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Alumni Weekend 2013

The next Alumni Weekend will be held from 3 to 6 October. Please consult the programme and register for the events you would like to attend.


Alumni Weekend 2012


Report of the AA Executive Committee

From Thursday 4th October to Sunday 7th the EUI Alumni Association (AA) organised its Alumni Weekend, a central moment of the year when all Alumni are invited to gather in Florence. Since 2011, the Alumni Association worked with the President of the EUI to organise a long weekend specially for alumni, with the aim of making sure that the date did not clash with other events at the EUI and thereby devote full attention to Alumni come from all over the world. This year’s gathering was a success, and the AA plans to continue with this organisation. Next year, the Alumni weekend will again take place during the first weekend of October, from Thursday to Sunday. Below is a report of what was achieved this year. We list the new tasks for the association until October 2013.

On Thursday 4th the Association co-organised with the Academic service the careers’ day where Alumni working as professionals in private and public sectors outside of academia were invited to recount their experiences and give advice to interested researchers. We would like to publicly thank the following alumni for their contributions: Janós Volkai, WTO, Geneva; Catherine Saget, ILO, Geneva; Jutta Krause, FAO, Rome; Sophie Brune, RAND Corporation, Cambridge; Thomas Jorgensen, European University Association, Brussels; Fausto Caronna, Cleary Gottlieb, Rome; Robert Burmanjer, European Commission, Brussels; Izabella Cooper, FRONTEX, Warsaw; Svetlozar Andreev, Committee of the Regions, Brussels. Others were initially going to come but in the end could not; we hope to have them with us next year (Simon Bagshaw (UN, Geneva); Candido García Molyneux (Covington and Burling, Brussels); Rory Domm (European External Action Service, Delegation Washington). In the evening, we enjoyed a cocktail altogether, thereby facilitating informal discussion between the researchers and the speakers.

Friday 5th was the day for remembering. We recalled memories of the first years of the EUI with researchers who had been at the EUI between 1976-1980, invited specially to speak. This day was jointly organised with the Historical Archives of the European Union, which serve both as the official depositary of the archives of the European institutions and of some other fabulous private collections including the Tommaso Pado-Schioppa and EUI archives. The creation of the Working Group of the Friends of the Historical Archives of the European Union, which will serve to support the historical archives by helping the diffusion and valorisation of its audiovisual and paper archives, was created in the morning session. One of the conclusions of the meeting was that this working group could soon become an autonomous entity. There is also a strong interest on the part of the EUI Alumni, in particular from those interested in European integration, to be at the forefront of a valorisation of these archives, which will soon be transfered to a new building, Villa Salviati, where it will be possible to hold seminars, conferences and other activities. We would like to particularly thank their director, Jean-Marie Palayret, for his support. Also Professor Federico Romero, Professor specialised in European integration and international history, who also provided wise insights for the group which complemented those previously discussed by other guests. These included Professor Carlo Spagnolo, professor of history at University of Bari and former secretary of the Alumni Association; Paolo Ponzano, (Robert Schuman Fellow) who is currently responsible for following the official history of the European Commission on behalf of this institution, and Laurent Warlouzet, (former Jean Monnet Fellow), founder of the Richie network of young scholars of history of European integration. Others guests who were invited but were unable to come at the last minute, alumnus Antonio Varsori, vice-chairman of the EU Liaison Committee of Historians, former EUI Chairs of European integration Professor Richard Griffiths from Leiden University, and Kiran Patel at the University of Maastricht expressed their willingness to cooperate in future activities that will be defined before the end of this year for 2013, taking stock of the different proposals which were put forward by the public which included prestigious scholars from the first cohorts like Alumnae Marinella Neri Gualdesi, Valeria Fargion and Lea Campos Boralevi.

In the afternoon of Friday 9th, the floor was given to those present at the opening. This included former staff Ursula Brose from the academic service, professors Hans Daalder (SPS), Dietmar Nickel (Assistant LAW) and Pierre Salmon (ECON), and researchers Alan Hick (HEC). If none of the past presidents of the EUI managed to be with us we nonetheless counted with the privilege of hearing Niels Thygessen, professor of economics in Copenhagen, who for more than ten years was member of the High Council of the EUI. An additional privilege was the active contribution of the current director of the Robert Schuman Centre, Stefano Bartolini, who not only vividly recounted the cultural misunderstandings at the origins of the EUI, but also presented to his former fellows of 1977 the way the EUI has been evolving in the last ten years and how it may be evolving in the future. The event was introduced with a selection of historical pictures of the EUI history elaborated by Alumnus Niccolo Tognarini from the photographic collection of the Historical Archives. This event concluded with the presentation by the current Director of the Communication Service, Stephan Albrechtskirchinger, and his team for the new social network exclusively designed for Alumni. This new site will allow the EUI Alumni to interact with each other in order to enhance not only mutual knowledge but also possible cooperation and exchange of information, both professional and personal, in a confidential collaborative space. We thank Federico, Raul and Francesco for having done an extraordinary and committed job to design this site on time for our assembly. It is now up to the members of the Alumni Association, and first and foremost to us, the Executive Committee, to start making of it an active and attractive social network.

