DEN Conference - 2024

DEN’s 7th International Conference: An Unforgettable Opportunity

This year was not my first DEN conference but my first as an alumnus of the University of Westminster. Around this time last year, my life was in chaos; I had just submitted my dissertation in the days leading up to that year’s conference, I was still grappling with deadlines for my final essays, and to top it all off, I had only just returned from a trip abroad with the university. I was like a kite in a hurricane, so when Farhang approached me this year and told me I could present, I decided to take a very different approach.

Previously, I had tried to cram my entire 10,000-word dissertation into a 10-minute presentation, and it didn’t exactly go to plan; it was tough to break down such a specific and complex topic and nearly impossible to include all the relevant information within the time I had been allocated, but somehow, I just about managed. This time around I took a different approach. Instead of trying to present some hyper-specific topic in a very rigid and academic manner, I focused on aspects of international relations that I had not been able to cover as a student, be it because it was too vague or off-topic for my course.

It is only thanks to DEN’s unique environment that this more casual and theoretical presentation was possible. Walking onto the presentation stage and facing a room full of both familiar and unfamiliar peers, I realised that the supportive and diverse nature of DEN had not only empowered me to step beyond my comfort zone and present something entirely different from my previous work but also challenged me to see things from new perspectives thanks to the diverse audience of students and academics from around the world and various walks of life.

Besides the more formal presentations and panels at the conference, there was ample opportunity for cultural and social exchanges. The evening dinner and following musical and artistic performances were fantastic (dare I say better than last year) and helped to cement the conference as one of the highlights of my work with DEN. To hear colleagues’ presentations about their work and perspectives is an incredible opportunity, and I urge everyone to look at the DEN as a platform to develop their skills and knowledge to seriously consider getting involved! DEN has always maintained an open-door policy to all who are interested. Lastly, it is important to acknowledge the heart and brain of DEN, Farhang. While DEN relies on the participation of its members for all of its work and events, Farhang’s leadership and guidance are very much at the core of DEN, and none of this would have been possible without him.

Lucas Iacuzzi 

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