News from the IES

Research internationalisation is vital for an open and modern university like the VUB. International research co-operation brings impact, visibility, quality, and (of course) funding. But internationalisation can have its dark sides: the problems of human rights violations, industrial espionage, and working with questionable regimes cannot be ignored, particularly when they touch the VUB community directly. During this session on 4 December, the VUB research community discussed the challenges of international collaboration with a panel of policy-makers.

The VUB educational services organize regular Get Inspired! -sessions to VUB staff, where peers present perspectives in educational and research practices to inspire one another. On Tuesday 4 December the session zoomed in on sharing practices on benchmarking of educational programmes; invited to speak in the session was IES professor Harri Kalimo.

On Tuesday 27.11. the European Parliament organized the 10th European Innovation Summit. These summits address hot topics on the EU’s policy agenda, highlighting developments in areas crucial for the Union’s competitiveness and sustainable development. The 10thSummit kicked off with a session “Tackling Microplastics with Sustainable Solutions”. Microplastics refer to the very small pieces of plastics that are either intentionally added to products (such as make-up, cleaners and toothpaste) or detach from larger plastic objects as they wear down (e.g. car tyres, textiles) or fragment over a longer period of time (e.g. plastic bottles). An interdisciplinary group of top scientists elaborated on the current state knowledge on microplastics in the 10th Summit. 

In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, and with the support of the Institute for European Studies (IES/VUB), the ALL-YOUTH project calls on youth/young researchers to apply for the MasterClass: “The Future of the Council of Europe”. The session will take place on Monday 4 February 2019 at the Tampere University, Finland.

IES Research Professor Jamal Shahin gave a keynote speech at the Conference Finland 3.0 of the ALL-YOUTH project, held on 22-23 November at the University of Helsinki. Jamal’s presentation, entitled ‘Youth Participation in Internet Governance’, addressed the role of youth organizations in the global multistakeholderism dynamics of Internet governance. The session used interactive tools to engage the audience in a debate around how is the Internet governed, and why is it politically, economically and socially relevant. Jamal pointed at youth as an actor with a strong voice that has had a key role in the different fora with which the Internet has opened up to stakeholder participation. The session displayed several video testimonies of young people involved in the Internet governance through platforms such as the Youth Coalition on Internet Governance (YCIG) or the No Hate Speech Movement of the Council of Europe. In addition to Jamal’s intervention, the Conference included a keynote speech from prof. Ann Phoenix of the University College London entitled “Understanding Youth Wellbeing in Intersectional Perspective”. 

The prevention of violent radicalisation as part of counter-terrorism measures is a top priority of the European Union and national security agendas. In 2015 Belgium introduced promising reforms in countering radicalisation and terrorism that aimed at connecting not only intelligence, security and police services across different policy levels but also the multitude of other stakeholders representing the government and civil society. However, the implementation and further development of the Belgian approach to prevention of radicalisation remain contested in political and public debate. 

IES Academic Director, Prof. Dr. Luk Van Langenhove, has been appointed as “Honorary Professorial Fellow with the University of Warwick in the ‘Politics and International Studies Department’ (PAIS). This appointment will allow to further deepen and widen the collaboration between PAIS and the IES. Click here for more background on the collaboration between the University of Warwick and the IES/VUB.

The IES LLM (PILC) and Euromaster students made their traditional visit to the Berlaymont building on 7 November. During the meeting, they attended the Press Briefing, given by the Chief spokesperson of the Commission, Margaritis Schinas. The event was lively, with topics ranging from the Italian budget to endocrine disruptors, and BREXIT of course. 

On 19 October the Migration, Diversity and Justice cluster organised the kick-off and internal networking meeting of the new VUB’s Brussels Interdisciplinary Research centre on Migration and Minorities, called BIRMM. The group has been created in January 2018 and joined IMISCOE, the largest network of migration research centres in Europe, as an institutional member in July. BIRMM gathers over 60 VUB researchers working on migration and diversity related topics, mostly in social sciences (sociology, political science, communication science, criminology), history, philosophy and law. BIRMM is coordinated by Prof. Ilke Adam and Prof. Florian Trauner (both IES-VUB) and a board of delegates with one representative per research centre or department. 

The Flemish Education Council (VLOR – Vlaamse Onderwijsraad) has recently issued a strategic exploratory report about education for refugees in Flanders. IES postdoctoral researcher Mohammad Salman, who between 2015 and 2017 established and led a programme to bring highly educated refugees to the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, contributed to the report by providing specific advice to VLOR based on his extensive experience in this subject matter.