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EU-African Affairs at the College of Europe

by Kiese-Deborah Illmann, Co President of the EU-African Affairs Society (European Political and Governance Studies – Manuel Marín Promotion), Gauthier Schefer, Co President of the EU-African Affairs Society (European Political and Governance Studies – Manuel Marín Promotion), Clément Uwayo, Co President of the EU-African Affairs Society (European Legal Studies – Manuel Marín Promotion)

It is undisputed that African affairs have become a hot topic in EU’s agenda. One can refer to the pressing problems on migration, China’s increasing influence in Africa or even the renewed partnership with ACP countries as announced by President Juncker during his State of the Union Address. Accordingly, it was remarkable to see that amongst the wide range of activities offered at the College, there was not much attention given to African affairs, even though many of my fellow students seemed to be interested in the topic. As a result, Kiese-Deborah, Gauthier and I had the idea to set up an EU-African affairs society.

Together, we established the society with two main goals. Firstly, we aim to spread knowledge and raise awareness of EU-African Affairs. Secondly, we plan to build a network with high-level officials. In addition, we also intend to organise casual cultural events in order to keep the society enjoyable and fun.

We hope to achieve these goals by organising conferences and students’ discussion gatherings, addressing topics such as the African Union, the EEAS, development, trade, cultural heritage, security, African politics and human rights. In that respect, we plan to invite speakers from the EU institutions, NGOs and lobby groups. We also plan to organise an alumni day in Brussels to gather high-level figures in an informal setting. Lastly, we would like to organise an excursion to the Africa Museum in Tervuren which, after five years of renovation, will soon be re-opened and will present a contemporary and decolonised vision of Africa.

Clément, Kiese-Deborah, Gauthier

Within our team we all have different backgrounds which I believe enriches the project that we have launched. Kiese-Deborah is a student in the POL department. She studied Law and European politics at the University of Strasbourg. She previously did an internship at a lobbying firm specializing in the relationship between the EU and Africa. She is convinced that European policies have a profound impact on African states, who are often absent in the decision-making process. Thus, she would like to be a lobbyist in this field to defend the interests of African states and companies to the European institutions.

Gauthier is a student in the POL department and has a previous background in African politics. He holds a master’s degree in African Studies from the Sorbonne University in Paris. When he was working in Uganda and Paris, he mainly focused on land and agriculture and wrote a master’s thesis on the overlap of NGO and political sectors in Western Uganda. Moreover, he worked in Ghana in a music company promoting contemporary African music from the whole continent. He came to the College with the idea of sharpening his knowledge in European affairs with the objective to build a career in the field of European-African affairs. He is interested in many questions regarding the relationship between both continents, mainly in trade, agriculture and environmental issues.

I am a student in the law department and previously I studied law at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. I have always been interested in African affairs and mainly in issues regarding politics in Sub-Saharan Africa which I have been following continuously. With the society, I mainly intend to gain more knowledge on the relationship between the EU and Africa.

As you have reached the end of my small contribution to this excellent journal, I hope that you also feel the urge to grow and develop your knowledge of EU-African affairs and attend our events! See you soon!

The more, the merrier - Issue n. 2, 9 November 2018


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