In the evening, a dinner was served in the Lower Loggia to the first cohorts of alumni- we were in total between 40-50 Alumni- to give everybody the opportunity to meet again. Just before, we held the general assembly of the Alumni Association where we presented our annual report and the state of finances, which were approved with unanimity. Indeed the state of finances is very good given the decisions taken to reallocate the AA’s budget to fund new activities, such as this weekend and Alumni chapters, and save money for the AA through partnerships and cost-reductions in the committee works. This year, the main question was the continuation of our Executive Committee or its replacement. We had decided to candidate again because we felt that we needed to complete many of the new projects and tools that are now available. We believe that we are in a moment of transition towards the upgrading of the membership, geographical scope and thematic focus of the activities of the association. To quit now would have put in danger the consolidation of new projects, which we had been sponsoring and pushing forward in the institution to have Alumni also included at the top of the EUI’s agenda. We were all of us reappointed and decided to keep the distribution of tasks that we had already had in the last two years and which have worked well. As in past years there were problems with e-voting and the posting of manifestos and we asked the sub-electoral committee of Alumni which manages the elections to see with the EUI computing service how this could be improved. What we would like to do for 2013-2014 is something is detailed in our annual report where we also give perspectives on future evolutions. All this will also be detailed through our social network. However suffice to say here that we have received requests to sponsor the creation of local chapters in major European and non-European cities and this is our main objective in the forthcoming year.

On Saturday we had again, like last year, the Alumni Conference, Europe(s) future(s) related to the present and future of European integration under the crisis. The level of the conference was again very high as we invited Alumni who are or have been in very strategic positions and have a well-documented reflection about where European integration is now and where it is going. While the contents of the conference are too broad to be summarised here, we can say that there was a strong contrast between those who saw the current crisis as an opportunity to advance European integration in some fields, such as economic governance, fiscal and banking union, and others who considered that the current dynamics will only lower popular legitimacy and stall the integration process if no democratic mechanisms to balance this impetus towards further transfers of sovereignty are put in place. On the social and political perspectives we had presentations by Catherine Saget, Senior Economist at the International Labour Organisation, Alan Hick, Director in the Directorate for Consultative Work at the European Social and Economic Committee of the EU and Svetlozar Andreev, official at the Forward Planning, Studies and Academic Networks unit of the Committee of the Regions, Brussels.  For international affairs we heard the contributions by Dietmar Nickel, former Director-General for External Policies of the EU at the European Parliament and Alexandre Stutzmann, diplomatic adviser in the cabinet of the President of the European Parliament. We concluded the session with two presentations by Paolo Ponzano, Adviser of EU Commissioner Sefcovic and Niels Thygessen, Professor of Economics and former member of the Delors Committee for economic and monetary union, which delivered respectively a legal and economic perspective on the future of the Euro and economic governance. The debate which followed each of the interventions was of great quality and only was missed the attendance of more scholars and researchers who in the EU are reflecting about European integration even if the aim of this conference is not to make another academic conference but to cross the views of alumni who are experiencing European integration as professionals in different public institutions or private organisations. We hope that a better communication would help to improve this exchange between current EUI and Alumni.

On Sunday, the last day of the Alumni weekend, we had a morning visit to the Medici’s Villa La Petraia guided by Laura Bechi from the EUI Staff who generously, like every year, shared with us her enthusiasm and deep knowledge of Tuscan art history. We warmly thank her and also Judith Przyrowski in charge of Alumni and Careers development in the academic service. Judith managed all the events with great patience and dedication, giving us the necessary support to make this 2012 Alumni Weekend a moment of comradeship and positive energies between different Alumni generations. We also received many messages of support from senior alumni, particularly from the staff, who would have loved to be with us in those days but could not due to previous appointments. We remind you that members of the AA are also researchers who have spent a minimum of 6 months at the EUI (Researchers, fellows, etc), and include staff and former professors. We hope that next year we may also involve these other potential members of our association as regular members, and be able to organise yet better our alumni weekend with activities that can also fit their interests.

See you in our new social network where you will be informed of forthcoming activities!

Zoe Bray, Vice-President of the EUI Alumni Association
Sigfrido Ramírez Pérez, President of the EUI Alumni Association

Page last updated on 17 August 2017

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