European Neighborhood Policy Conference – Prague

by: Liza Valença

From Friday, February 22nd to Sunday, February 24th, ten Brandt School Students had the honor to attend an International Conference held in Prague about the European Neighborhood Policy ENP. The International Conference was an environment for rich discussion for students from the Brandt School, CEU Budapest, Charles University Prague, Metropolitan University Prague, and the University of Warsaw.

The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung played an essential role, not only with funding, but also organizing a well-provided and deep agenda of activities. The conference opened with an informal dinner, which was a great way for the participants, Professor Gert Weisskirchen and Professor Kazimierz Woycicki to get to know each other.

Saturday was full of activities, focusing on the subject of the Eastern Partnership. This topic was discussed in the morning in two simultaneous working groups – one covering “Expectations and Frustrations” and another about “Conflicts, Management and Transformation”. After those there was a plenary debate, in which each working group presented their main findings and questions.

In the afternoon the students had an introductory lecture by Professor Dr. Jaroslav Šonka – Director of the European Shoah Legacy Institute – about “Outside of the European Neighborhood Policy – historical, cultural and ecological matters”. The students had then the chance of focusing on one of the three mentioned topics covered in the introductory lecture in a working group and then presented their findings in an interactive and vivid plenary discussion.

On the last day of conference the main topic was “The way ahead” – the students had the pleasure to have an introductory lecture by Professor Eckart Stratenschulte about “European Neighborhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership Initiative – Findings and Outlook”. The following panel had, as during the previous day, very interesting presentations and a lively debate.

The interaction between the students from several countries and the fact that each one brought to the discussion their specific knowledge was crucial to make from this opportunity the fruitful conference that it was.