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

James Snowden, LLM Law (Doshisha) student, looks back on his time spent as a Policy Analyst at the 2018 G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Canada.

ParliamentFrom the 5th to the 12th June 8 students and two members of staff from the faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield attended the 44th G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Canada, as part of the Global Leadership Initiative. Throughout this time we worked as policy analysts for the Global policy Journal, writing blogs and policy briefs on a host of issues at the Summit; ranging from Trump’s trade war to artificial intelligence, indigenous community engagement to nuclear proliferation.

The Global Leadership Initiative offers a range of opportunities for undergraduates and postgraduate taught students to attend major global summits, giving them the chance to experience the turbulence of world politics first hand and apply the skills they have developed at the University of Sheffield to publish work on the events that they experience. In my case, I was able to analyse and implement the knowledge that I have gained as part of my LLM. In particular, I used the work that I have done on self-determination and the law of statehood to write a blog on the history of Quebec’s secessionist movement. I also utilised the knowledge I have gained on conflict and security law in my policy brief, which looks at the development of cybersecurity norms at major international fora, such as the G7.

As part of the GLI team you work closely with the other students and members of staff, reading over and editing each other’s work. It is a flat structure which really enables a sense of comradery and a strong team ethos, which in my view greatly enhanced both the work that we produced as well as the overall enjoyability of the trip.

Our home for the week was the Hotel Arcadia, situated in the heart of world heritage site Old Québec; an amazing location within the city walls, which date back to the Seven year’s War (1756-1763). I found Québec City a fascinating place, full of grand, European influenced architecture, providing excellent views from the La Promenade des Gouverneurs over the Saint Lawrence River valley, and host to a plethora of bars and restaurants. On our first day we had the opportunity to look around the Parliament Building of Québec, Hôtel du Parlement, which provided a great first day bonding exercise, and helped to contextualise the history of the region and the significance in its hosting of the G7.

G7 SummitWe were working at the international media centre, which was a short walk from the hotel. This provided a fantastic opportunity to network with leading journalists and other academics. We also had the opportunity to see the majority of the world leaders give press conferences (except Trump and Merkel, who left early). This was an amazing chance to witness first hand the globe’s key decision makers and report on what they were saying live. For me, this was one of the highlights of the trip as it allowed us to implement the work that I have done at Sheffield in a contemporary context, analysing policy that is at the very cutting edge of international relations.

I am therefore grateful to the University and GLOSS (Global Learning Opportunities in Social Sciences) for the opportunity to attend the 44th G7 Summit, as it has given me experiences and insights into world politics from which I feel I am able to develop both personally, professionally and in my future academic pursuits. Trips such as these are an incredible opportunity for students to think and learn about a host of social science issues in a practical and stimulating way. I cannot recommend applying for future trips highly enough for anyone studying social sciences.

More information on GLOSS