Ramona Coman, President of the Institute for European Studies (IEE-ULB), Emmanuelle Bribosia, Vice-President, and Nicolas Verschueren, Director, began by warmly welcoming the students in the Institute’s garden and introducing them to their new academic home, both an interdisciplinary research centre and a teaching establishment, as well as place of gathering to debate about EU affairs and EU studies.
Established in 1963 by Walter Ganshof van der Meersch, it was not officially inaugurated until 1964 by Paul-Henri Spaak, who was Prime Minister of Belgium on several occasions. The Institut d’études européennes of the Université libre de Bruxelles became one of the first academic centres of its kind in Western Europe.
Since then, in a superb villa designed in 1928 by the architect Adrien Blomme, and located at number 39 Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, the Institute has welcomed, taught and seen flourish more than 7,500 students from more than forty different countries. “They have learned about the European Union, made friends, met husbands and wives, organised parties in the garden and in our three classrooms, stressed before taking an exam and celebrated small and great achievements…” said IEE President and Alumna, Professor Ramona Coman.
Today, the Institute counts a number of illustrious alumni such as Eliane Vogel-Polsky, Belgian lawyer, Professor at the ULB and ardent defender of women’s rights; Clara Martinez Alberola, former Head of Cabinet of Jean-Claude Juncker (President of the European Commission), Maria Eugenia Martins Nazare Ribeiro, judge at the Court of First Instance as well as two former European Commissioners, Pedro Solbes and Dimitris Avramopoulos. Its classrooms have also hosted Pedro Sanchez, Spanish Prime Minister, Jo Johnson, British Conservative politician who has been Minister of State on several occasions, Paul Magnette, Mayor of Charleroi and President of the Belgian Socialist Party and many others!
Our Alumni community is very active. This Summer, a group of committed former students got together to form the first Alumni Co-Presidency, a project that will infuse the network with renewed energy for the next six months.
Our associations bring meaning to student life
This welcome ceremony was also an opportunity for our student associations to introduce themselves, namely SAIES, Eyes on Europe and SPECQUE, and to show our newcomers the possibilities that the active associative life offers at the IEE. All of them are recruiting at the beginning of the year, so don’t hesitate to check their different pages on social networks and join them, or simply participate in the different events they organise throughout the year.
After an information session on the Master’s programmes in European studies, our students were able to enjoy our sunny garden and picnic together, talk to their professors, get acquainted with the IEE student associations and simply meet each other.
Once again, we welcome and wish all our students the best for the coming academic year!