From 28 February to 3 March 2022, the students of the EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies programme heard insightful lectures and engaged in stimulating exchanges with EU and international policy-makers, civil society representatives and think tank experts. The events taking place in Bruges and Brussels replaced, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions, the spring study trip to Geneva. The programme consisted of three main components: First, students participated in discussions about EU external action with high-level speakers in Bruges. Second, two days in Brussels were dedicated to visits of various EU institutions, NGOs and think tanks in five small groups, each featuring exchanges with up to five experts. The thematic groups ranged from security and crisis response, trade policy, external climate and energy policies, to human rights and democracy promotion, as well as development cooperation and humanitarian aid. Third, optional activities included visits to the House of European History, the Parlamentarium, the ‘Experience Europe’ exhibition centre, the Magritte Museum, the Africa Museum or the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.
Among the high-level speakers who came to Bruges and kindly dedicated some of their time to interact with the students were MEP David McALLISTER, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Andreas von BRANDT, the EU Ambassador to Afghanistan, as well as H.E. Mr Georges Rebelo Pinto CHIKOTI, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). Rector Mogherini joined the guests and students for some of the exchanges.
In Brussels, students had the opportunity to meet with EU officials from the EEAS, the European Commission (DGs CLIMA, ECHO, ENERGY, INTPA, NEAR and TRADE) and the European Parliament as well as experts from amfori, E3G, the European Policy Centre, the European Endowment for Democracy and the ICRC Delegation. Among the speakers were, for instance, at the EEAS Joanneke BALFOORT, Director for Security and Defence Policy, Mathieu BRIENS, Deputy Head of Cabinet of HR/VP Borrell, Christina KOKKINAKIS, Director for Values and Multilateral Relations, and Eamon GILMORE, EU Special Representative for Human Rights; at DG Trade the Chief Trade Enforcement Officer Denis REDONNET; or at DG ECHO Andrea KOULAIMAH, Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and Pacific, and Julia STEWART-DAVID, Acting Director for Disaster Preparedness and Prevention.
The College of Europe would like to warmly thank all the partners for their cooperation, which contributed to making this year’s study trip a success.