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New Beginnings - Editorial

Updated: Oct 23, 2018

by Marta Ubeda, Director, and Laura Mora, Head of Communications

As Laura and I stood staring at the still and resting gravestones during the Flanders Fields trip, we suddenly looked at each other and shared a silent gaze that spoke a million words. The kind of gaze you might share with someone whom you have just met, but whom you feel you have known forever.

“What were you about to say?”, I finally asked her. She took a couple of seconds to answer.

“It is devastating to realise that here rests a whole lost generation of young men, and that the world sometimes forgets about it”, she said with a mournful countenance. At that moment, I nearly choked on my own words.

“Laura”, I quickly answered, “I was about to say the exact same thing to you. And indeed”, I added, “we need to write about this for the launching of La Voix du Collège. We need to remind people that our generation should be determined to preserve the peace they lost their lives for”.

“I had that on my mind too, Marta”, she said to me while giving me that knowing smile again.

For me, this moment was a landmark display of a feeling that I am sure we have all had during the past few weeks at the College. That kind of silent, instant connection that flows through the thousands of interactions within the “bubble” every day. It is a feeling that I had never encountered before.

Laura, now duly appointed as our brilliant head of communications and a proud Andorran (a big small country, as she likes to call it), and I met on our second day at the College, and we have been talking about relaunching La Voix du Collège since our third day here. The more we talked about it, the more we realised how aligned our ideas and thoughts regarding the “soul” of La Voix were.

When we called the first meeting to search for editors, we arrived at the study room of Oude Zak early, and we joked with both excitement and fear that maybe no one would show up. And, after some time, when fear was starting to prevail over excitement, magic happened: we had that feeling once again, and the members of our outstanding team started to show up in the cosy study room of Oude Zak. Rita, who now is our magnificent British-Lebanese editor-in-chief; Francesco, our always elegant Italian editor; Tihomir, our big-hearted and sweet Bulgarian head of events and editor; Nathan, our French editor who keeps our feet on the ground; Alexandra and Inés, our hilarious French-Spanish editors who always cheer up the team; and Paula, our Spanish editor whose big brown eyes look gently into our souls.

In that first meeting, you could feel the anticipation and passion all over the room. We all wanted to truly enjoy this project, and we wanted to do it together. Conversation and consensus flowed smoothly, without effort.

“If it starts to stress us out, remember we are doing this to enjoy it – don’t forget that.” This was a sentence repeated often that evening.

Those feelings of excitement and anticipation continued to grow, as did our team. We were joined by a few more dedicated members: Paolo, our Italian web and photography manager and editor, who has poured his heart and time into this project since joining; Grégoire and Adil, our diligent Belgian editors who have brought a cheerful and bright light to the team; and last but not least, Anmol, our Indian-French editor, who did not hesitate to join despite her other commitments. With the appreciated support of others, such as Adriana and Giulio, our editorial family – it is still open to new members – was feeling more complete each day. The project, in a steady but constant movement, was starting to see the light.

We are absorbed in our project and committed to it. We work with purpose, and, most importantly together. We brainstorm creative ideas through hundreds of spontaneous WhatsApp and Facebook group posts, and we even get to enjoy informal, lighthearted (but totally productive!) meetings where laughs and ideas are in constant exchange.

Above all, though, we all share that same ideal that Laura and I had at the very beginning of the project: we want to be the real voice of the students, and we want to be a reflection of the magic that happens within this bubble that we now call home. We want La Voix to be a place that supports mutual understanding and enables the constructive exchange of ideas. We want you to share with us your expertise and commentary about academic issues, such as the latest developments in EU competition law, or current global and European affairs, such as climate change or the upcoming European elections; or your thoughts and experiences regarding l’esprit du Collège, other student associations, or even the best Italian takeaway in Bruges.

In this first online edition we have decided to focus on “new beginnings”. Why? For three main reasons. First of all, we are all at the beginning of a new academic year and at the first stage of many exciting projects – not only La Voix du Collège, but also Burst the Bubble, the College podcast, associations such as SAGE, and initiatives like Young Diplomats or TellUs (Energy), among many others. Secondly, we are really excited about re-launching and re-invigorating La Voix du Collège, maintaining the same spirit of former years but adapting it to the era of social media. So, La Voix goes online, although we will still print special editions. And last but not least, the European Union will face a crucial year in its history, with both Brexit and the European Union elections coming up. A new era for the EU could well be beginning.

In this first edition, you will find:

  • “Il y a un début à tout”, an article written by the founder of La Voix du Collège, Nathan de Arriba-Sellier

  • A tribute to Manuel Marín: “Not only the father of the Erasmus scheme but also a family man”, written by one of our editors, Paula Foces

  • An interview with Mr Antonio Tajani: “Europe is under attack. It’s time to defend our values”, by one of our editors, Francesco de Marzo, in partnership with our colleagues over at Burst the Bubble

  • An interview with Ms Michaela Šimáková, President of the Alumni Association, by one of our editors, Laura Mora: “The College made me who I am today”

  • An article about our promotion patron written by Daniel Diez, student representative of the Law programme: “Manuel Marín, promotion patron and European ‘Don Quixote’"

  • “Bine aţi venit, or welcome to the Moldovan-Romanian Society!”, written by Victoria Zuza and Corina Darii, students of the College

  • “My experience as an election observer in Bolivia”, by one of our editors, Tihomir Tsenkulovski

  • “Let's talk about songs”, an article about the College choir, written by Indre Krivaite, a College student

  • “European Dream”, written by Simone Possenti, a College student

  • “Sonnet No. 20”, by College student Brendan Rooney

  • “What is the ‘spirit of the College’ Twitter initiative?”, by its promoter, Sebastien Willemart, IRD student

We have eight and a half months to go and during that time, once more, as it has been done since 2015, the editorial team of La Voix du Collège is here to help you raise your voice.

To close, I want to refer to something that Ms Michaela Šimáková, current President of the College of Europe Alumni Association, shared with Laura when she interviewed her for this first edition. “The College made me who I am today. It empowered me”.

So, let us play our small part in bringing out the best of our community, in sharing it with the rest of the world.

Yours sincerely,

Marta and Laura

New Beginnings - Issue n. 1, 22 October 2018


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