Last Monday, it was time to say our final goodbye to our beloved colleague, Ms. Monique Legerman. Monique has worked at the Academy since 2010 and successfully contributed to the most important projects in recent years, such as the Advanced Course on International Criminal Law and the External Programme of the Academy that will commence in 2019. Throughout her time in the Peace Palace, Monique helped to create a pleasant work environment and she is held in high regard by all her colleagues. It’s therefore with mixed feelings that we say goodbye to her; a feeling of sadness to see her go and yet happiness to see her embark on the next stage in her career at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. We will miss her dearly and wish her the best of luck in all her future endeavors. Here are Monique’s final thoughts on her time at the Academy….
- What will you miss most about the Academy?
Without a doubt the people I worked with! But I hope to remain in touch with them after I leave, so hopefully I won’t actually have to miss them. One specific feeling I will certainly miss is the excitement of the very first day of a Summer Courses session: when 350 students from all over the world flood the Academy Hall, invited professors prepare for their first lectures and the air is literally brimming with anticipation on all sides. For the staff of the Academy and the Carnegie Foundation it remains a special moment because we worked almost an entire year to prepare for the courses and we’re always very happy when the Academy literally “comes to life”.
- What is your best memory?
My fondest memory is probably the experience of my first Summer Courses session in July 2011. I was at the welcome desk in the main hall of the Academy Building and about the same age as most of the students attending. It was easy to relate to them since I had studied international law myself and their excitement for the courses was contagious. That very first group of Public International Law attendees remains very dear to me.
- Can you share an anecdote with us?
A few students from that group from 2011 invented a story about the big statue of the black cat that stands in front of the Peace Palace’s Library’s Reading Room. They published the story on the internet (http://ramskells.weebly.com/) and since then it’s become quite an urban legend among attendees of the courses. Every year there are some students who believe the statue really is a monument to Ramskells, the cat who saved the Justices of the Permanent Court of International Justice from a fire that broke out in the Peace Palace in the Spring of 1924. During that famous Public International Law period of 2011 a colleague even put a little bowl of milk in front of the statue one day as a sign of respect for the fearless Ramskells and of course hilarity ensued.
- What do you think is the proudest achievement of the Academy in recent years?
I believe the Academy has managed to modernize itself and remain relevant in today’s quickly developing times, while staying true to its mission as it was envisaged almost a century ago. Professor Yves Daudet, the current President of the Curatorium, worked very hard to bring about some important changes and our new Secretary-General, Professor Jean-Marc Thouvenin, has been developing new initiatives that I think will be beneficial to the Academy. One exciting new project will be the very first session of the Academy’s Winter Courses, which will be held in January 2019.