“Two goddesses now must Cyprus adore; The Muses are ten, and the Graces are four; Stella’s wit is so charming, so sweet her fair face, She shines a new Venus, a Muse, and a Grace.” Callimachus
My absolute delight at being chosen to take part in the Willem C. Vis Moot competition was quickly matched by our arrival in Cyprus. A beautiful Island, occupied by wonderful people, Cyprus gave our team the very best environment to absorb our International Arbitration training and practice our mooting skills against the UCLan Cyprus sister team.
Our daily commute from Larnaca to the impressive UCLAN University campus in Pyla gave us chance to soak up the gorgeous Mediterranean Spring countryside and indulge in some fascinating local political history (courtesy of our resident UN and Human Rights expert Glen Woodroffe). The UN buffer zone, a stone’s throw from the University campus, was a reminder that the island still lies at the heart of an ongoing geopolitical malaise.
Our evenings were filled with wonderful company, fabulous regional cuisine and an evening aperitif (or two). This oiled the wheels of our creativity and we were often found in deep International Contract Law debate, until the early hours. Our tutors, Susan Fletcher and Glen Woodroffe, provided the perfect guidance and mentoring to keep us on track in our legal strategy and style.
The Annual Island Law Society ball in Nicosia also coincided with our stay and the Law Staff and Students organised our invitations. We all attended, looking striking in our cocktail gowns and lounge suits. The event was not only a wonderful networking opportunity but also provided a fascinating lecture from the Attorney General of Cyprus. The lecture discussed various factor exacerbating political and economic corruption. As Law students, this provided a useful insight into the potential role of the legal profession as both gatekeepers and facilitators of this toxic aspect of public life.
The final moot between UCLAN Preston and Cyprus was an exciting morning. Our Arbitrators were local distinguished legal professionals, who added a real flavour of expertise and professionalism to the event. Oralists from both Preston and Cyprus gave great performances and did themselves proud, but most importantly we all gained a huge amount of learning and mooting experience.
Our stay on the Island was coming to an end, but not before we visited Limassol and the town centre offices of a prominent Island Law firm. Limassol was also hosting the yearly Carnival, an event that can be traced back to Hellenistic times and that has endured, as a Christian Pre-lent festival, celebrating hope and optimism. The exuberance, costumes and music would match any Rio de Janeiro Mardi Gras and our wonderful lecturer, Susan Fletcher, briefed and accompanied us so we were well prepared for the celebrations, in our oversized glasses and Masquerade masks.
Not a moment of our time was squandered, and even as we made our way back to Paphos airport, we managed to take in the sights of hundreds of local wild cats, a beautifully restored 18th Century mosque, wild pink flamingos and 2000-year-old Greek tombs.A final meal at a wonderful seafood restaurant overlooking the port of Pathos, rounded off perfectly, one of the most enjoyable and significant learning events of my life!