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Looking back: New Year’s Event 2021, a year of sustainability and perspective

A live online New Year’s event on Tuesday 12 January marked the start of the New Year. Dean Joanne van der Leun toasted 2021 and as usual at this event, the annual Meijers prizes and thesis prizes were awarded.

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Staff had been sent a borrelbox containing a drink and snacks to their home address to enjoy while toasting the New Year

The event was opened by Joanne van der Leun, who characterised 2021 as a year full of perspectives. 'We are starting online, but it will get better', she said. She also reflected on the past year which had been a challenge for both students and staff. 'We faced a mammoth task. And we showed what we are capable of.' It is still unclear what the coming year has in store for us, but sustainability will certainly have a major role to play. Van der Leun announced that a large seminar will soon be held on this theme. She toasted the New Year, together with staff who followed the event via a livestream while enjoying all the goodies in their borrelbox.  

The sustainability theme was also the main focus of the Meijers Lecture given by Tanja Masson of the International Institute of Air and Space Law. She spoke, among other things, on the huge amount of debris that is in outer space and who is legally responsible for it. In addition, she pointed out the role of air and space technology in charting the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

A quiz was organised by Aoife Fleming and Jiahui Plomp

And so how sustainable is Leiden University? This was one of the topics for the New Year’s Quiz which was organised and hosted by students Aoife Fleming and Jiahui Plomp. From the quiz – won by PhD candidate Gieneke Wiggers – we learnt that the University releases more than 13 million wettenbundels (legislation volumes) converted to CO2 emissions.

Meijers prizes and thesis prizes

The Meijers prizes were then awarded for the best published article for each faculty research programme. Director of Research Stefaan Van den Bogaert announced that articles by Yannick van den Brink, Gitta Veldt, Jason Rudall, Eduard Fosch Villaronga, Esther Huiskers-Stoop, Philippe van Gruisen, Reijer Passchier and Melanie Fink had won the prizes this year. Gitta Veldt and Reijer Passchier also received an extra distinction: they were joint winners of the Van Wersch Springplank Prize.

To round off, the thesis prizes were awarded by Pr0fessor of Legal History Egbert Koops, who set off on a quest in his back garden to discover the best theses of the past year. The prizes went to Sarah Deaney, Eline van Slijpe and Martin Hiess and they win €1000, €800, and €600, respectively.

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