On 29 June, the Institute for European Studies and the Faculty of Law of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel were proud to award the diploma of Master in International and Comparative Law to 38 students of their Programme on International Legal Cooperation. They will join the now over 1.000 alumni (or APILCA, as we call them) of this programme. The 46 initial PILC students this year came from 27 different countries, covering four out of five continents.
Newly appointed PILC director, Prof. Dr. Servaas Van Thiel, and IES President Prof. Dr. Bart De Schutter joined their colleagues in celebrating with the students on this 33rd edition of the graduation ceremony.
With the grade of great distinction: Lukas Dauksas, Broderick Grady, Susanne Kurschat, Jayne McGlynn, Jaime Moscardo, Anna Moscibroda, Simona Popan, Rastislav Rosko, Nadja Rossettini, Armin Steinbach, Siw Stordahl and Michiel Verlinden.
With the grade of distinction: Serra Ayse Basoglu, Ranxi Chen, Jan Coppens, Matthew Daley, Lei Fang, Elena Ionova, Jan Javorsky, Frederique Lambrecht, Napier Jennifer, Marie-Andrée Poiré, Wendwesson Shewarega, Katarzyna Smorawinska, Helle Stefek, Nataliya Stetsenko and Lei Zhang.
With the grade of satisfactory: Elitza Angelova, Chuanpis Bunnag, Elena Dereviankina, Marta Giannakaki, Obunike Ohaegbu, Angeliki Roumelioti, Xiaobo Sun, Joseph Noel Sengco Vasquez, Lina Wang, Jing Xue and Gebeyehu Nadew Zerihun.
The IES wishes them success and hopes to welcome them in its future activities. APILCA news will be added in this newsletter (online available via the IES website at newsletter/)
UN Security Council Scrutinized
Succesful lecture Series on the European Convention comes to an end.
Just a few weeks ago, the leaders of the European Union finally agreed to the EU's new so-called “constitutional treaty”. It is no coincidence that our Institute, under the auspices of VUB professor and recently appointed Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel De Gucht, organised a lecture series on aspects of this treaty and of the Convention process that preceeded it. Starting on 10 February with a compelling talk on the challenges of the European Union, Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt set the tone for an interesting and lively lecture series.
At the IES, we will organise a new series of lectures in the fall. Starting Tuesday 12 October, the IES will host experts on “The EU and Sustainable Development: Internal and External Dimensions”, a lecture series organised under the auspices of IES Senior Research Fellow Marc Pallemaerts. Details of the (provisional) programme can be found further in this Newsletter.
IES in Canada
From June 3-5 the Canadian Association for Information Science (CAIS) organised its 2004 conference, as part of the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities of Canada at the University of Manitoba. IES collaborator Johan Pas was invited by CAIS to present his paper on “The Use and Re-use of Public Sector Information (PSI): Some Legal and Policy Reflections”. The paper draws upon the duality within public sector information and points out the influence of technology on its availability and accessibility. It mentions some of the different types of law that determine the availability of PSI in Europe and gives an overview of the main differences between the EU on the one hand, and the U.S. and Canada on the other.
Two other papers, presented at the conference, were of particular relevance to the IES project on information access:
All papers presented at the conference are available at : http://www.cais-acsi.ca.
Launch Conference of the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS)
Senior Research fellow Richard Lewis attended the launch conference of this major policy research group set up in October last year with funding from the Economic and Social Research Council of the United Kingdom. In addition to his IES functions, Lewis is an adviser on European Union affairs to COMPAS. The conference took place at St.-Anthony's College, Oxford, on 5 and 6 July.
COMPAS aims to be the leading European centre on a subject which is causing political anguish in all Member States and to quote from COMPAS' publications "polarises public opinion between those who see migration as a vital contribution to the work forces of the advanced economies and others who see it as a gateway for criminality and social disintegration". Professor Steve Vertovec (himself an immigrant to the UK from the United States!) says: "The issue is not going to go away. Migration will continue. Public opinion is very dubious about migration , but small problems are often whipped up out of all proportion in the media. Migration is a multi-level phenomenon, with positive and negative aspects for receiving societies, sending countries and migrants themselves. We must consider trade-offs and find mutually beneficial solutions. One of COMPAS' key roles is to inform policy and opinion, having explored the issues in all their social, economic and cultural complexity".
The conference tackled the key areas in which COMPAS is engaged in research. These are the sending contexts in countries of origin, the means of migration, integration of migrants and social change, the so-called migration-asylum nexus (i.e. the distinction between economic and forced migration) and the humanitarian response to forced migration and migration management - how the whole can be managed for the maximum benefit and the minimum discomfort.
Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State for International Development (himself the son of a distinguished father who served Labour governments in previous administrations and whose mother is also American) opened the conference and stressed the need to take emotion out of the debate on migration. He said that the United Kingdom had a vital interest in the discourse on the subject. The international community needed to remember that there are also 25 million internally displaced persons who have moved as a result of war or famine. We should also be aware that remittances from migrants estimated by the World Bank at $93 billion are worth nearly twice global aid programmes.
Other notable presentations were given by Dr. Dimitri Papadimitriou, Director of the Migration Policy Institute in Washington D.C. and Dr. Jeff Crisp, previously with UNHCR and now Research Director of U.N Secretary General Kofi Annan's Global Commission on International Migration. The latter has been set up to examine (over a period of eighteen months starting at the beginning of 2004) many of the questions raised at the COMPAS conference. Richard attended their first expert meeting of the Global Commission in January this year. He also was a member of a panel at the COMPAS conference looking at labour migration the discussion on which was introduced by a masterly exposé by Dr. Christian Dustmann of University College London on his econometric research into the effects of migration on wages and employment. The results of this research commissioned by the Home Office reveal that the negative effects are practically zero whereas migration does aid wealth creation.
