Wednesday 20 September
By Robert Monterosso
The 20th of September signalled the first day of official activities on the 2017 EU Centre for Global Affairs Study Tour. First on the itinerary was a visit to Friends of Europe, a leading Brussels-based European think tank, which is apolitical and aims to connect people, stimulate debate, and trigger change to create a more inclusive, sustainable, and forward-looking Europe. The Study Tour group met with Ms Shada Islam, Director of Policy who focuses on issues related to Europe’s future, and integration challenges. Shada Islam is a regular commentator on European and global affairs for international media and frequently addresses students at European and Asian universities.
From left to right: Ben Pascoe-Purvis, Alia Papageorgiou, Griff Blewett, Leighton McDonald-Stuart, Sofia Valero, Ms Shada Islam, Maddison Briggs, Robert Monterosso, Maddy Terrell & Kari Seeley
The student group enjoyed a relaxed and informative discussion which proved to be a great opportunity to learn about how Europe sees itself. Shada Islam referred in particular to the importance of stronger emerging EU-Asia relations, and the significant impact in this arena of the work of Friends of Europe, epitomised by its pioneering Asia Programme designed to facilitate grater mutual understanding. The visit to Friends of Europe provided an effective opportunity for student group to gain an understanding of the EU from the inside, rather than looking only from the outside.
Educational support material at the House of European History
The student group also visited the newly-opened House of European History which is entirely devoted to the origins, evolution, and challenges of Europe and the EU. The museum, which spans 6 floors of exhibitions, provides a comprehensive view of the EU’s past, present, and future. Study Tour participants concluded this is a definite must-visit in Brussels for anyone who is even remotely interested in the EU and European History. The hot tip is to do the interactive, self-guided tour via the (free) tablet to soak up the most amount of information possible and explore location-activated special features throughout the museum.