News from the IES

On 1 July 2019, the Institute for European Studies had the pleasure of welcoming Korean students at the first day of our SNU in the EU Brussels Programme.

Being the very first edition of this programme organized by the IES, this programme will further deepen the already established good relations between SNU and the IES. In the upcoming two weeks the students will participate in lectures on the history and future of EU integration, EU institutions and decision-making procedures, EU foreign and security affairs, combined with visits to the ROK Embassies, NATO and EU institutions. Organising this programme is a logical continuation of the institute’s activities related to Korea. In 2017, the Institute for European Studies launched the  KF-VUB Korea Chair, as a primary contact point in Europe on policy issues related to Korea and the Korean Peninsula.

We wish the SNU students a productive and memorable two weeks in Brussels!

The IES is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jamal Shahin as the new Director of its Advanced Master in European Integration (‘EuroMaster’) programme. Dr. Shahin works part time at the IES, as well as in the Department of European Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Jamal is trained as a political scientist, with a PhD from the University of Hull (2005). His research interests focus on global internet governance, political participation in the European Union, EU governance, and the impact of the internet on policy making. In the EuroMaster programme, he teaches the Research Methods Lab course and will be convening the core module on Policymaking and Interest Representation in the EU, as a successor to Prof. Irina Tanasescu. Jamal is looking forward to support all the students and colleagues who are part of the programme!

The EUTOPIA alliance of six European universities, one of which is Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), has been chosen by the European Commission as one of the seventeen pilot projects for developing a ‘European university’, thereby  receiving a 5 million EUR grant from the Erasmus+ ‘European Universities’ programme.

On 24 June, students of the University of Southern California (USC), enrolled in the Brussels Programme on European Foreign Policy at the IES, visited part of the Parliament building, invited by Valentina Papa, (Parliamentary Assistant - Head of Office to Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Swedish EPP MEP) who kindly gave them an overview presentation of the workings of the EP within the workings of the Parliament the Council and the Commission.

The PARENT project's final conference took place in Brussels on 4 and 5 June, 2019. It brought together political actors, researchers and civil society organisations concerned with energy and sustainability in Brussels. Over two days, the conference discussed the project's core themes: sustainability, collaboration and technology. This was done in a collaborative and interactive environment amongst the 90 participants, with workshops organised by various partners, information stands from seven different organisations across Brussels, and an evening session with a keynote speech from Chris Roorda. As a result of the project, several mapping initiatives have been launched, with the ambition to fill the gaps in knowledge on sustainability actions in the region. The dialogue set up amongst actors will continue in the future, as we continue to push for a more sustainable Brussels.

On Monday 3 June the IES welcomed 18 students of the University of Southern California (USC), enrolled in the Brussels Programme on European Foreign Policy. They will spend their first week getting to know their individual internship places at various institutions. The students will be staying in Brussels for five weeks while attending lectures on topics such as European integration and foreign policy, European security challenges, and European trade and environmental governance. The programme is organized every spring. It is led by Dr. Daniel Fiott and Dr. Luis Simon.

After several years of declining attention for defence matters in the Belgian political debate, emerging international trends are putting the foundations of national security back on the agenda. Belgium has traditionally safeguarded its international interests within the framework of a strong transatlantic relationship that also supports European integration. NATO membership, in particular, is at the core the country’s security and defence policy and reflects its decision to guarantee security in a multilateral framework. But the balance of power between the world’s major powers is shifting and Belgian policy-makers are therefore compelled to reflect on how to continue to safeguard security and defence going forward. 

In the framework of the Royal Visit to the Republic of South Korea, VUB’s Vice-Rector Romain Meeusen signed three MoUs with Korean universities – two of which were directly related to activities at the IES. General research and teaching cooperation agreements were signed between the VUB and Hankuk Universtity of Foreign Studies (HUFS) and between the VUB and Seoul National University (SNU). With HUFS, the IES has had a long standing relationship, starting with student exchange between 2009 and 2012 and with research cooperation ever since. With SNU, an additional MoU was signed to organize a summer training programme on EU Studies for their international relations students. Starting July 2019, between 20 and 30 Korean students will travel to Brussels for a two-week course programme at our Institute. 

After delivering the successful 2018 Masterclass on the Middle East: Geopolitics in Europe’s Neighbourhood, the Institute for European Studies and the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy Europe teamed up once again, between February and May 2019, for another exceptional five-part Middle East Masterclass on the geopolitics of the region. The line-up included contentious topics such as Atheism and Freedom of Belief in the Middle East (Brian Whitaker), The Next War in the Middle East (Koert Debeuf), The Trifecta of Misogyny: State, Street, Home (Mona Eltahawy), The Israel-Palestine Peace Process (Lara Friedman), or Saudi Arabia’s Role in the Middle East (Oz Hassan). 

The VUB and the University of Warwick (UoW) have launched a joint PhD programme, in which 2 PhD fellowships are available to enable young and promising researchers to be jointly supervised by academics from both universities. The PhD candidate is expected to spend at least 12 months in each institution. The fellowships will start between October 2019 and January 2020.