Belgium (Brussels Morning newspaper), The EU’s former foreign policy chief has thrown her weight behind efforts to “transform the field of EU affairs into a truly diverse and inclusive educational environment.
Federica Mogherini was speaking at the launch this week of the new “diversity and inclusion” initiative.
The scheme’s objectives are twofold:
- Improve social and cultural mobility in higher education; and
- Contribute to the diversification of the future talent pipeline in public affairs in Brussels.
The launch event was told that the so-called “InclusivEU” initiative seeks to contribute to diversifying the Bruges-based College of Europe, the EU institutions and the broader European ecosystem.
This relates to ability, class, culture, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, race, religion, sexual orientation or socio-economic background.
Mogherini, who served as High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policy, and Vice President of the European Commission from 2014 to 2019, spoke at the launch at Brussels press club.
Mogherini, now the Rector of the College of Europe, said: “The EU is increasingly diverse but the European institutions, where the future of our continent is shaped, are not yet.
“The College of Europe, as a great stepping stone for a successful career in EU affairs, has an important role to play in filling that gap. We are committed to helping transform the field of EU affairs into a truly diverse and inclusive environment.
“We are glad that we are embarking on this process with committed partners with whom we share this core objective to make the EU institutional environment more diverse.”
While InclusivEU was started by BCW, Dentons Global Advisors and FTI Consulting, the ambition is to encourage other agencies and organisations to participate, it was said.
By growing the number of sponsoring partners and the size of the associated scholarship, the initiative aims to support more students in the future.
Hans Hack, Head of FTI Consulting’s Brussels office, said: “It’s the start of a journey. We appreciate that the challenge is much bigger than one programme, but it is important that EU public affairs agencies are part of the conversation and work together to address it.”
Kieran O’Keeffe, Partner at Dentons Global Advisors, added: “The focus in the EU Bubble is too often on ensuring we represent the 27 member states and not on reflecting the diversity of the societies within them.”
Andrew Cecil, CEO of BCW Brussels, added: “As part of the estimated 35,000 consultants working in Brussels, we have a responsibility to take tangible steps and turn talk into action. Our ambition is to grow this initiative, but we can only do this with more partners. The more organisations that join us, the more impactful this initiative will become, allowing us to award more scholarships in the future.”
Future applications will come from those applying to study at the College. The next opportunity will be for the academic year 2024/2025 and will be open from 12 October 2023 and close on 16 January 202
The College of Europe is the oldest and leading postgraduate institute of European studies.
Since 1949, it has trained over 17,000 high-level European affairs professionals through its different academic programmes.
It currently offers 6 master’s programmes across its two campuses in Bruges, Belgium and Natolin, Poland.
Nearly 500 students from over 60 nationalities are trained every year at the College of Europe.