The executive education training courses at the College of Europe in Bruges: a way to understand and experience the challenges of an ever-changing European Union

By Rector Federica MOGHERINI

We have interviewed the Rector of the College of Europe, Ms Federica MOGHERINI, who reflects on the activities carried out by the College of Europe and specifically on the services offered by the Development Office.   

This year's summer executive education training courses are the first ones being organised since your appointment as Rector of the College of Europe. These courses were implemented online, except for the Intensive Seminar on the EU that is taking place in a face-to-face format in Bruges. What are your expectations vis-à-vis these courses?

Part of the College’s mission is to provide executive education courses covering selected EU topics and skills in order to equip the participants (including civil servants, diplomats, officials, and lawyers) with the necessary know-how and expertise to enhance their careers. In that perspective, the executive education courses, organised every year in Bruges and Brussels, are in continuity with the experience offered by our six advanced Master programmes for postgraduate students; thanks to its specialised education offer, the College is today not only a place to understand Europe as it is, but also a challenging and highly stimulating environment where professionals from over the world gather to reflect and contribute to shape the future of the European integration process.

For the first time since the pandemic started, the flagship programme, the Intensive Seminar on the EU, was organised in person in our premises in Bruges. The course is a three-, two- or one-week training programme providing professionals with in-depth knowledge and practical skills on EU decision-making and policies. My wish is that this will represent a changing moment for the whole College, after these difficult times. This summer we were back in Bruges and I am happy to see that participants, practitioners and the College community can come together again.

At the same time, in the last months, the College has developed new products and tools to face the challenges linked to the pandemic. The training offer has been converted into an online format and new courses have been launched, included the one on European Defence & Security. How do you think these developments and innovations contribute to the mission of the College?

The last months have been very difficult for all of us. But the dynamism of the Development Office has been crucial to keep up with the challenges of the pandemic; last year, almost the entire catalogue of executive education courses was converted into an online format. Except for the Intensive Seminar, all the summer courses in 2021 were held online. In autumn, some of our courses will be held online and others here in Bruges or in Brussels. It is has been a big change in terms of dynamics, approach and training pedagogy, and the team has made an impressive effort in creating these new online products that are now part of the Development Office’s offer. This means that the offer is now richer and includes diverse and complementary services, such as in person courses in Bruges, Brussels and all over the world, study visits to the EU and international organisations, and online courses, events and training. It is important to point out that the College has not changed its mission or formula, which includes excellence in teaching, practice-oriented learning experience in an international environment, and possibility to network among professionals coming from different countries.

Not only new tools, but also new topics. Over the last year decade, the Development Office updated its offer by adding to its catalogue new topics in line with the most recent developments in the EU Affairs, such as EU Energy Policy or Competition & High-Tech Markets. This year, a new course on European Defence & Security will take place in September. I am very glad to see that the College now offers a course that analyses how the EU is addressing key issues linked to the defence, security, and the new threats such as cyberthreats and climate change, both within the EU and outside its borders.

On a more personal note, what are your impressions of this year as Rector of the College of Europe?

First of all, I am very happy and grateful to be at the College, and I am every day more convinced that it was the right decision to make. Of course, it has been a challenging and exceptional year, for everyone. Most of it has been about managing and implementing anti-COVID measures, adjusting to new way of working and living together – the College is a community and all of its members, student, teachers, staff – including the Development Office, have been affected. But the students of the Mário Soares Promotion have shown great deal of responsibility throughout the year and we are ready to welcome the new promotion, named after Éliane VOGEL-POLSKY. I am glad we can resume in-person activities, starting this summer with the Intensive Seminar, and looking forward to getting back together with the whole College community.


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