Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A trip to DC to discuss the future of Europe

SAIS can help open doors to an impressive range of experiences.

Earlier this month, SAIS students Selim Koru and Martha Simms traveled to Washington, DC to attend a conference hosted by the Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University. During the two-day conference they presented a research paper to a panel. More on their experience below.

Martha and Selim
We got involved with the Georgetown Center for German and European Studies (CGES) Conference through the SAIS European Studies department and their network of graduate-level opportunities in European affairs.

We already had the idea of combining our concentrations (Martha’s in European Studies and Selim’s in Middle Eastern Studies) and developing economics skills in a paper on U.S. and EU economic policies towards the Middle East/North African region.

When this opportunity appeared in our inboxes, we realized we could edit our draft to fit the bill.

Georgetown later contacted us about presenting our paper in their graduate student conference on the future of Europe, and the opportunity seemed too good to pass up.

Thanks to generous support from both the European Studies and Middle East Studies departments, we were able to make the trek to DC during the first week of the semester.

The conference took place on Friday and Saturday, ending with a dinner for all participants. It was entirely student-run and included participants from the U.S. and Europe.

Key note speaker João Vale de Almeida, the EU ambassador to the United States, gave a solid opening lecture on the continuing importance of the EU.

Students’ topics covered everything from financial regulation to European identity.

We were among the younger participants. Many of the others were PhD students at the beginning of their graduate work and presented preliminary research.

It was the first time either one of us had spoken on a panel, but it went surprisingly smoothly. The audience seemed very excited about our ideas and gave us great feedback.

We flew back to Bologna Sunday night, just in time for Monetary Theory with Professor Taddei at 8:30 am on Monday.

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