by Adam Mattatall, Canada

We brought the sunshine: this is what some of the Hague’s residents have kept telling us as they recount the past two months of dreary weather that has nonetheless rendered the city’s green areas a lush spectacle of European flora. The first few days seemed like one continuous welcome party, with one easy day slipping into the next, being plied with good food and good company, built up as the world’s future leaders and policy makers. However, today I am reminded by some of the words that Cameron spoke upon our arrival. He stated that we would be pushed mentally and emotionally. While that threshold has not nearly been reached, I can see clearly now that though the rain is gone, it may not be far off.
Yesterday’s solid day of theory has today yielded to presentations by our peers on their varied and unique experiences from conflict and “post-conflict” areas abroad. The wealth of experience that has been brought together for the Symposium is a credit to the IPSI staff and it is inspiring to be among a group of people all driven by a common purpose, believing in the same goals. But how to achieve these goals exactly? As one esteemed colleague mentioned, this Symposium is a microcosm of the pressures and constraints faced by decision makers and policy makers today. The challenge of funneling a plethora, of experiences, knowledge, biases, and perspectives into a single coherent framework of action which then must be subject to the exacting theory of International Law is a daunting task. As the weight of what we are trying to accomplish at this Symposium becomes more salient temperatures are rising, as participants each seek to contribute in a meaningful way. It is a process, iron on iron, and even beautiful cityscapes sometimes require a few months of rain.