, or Carabinieri. Another notable highlight was our transport from the hotel in Catania to the Media Center which allowed for sighting of Europe's largest active volcano, Mount Etna and the beautiful Mediterranean Ocean each day as we passed.

I really appreciate the University providing an opportunity to gain first-hand experience of international policy debates at the highest level and to produce their outputs to an international audience developing their research skills. It was an absolutely fascinating experience to be exposed to the cutting-edge of world politics and I believe this experience has opened up certain avenues for all of the team members’ future careers. Lastly, I strongly recommend it to anyone who studies Social Sciences at Sheffield and look forward to hearing your experiences!

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