IES Executive Director Anthony Antoine celebrates 20 years of service at the VUB

… or should it have been 23 years of service? Anthony indeed started his career at the VUB in 1995 when he was working at the Centre for Peace and Security Studies of VUB’s POLI department. As a researcher, he was responsible for a feasibility study to find out whether the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation could use the Internet as a means of communication … It sounds very silly when asked now in our hyper-connected 21st century, but back then the World Wide Web was barely invented and students – let alone the wider public – did not have an email address yet. Researching how NATO should then change its communication strategy (at a time when it was also heavily involved in the Yugoslav conflict) was therefore a serious matter. It truly was a different century … 

After a break to implement the study at NATO, Anthony combined his NATO responsibilities with research at the POLI department in a project with SIPRI and ETHZurich on the development of e-learning modules. As research assistant to Prof. Gustaaf Geeraerts, he also taught European Security. Only six years later, in 2002, he returned full-time to university to become the what then was called ‘CEO’ of the IES – a position later renamed to Executive Director.

At the celebrations on Monday 8 January, Anthony called his 20 consecutive years of service “a roller coaster”. “The IES started with five people and grew to a multidisciplinary institution with more than 100 collaborators coming from all over the world. It is therefore normal that in this growth path each year has been very different”. “The past 20 years flew by, and that’s mainly because it has been fun! Surely, there were bad times too, but if there were I already forgot them. I am humbled to be able to work with great people that all give the best of themselves, all in their own way (‘redelijk eigenzinnig’). That is what makes me come back every day. And that is what makes the IES and the VUB great places to work at! Not only is it inspiring to be surrounded by bright and young scholars, I have met here a group of amazing people that I am honoured to be able to call friends for life. The family feel and the amazing colleagues at the IES and at the VUB at large give me the enthusiasm to add another 20 magnificent years!”