Graduation at the Grande-Place

At the initiative of the City of Brussels, and in coordination with the ULB and the VUB, the students of the two universities in the heart of the city were able to conclude a complex academic year in a dreamy setting.

Vice-rector Judith Le Maire led the academic procession. The academic body of the IEE was represented by its President, Ramona Coman; its Vice-president, Emmanuelle Bribosia and its Director, Nicolas Verschueren.

« Time to begin »

Speech by IEE President Professor Ramona Coman:

Mr Mayor of the City of Brussels, Philippe Close,

Madam Vice-Rector of the Free University of Brussels, Judith Le Maire,

Dear colleagues, members of the academic, scientific and administrative body,

Dear new graduates in European studies,

Dear relatives and friends,

Since the opening of its doors in 1963, our Institute for European Studies has contributed to the training of more than 7,500 graduates, from all over the world, that have come, attracted by this city – Brussels – capital of Europe as it is so often called – and which welcomes us this evening on its splendid Grand-Place for this exceptional graduation ceremony.

For us, representatives of the Institute of European Studies, being at the Grand-Place this evening is quite a symbol. As you probably know, historically this place has known so many tragic moments, thus recalling the divisions of the continent since the Middle Ages, as well as many moments of hope. In this same Square, several intellectuals imagined a united continent and a better worl. It was Victor Hugo, exiled here in Brussels, who declared during the Peace Congress in Paris in 1849:

“a day will come when you France, you Russia, you Italy, you England, you Germany, all of you, nations of the continent, without losing your qualities and your glorious individuality, you will closely merge in a higher unity and you will build European fraternity “.

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“A day will come …” announced Victor Hugo in his time, but it took another 100 years and the continent’s devastation by two deadly and brutal world wars for the project of European unification he had envisioned to take shape.

Our Institute for European Studies was established shortly after the birth of the three European Communities. Since its founding, 56 classes have followed one another, united in their intellectual curiosity to understand the emergence and development of this major political project of which Victor Hugo dreamed, this European integration project, celebrated or contested from its origins and inhabited by many political, economic, legal and social challenges.

This evening, ladies and gentelmen, we celebrate our 57th class

And this class bears the name of Daphné Caruana Galizia.

By choosing her name, our graduates wanted to pay tribute to the Maltese investigative journalist murdered in 2017 after highlighting numerous corruption scandals in her country.

By honoring her memory, our graduates have chosen a symbol, a symbol of the struggle for press freedom, for justice and for the rule of law, values ​​at the heart of our democracies, brought to the test today all over the world. Her assassination is a reminder of the dangers journalists face in their quest for truth, transparency and independence.

We salute her courage and pay tribute to her work.

Dear new graduates of the IEE,

May the defense of these values ​​guide you all in this new phase of your life which begins today and which we are celebrating in an unprecedented way in the very heart of the city this evening.

We – members of the academic, scientific and administrative bodies of the IEE – are particularly proud to have been able to accompany you during your studies, to have been able to share with you our questions and our doubts to find together the keys to understanding the complex world in which we live, strongly disrupted this academic year by the COVID-19 health crisis.

We hope that this jounrney and the multicultural and multilingual environment which characterizes Brussels and our IEE will have brought you intellectual enrichment, on which you can build your professional future.

From today on, you are part of this great community of Europeanists of the IEE and are professionals of Europe capable of using your academic background as an informed, critical and responsible actor.

You deserve our warm and sincere congratulations for having successfully completed an important stage in your professional training.

We hope that this year with us has allowed you to meet new friends and that you will keep this “esprit de corps” that has united you during your studies.

We also hope that you will return to us, as IEE Alumni, and participate in our future activities.

This end of the 2019-2020 academic year is just a new beginning for you, a step towards the professional world, here in Brussels or elsewhere.

And if I understood correctly the message of the music chosen for this festivity

 « you don’t want to leave this town

cause after all,

this city never sleeps at night».

It’s time to begin, isn’t ?

It’s time to begin indeed!

And we wish you a career and a professional life in line with your aspirations and interests!

On behalf of all members of the IEE, we warmly congratulate you.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Emmanuelle Bribosia, our Vice-President, Nicolas Verschueren, our Director and myself, would like to send our sincere thanks

  • A la Ville de Bruxelles et à Philippe Close, Bourgmestre, pour nous avoir permis de célébrer nos diplômé.e.s au centre de la capitale de la Belgique, centre de pouvoir des institutions européennes
  • Aux autorités de l’ULB qui ont initié ce projet de proclamation inédite
  • A tous les membres du corps académique, scientifique et administratif ici présents ou avec nous en pensées – qui cette année ont dû faire preuve d’une grande créativité afin de faire face aux difficultés de la crise sanitaire
  • Merci infiniment aux associations étudiantes – SAIES et Eyes on Europe – qui ont prêté ce soir main forte pour la bonne organisation de cet événement. Vous êtes l’illustration parfaite de cet esprit de communauté qui nous est si cher à l’IEE.
  • Merci au personnel administratif de l’IEE et tout particulièrement à Françoise Van Den Broeck, Michela Arcarese, Dominique Dembour, Olga Minampala et Marie Thérèse Teixeira.
  • Un remerciement tout particulier à Aurélie Rousseau, la Directrice de communication de l’ULB et à son équipe ainsi qu’à notre très chère Maria-Isabel Soldevila, Directrice de communication de l’IEE, sans lesquelles cette cérémonie n’aurait pas eu lieu.
  • To the City of Brussels and to Philippe Close, its Mayor, for allowing us to celebrate our graduates in the center of the capital of Belgium, center of power of the European institutions
  • To the ULB authorities who initiated the project for this unprecedented graduation ceremony.
  • To all the members of the academic, scientific and administrative bodies here present or with us in their thoughts- who this year had to show great creativity in order to face the difficulties of the health crisis
  • Thank you very much to the student associations – SAIES and Eyes on Europe – who lent a hand this evening for the good organization of this event. You are the perfect illustration of that community spirit that is so dear to us at the IEE.
  • Thanks to the administrative staff of the IEE and especially to Françoise Van Den Broeck, Michela Arcarese, Dominique Dembour, Olga Minampala and Marie Thérèse Teixeira.
  • A special thank you to Aurélie Rousseau, Communication Officer & Institutional Events Coordinator at ULB and her team as well as to our very dear Maria-Isabel Soldevila, Communication Director of the IEE, without whom this ceremony would not have taken place.

And finally, allow us to thank your parents and friends, all of you here, for sharing our joy and for applauding once again, very loudly, our 57th class in European studies 2019-2020, which bears the name of Daphné Caruana Galizia.

To all of you, we wish you the best of journeys and good luck!

See you soon, dear new IEE Alumni.

September 30, 2020
Grande-Place, Brussels