IASL European Alumni/ae Association Reunion in Paris
On the eve of the 13th Annual McGill/PEOPIL Conference on International Aviation Liability, Insurance & Finance, the IASL European Alumni/ae Association held its reunion event. Forty friends, colleagues and graduates of the Institute met up at this long-anticipated event in the dazzling city of Paris.
The event was the first in-person reunion of the Association since 2014. The reunion began with a visit to the new facilities of the European Space Agency, and the traditional alumni/alumnae workshop, at which graduates shared with one another their personal and professional accomplishments, and reminisced about their life-enriching time at their alma mater in Montreal. At the meeting, Professor Ram Jakhu made a presentation on the current space law issues. Mr. André Farand, an alumnus of the IASL, shared his over 30 years of experience of work as the Former Head of ESA Legal Services Division. This was followed up with the evening cocktail and dinner which took place at the splendid Aeroclub de France just a few blocks from the Arc de Triomphe.
In a heart-felt speech, Anne-Karine Matte, daughter of the late Director Emeritus Nicolas Mateesco Matte, took the opportunity to express her appreciation to those who studied under and worked with Dr. Matte for being such a precious extension of her family.
Newly elected IASL European Alumni/ae Association president Ms. Isabelle Lelieur (LLM, 2000) welcomed the attendees of the meeting, and expressed her vision for a revival of the Association’s activities, and more robust engagement events and connections with IASL graduates spread all over Europe and beyond. After carefully deliberations with members, Isabelle announced Toulouse as the chosen city where the next biennial IASL alumni meeting will take place, and that Ms. Axelle Cartier (LLM, 1997) will be the president-elect for the 2025 meeting.
Axelle took to the stage to describe the long and intimate history “La ville rose” has with aviation and the aerospace industry. It is the city where la compagnie générale de l’Aéropostale first took off in 1918. Today, Toulouse is home to pioneering aerospace industry giants, including Airbus, ATR, Thales, and Collins Aerospace, and is also where the French space agency CNES and the Armée de l’Air et de l’Espace (French Air and Space Force) are based. In terms of ties to academia, Toulouse is the seat of the interdisciplinary Académie de l’Air et de l’Espace, and air law courses are taught at the prestigious Ecole National de l’Aviation Civile (ENAC) and Université Toulouse I Capitole. Last but not least, Toulouse is the gastronomy capital of the Sud-Ouest, as well as a rugby heaven with the local “Rouge et Noir” team. Toulouse-based aerospace giant Airbus and Stade Toulousain just celebrated the 40th anniversary of their partnership.
Toulouse will also have a more intimate tie with Montreal, as Air Canada will begin operating a direct service between the two cities in June this year. As the President-elect of the Toulouse meeting, Axelle will work closely with the rich network of graduates in Toulouse to ensure the success of the next Association reunion.
The European Association meeting was also an occasion to honour Ms. Maria D’Amico, who has been with the Institute for over 45 years. Having known generations of students and worked closely with a succession of IASL directors, including Professor Matte, Maria is truly the heart of the Institute whose dedication to the Institute and warmth will be fondly missed when she retires in May. The Association presented Maria a custom-made Delft Blue porcelain plate with the words “Merci! 45 year with IASL” engraved on it. The beautifully crafted memorabilia features a bird, symbolising her grace as well as her tireless contributions to helping the next generation take off in their careers.
As always, such reunions of the IASL alumni are memorable opportunities for old and new graduates to connect and network in an informal and familiar setting. Throughout the world, the Institute is delighted to see the remarkable achievements and successes of IASL graduates who are connected through lifetime bonds that were established in Montreal and at the Institute.