Aiming at expanding their horizons and deepen their understanding of European Union institutions and policies, 16 students from diverse majors at Deree-Τhe American College of Greece (ACG) recently participated in a 4-day educational trip to Brussels, Belgium. Organized by the ACG Office of Public Affairs, with the academic support of Prof. Constantinos Filis, Director of the ACG Institute of Global Affairs, and IREA Prof. Nikolaos Lampas, the trip provided a unique opportunity for students to witness firsthand the inner workings of key European institutions and meet high-level officials. Students were exposed to presentations on diplomacy and European politics, migration, international alliances, climate change, Brexit and current wars, as well as Greece’s position in the Organizations.
The ACG group visited the European Commission, where they met with Vice President Margaritis Schinas after getting an overview of the structure and the mission of the European Commission, along with a brief on the EU’s energy policy. Subsequently, the Brussels correspondent of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT), Athens-Macedonian News Agency and To Vima newspaper, Eirini Zarkadoula, offered them an overview of how news is produced and reported in the European capital.
The students also visited Greece’s Permanent Representations to the European Union and to NATO. The Permanent Representative of Greece to the EU, Ambassador Ioannis Vrailas, provided them with valuable insights into Greece’s role within the European Union. The day continued with an exploration of career opportunities at NATO, followed by an overview of the current top issues offered by the Deputy Permanent Representative of Greece to NATO, Ambassador Gaspar Vlachakis, who traced the journey from Vilnius to Washington Summits, providing a comprehensive perspective on NATO’s evolving role.
The educational journey concluded with a guided tour of the European Parliament, offered by MEP Elisa Vozemberg‘s officers. The tour allowed students to gain insight into the representations of member-states and the legislative processes of the European Parliament.
As Deree students who participated, Victoria Charalampidi and Dionysis Xygakis commented, “This was an immersive experience which broadened our horizons and helped us understand international relations through the eyes of the Greek representation in the heart of Europe.”
The American College of Greece remains committed to fostering a global mindset among its students and to continue providing enriching educational experiences beyond the classroom. In this context, the Office of Public Affairs is already planning for next year’s trips, both to the European Institutions, as well as to the Delphi Economic Forum 2024.