All this took place in the modern but traditionally designed St. Anthony's which is a graduate Oxford college specialising in international relations and led by former senior U.N. official sir Marrack Goulding who was responsible for many years for the U.N's peace-keeping operations - a tough job. For those who do not know Oxford (or indeed their arch rivals Cambridge) it is certainly worth a visit. Even if not for scholarship, the magnificent architecture and agreeable atmosphere of the city are well worth the effort. And, believe it or not, there are some really fine restaurants in Oxford and its vicinity. Belgian cuisine had better watch out!
IES hosts Chinese researcher
IES News in Brief
IES Senior Research Fellow Marc Pallemaerts
represented the Flemish Inter-University Council (VLIR) in
the “Big Launching Event” of the VLIR-IUS programme at the
Universidad Central “Marta Abreu” de Las Villas (UCLV) in
Santa Clara, Cuba. Dr. Pallemaerts was part of a team of professors
of the various Flemish universities who visited the country between
1 and 15 June.
IES Activity Report 2003 - Executive Summary
On 29 June, the University Board approved the 2003 Annual Activity Report of the IES. The full report is available online on the Institute's website (www.ies.be). We publish its executive summary in this newsletter:
After the start-up in 2002, the IES began consolidating its activities in 2003. In the area of education, the Institute pursued its PILC policy. In line with this, it monitored the qualitative inflow of students and new lecturers, and continued its drive to increase the number of candidates for the programme. In the area of research, the IES continued to experience the effects of time-consuming start-up procedures: several projects had to start later than originally planned. That said, all of the projects initiated were up and running by the autumn of 2003. Just about all of the objectives set out in the IES policy plan were achieved.
The initiatives are all in keeping with the objectives set out in the IES policy plan. To be more precise, in the area of education, these relate to setting up the Programme on International Legal Cooperation, investigating the potential for developing Masters courses in European Studies (which is being pursued on the theme of “globalisation” in cooperation with the University of Kent and the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). This has already led to a collective symposium in cooperation with the Universität Wien and the Diplomatische Akademie Wien), developing e-courses, and setting up two series of lectures (one on “globalisation” and one on “European Security”). However, our current legal framework prevents us from starting up new Masters courses, and so the initiatives we have already taken have had to be confined to indirect forms of cooperation.
Where research is concerned, the projects tie in with the proposed research topics, i.e. globalisation, environment, European integration and security. In order to cement the scientific basis, steps were taken in 2003 to attract a number of senior research fellows. It is their task to coordinate the themes put forward, and to develop initiatives to increase the scientific basis and character of the IES.
In the area of scientific services, the IES met all expectations by organising or co-organising several conferences and colloquia, and organising the series of lectures discussed above.
The IES's revenues exceeded original estimates as the result of a number of external projects. Expenditure, on the other hand, remained delivered under budget: in all areas of expenditure, including investments, the institute was parsimonious, and, where the sustainability of the Institute's operations is concerned, personnel costs have been strictly monitored to ensure that they do not create long-term structural problems. As with the previous year, personnel accounted for only 62% of expenditure. This percentage is expected to rise in coming years, because the projects will not be fully manned until late in 2003.
A few figures:
Commissioned research projects
The Institute for European Studies, in collaboration with the Department of Political Science of the VUB, answered a research call initiated by the liaison-office Brussels-Europe to finalize a study by the end of 2004 on the materialization, impact and functioning of the regional and local representations in the Brussels Capital District. The study, headed by Prof. Dr. Maarten Theo Jans and Prof. Dr. Kris Deschouwer, will be carried out primarily by Dr. Michel Huysseune of the Politics Department.
IES Senior Research Fellow Prof. Dr. Marc Pallemaerts has been tasked by the Flemish Region to chair the Working Group of the Parties to the Treaty of Aarhus on its behalf, and to render his expertise to the Region in other meetings concerning the UN-ECE Treaty on access to information, participation in decision-making and access to authority concerning environmental affairs (i.e. the Treaty of Aarhus). Prof. Pallemaerts started this work in May and, according to the contract of the Flemish Region with the IES, will attend meetings with and for the Region until October 2004.
Other externally funded projects at the Institute for European Studies are “The Role of Public Authorities in Integrated Product Policy: Regulators or Coordinators?” (promoter Prof. Dr. Pallemaerts / researcher Aaron McLoughlin) funded by the Belgian Federal Public Service for Science Policy, and “Corruption in/and Industry” (promoter Prof. Dr. Deruyck / researcher Véronique Hameeuw), commissioned by the Belgian Federal Service for Justice.
Saying good-bye to two dear friends
15 July will be a day to remember. On that day, two icons of the IES Programme on International Legal Cooperation left the university on a well-deserved early retirement. Annie Lodens and Liliane Debouwer, both serving respectively 33 and 18 years in the programme, bid the Institute and University farewell as they took up the opportunity offered by the University to take leave from office, making way for “the new generation” to take over.
The Institute for European Studies celebrated the retirement
of the two secretaries on 22 May at a surprise party involving collaborators
of the PILC, IES staff and alumni going as far back as the 1972 (first!)
Annie and Liliane, who despite their long careers remain young at heart, will continue to be the face of the PILC for all those students that graduated since 1971. We hope to welcome them on many of our activities, as they will always be part of “our” IES-PILC family.
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