From 9-20 July 2018, around fifty participants from the Eastern Partnership, Western Balkans, and Visegrad Group countries came to Natolin for the sixth edition of the Warsaw Euro-Atlantic Summer Academy (WEASA), jointly organised by the College of Europe in Natolin, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, and supported by the US-Polish Fulbright Commission.
WEASA participants come from many different backgrounds: they include journalists, civil servants, NGO workers, think-tankers, and academics. Lecturers also represent a large range of institutions.
This year, they included veteran journalists and experts from organisations such as the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), the German Marshal Fund (GMF), the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Bellingcat, and StopFake.org.
The summer academy focused on the "The Politics of Technology: Information, Disinformation, and Security in a Digital Era". It analysed not just the way in which we use technological tools, but also how such tools shape us and our political systems. Participants therefore learned about topics such as modern information- and cybersecurity, the fight against disinformation, and the political impact of social media.
We also introduced a new study format at WEASA 2018. Each day focused on a specific theme and was divided into morning lectures and afternoon workshops. The first sessions allowed participants to gain key knowledge from an expert in the field. The second sessions, on the other hand, gave them an opportunity to discuss what they learned and apply it to their personal and professional lives. Such thematic sections also were complemented by a series of soft skills courses. Those taught participants debating, social media, negotiation, and entrepreneurship skills, preparing them for an ever deeper engagement in digital debates and policy projects.
For more information, please visit www.weasa.org.