News from the IES

The PARENT project's final conference took place in Brussels on 4 and 5 June, 2019. It brought together political actors, researchers and civil society organisations concerned with energy and sustainability in Brussels. Over two days, the conference discussed the project's core themes: sustainability, collaboration and technology. This was done in a collaborative and interactive environment amongst the 90 participants, with workshops organised by various partners, information stands from seven different organisations across Brussels, and an evening session with a keynote speech from Chris Roorda. As a result of the project, several mapping initiatives have been launched, with the ambition to fill the gaps in knowledge on sustainability actions in the region. The dialogue set up amongst actors will continue in the future, as we continue to push for a more sustainable Brussels.

On Monday 3 June the IES welcomed 18 students of the University of Southern California (USC), enrolled in the Brussels Programme on European Foreign Policy. They will spend their first week getting to know their individual internship places at various institutions. The students will be staying in Brussels for five weeks while attending lectures on topics such as European integration and foreign policy, European security challenges, and European trade and environmental governance. The programme is organized every spring. It is led by Dr. Daniel Fiott and Dr. Luis Simon.

After several years of declining attention for defence matters in the Belgian political debate, emerging international trends are putting the foundations of national security back on the agenda. Belgium has traditionally safeguarded its international interests within the framework of a strong transatlantic relationship that also supports European integration. NATO membership, in particular, is at the core the country’s security and defence policy and reflects its decision to guarantee security in a multilateral framework. But the balance of power between the world’s major powers is shifting and Belgian policy-makers are therefore compelled to reflect on how to continue to safeguard security and defence going forward. 

In the framework of the Royal Visit to the Republic of South Korea, VUB’s Vice-Rector Romain Meeusen signed three MoUs with Korean universities – two of which were directly related to activities at the IES. General research and teaching cooperation agreements were signed between the VUB and Hankuk Universtity of Foreign Studies (HUFS) and between the VUB and Seoul National University (SNU). With HUFS, the IES has had a long standing relationship, starting with student exchange between 2009 and 2012 and with research cooperation ever since. With SNU, an additional MoU was signed to organize a summer training programme on EU Studies for their international relations students. Starting July 2019, between 20 and 30 Korean students will travel to Brussels for a two-week course programme at our Institute. 

After delivering the successful 2018 Masterclass on the Middle East: Geopolitics in Europe’s Neighbourhood, the Institute for European Studies and the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy Europe teamed up once again, between February and May 2019, for another exceptional five-part Middle East Masterclass on the geopolitics of the region. The line-up included contentious topics such as Atheism and Freedom of Belief in the Middle East (Brian Whitaker), The Next War in the Middle East (Koert Debeuf), The Trifecta of Misogyny: State, Street, Home (Mona Eltahawy), The Israel-Palestine Peace Process (Lara Friedman), or Saudi Arabia’s Role in the Middle East (Oz Hassan). 

The VUB and the University of Warwick (UoW) have launched a joint PhD programme, in which 2 PhD fellowships are available to enable young and promising researchers to be jointly supervised by academics from both universities. The PhD candidate is expected to spend at least 12 months in each institution. The fellowships will start between October 2019 and January 2020.  

A new IES report to which our researchers Tomas Wyns, Gauri Khandekar and Matilda Axelson contributed, builds upon the growing momentum for an EU industrial transition to net-zero amongst policy makers and even industry, and sketches the blueprint of an industrial strategy towards climate neutrality. The report is unique in the sense that its industrial strategy proposal transcends the novelty of individual instruments towards a more integrated structure that scrutinizes a broad set of policy instruments and provides ideas for making the whole policy set as tangible as possible.

The ‘European Union in International Affairs’ (EUIA) conference provides a major forum for academics and policy-makers to debate the role of the EU in the turbulent realm of international affairs. The sixth edition of this event will take place from 27 to 29 May 2020 and focus on the theme ‘Assessing the EU’s Capacity to Act’.

Keep an eye on www.euia.eu for further updates. The Call for Papers and Panels will be launched next September.

On Friday 26 April, the Brussels Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Migration and Minorities (BIRMM) organized its first full research day. BIRMM is a VUB platform for migration and diversity researchers to meet, exchange and cooperate across disciplines.  It is coordinated by IES professors Ilke Adam and Florian Trauner. During the research day, organized by IES researcher Dr. Serena D’Agostino and Dr. Nick Schuermans (Cosmopolis Centre for Urban Research), around 30 VUB researchers from many different disciplines presented and discussed their research. 

Korea-Foundation-VUB Korea Chair Dr. Ramon Pacheco Pardo has been invited to teach a course on 'EU and Asia' as part of Seoul National University's International Summer Institute. SNU is Korea's top university. As South Korea's first national university, Seoul National University has a tradition of standing up for democracy and peace on the Korean peninsula. Graduates have long served as public servants in key positions of the Korean government. In teaching, research, and public service, Seoul National University continues to set the standard of excellence. If you would like to find out more about the courses of the Seoul National University International Summer Institute, please visit this website.