Tag Archives: Europe

Amery Sanders, LGBTI Rights at European Parliament

Amery Sanders is a MAIR student focusing on human rights.

From May 25th through July 14th, I lived and worked in Brussels as part of Syracuse University’s Public Diplomacy program.  While not a Public Diplomacy student myself—I’m a graduate student pursuing the MA International Relations (MAIR) degree—I chose the Brussels program for its abundance of opportunities in my interest areas of human rights, diplomacy, and international NGO work.  I was incredibly fortunate enough to secure an internship at the Brussels seat of the European Parliament, one of the three core legislative institutions of the European Union.  I served as a trainee in the office of dynamic Finnish MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen.

Amery Sanders’ last day at work, below the third-floor bridge of the EU Parliament bearing the official institutional logo

I reached out to MEP Pietikäinen’s office because of her work in the leadership of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, a coordinated cross-party effort by MEPs to advance and support the rights of LGBTI people.  As a queer graduate student with a professional and academic focus in international transgender human rights, securing a place in her office meant I was able to work right at the heart of the European Union’s LGBTI-centric activities while also gaining in-depth understanding of EU institutional and legislative work.

During my seven weeks in Brussels, I split my time between doing administrative work for the MEP, working with Intergroup Secretariat Juliette Sanchez-Lambert, and doing research around the MEP’s special interest areas of queer freedom of movement, employment discrimination, partner and family rights, health care discrimination, and asylum rights.  I attended Parliament events around LGBTI issues and was privileged to be able to attend the 7th European Transgender Council, an annual conference hosted by TGEU, the largest transnational member organization of transgender activists in Europe.  Over the course of the internship I worked to develop a reference packet on individual LGBTI topics, to be used by MEPs and other officials as a resource guide in the lead up to the 2019 parliamentary elections.  Of especial significance to me personally, I was asked to give critical feedback on the Fundamental Rights Agency’s EU LGBT Survey; my critiques and suggestions were taken to a Vienna meeting to help determine the structure and content of the next version of the survey.

Materials from the 7th European Transgender Council, including their Strategic Plan, self-critical Anti-Activity Report, policy supporting sex workers, and guide for working with the United Nations

Brussels was a city both beautiful and politically complex, and I was deeply satisfied by my time there—by the work I was able to do, the connections I was able to make, and the knowledge I was able to gain.  I feel like I was able to get exactly the glimpse “behind the curtain” of transnational LGBTI-centric rights work that I have heretofore been unable to access.  It’s re-energized me in a way I could only have hoped for, and which I think will serve me well as I go forward in my academics and my career.

Exterior view of the European Parliament building in Brussels–or at least one small corner of it!

Public Diplomacy Internships in Brussels Program

Maxwell’s MAIR Degree

Kevin Oswald Explores European Energy Diversity at Student Conference

Kevin Oswald is a recent alumni of the Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree program, completing an MAIR degree from the Maxwell School and an MPP from the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. He also completed internships at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Washington D.C. and Agora Energiewende in Berlin during his studies.

Kevin Oswald at ESC 2018

From March 29 to 31, 2018 I had the opportunity to participate in the European Student Conference (ESC) 2018 at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. ESC is a conference organized by European Horizons that brought together 100 undergraduate and graduate students from universities across the United States, Europe and Asia with distinguished academics and seasoned policy-makers in order to address some of the challenges confronting the European Union.Prior to the conference, students from different parts of the world and with different academic backgrounds, had been divided into groups, according to their knowledge and interests, in order to deal with the following challenges in six workshops related to: Energy, Technology, EU-China, Democracy, National Sovereignty and Security. Each group then made an effort to develop policy recommendations with regard to their topic and during the conference those proposals by the students were discussed with decision-makers and renowned academics. This year, ESC hosted representatives from business, politics and diplomacy, such as the former President of the European Parliament, Enrique Barón Crespo, as well as several academics from US universities.

Enrique Barón Crespo at ESC 2018 speaking during the opening session in the auditorium of Yale University

As a student enrolled in the transatlantic ATLANTIS dual-degree Master program in International Relations and Public Policy offered by the Maxwell School and the Hertie School of Governance, I am particularly interested in foreign and security policy as well as in energy and climate policy. Therefore, I took part in the energy workshop and together with fellow students worked on the issue of the EU’s dependency on energy imports, particularly natural gas, in order to meet its demand. Given the fact that a high proportion of imports is concentrated among relatively few partners, the security of the EU’s natural gas supplies may be threatened. Our team provided a solid analysis of the status quo and presented several policy recommendations with the primary goals to diversify supply sources (new pipelines, interconnectors, LNG etc.) and to utilize soft tools, which, for instance, might require setting up an EU Energy Diplomacy Task Force to deal with delicate pipeline projects such as Nord Stream 2.

I was impressed with the expertise and dedication of our group and look forward to seeing our recommendations being published in the Review of European and Transatlantic Affairs, a journal that will be distributed to university libraries across Europe and the U.S., as well as to European decision-makers.

In sum, ESC 2018 has been a wonderful experience and I truly enjoyed the opportunity to work with fellow students that all have a passion for the EU. In addition, I hope to become part of the international ESC network that links thinkers and leaders from both sides of the Atlantic and beyond.

Energy Working Group at ESC 2018

Kevin Oswald Interns at the German Embassy in Washington, DC

Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree Program

The Maxwell School

The Hertie School of Governance

Liad Roytfarb Gains European Experience in Berlin

Liad Roytfarb is a 2018 graduate of the Atlantis Program – a dual degree program between The Maxwell School and The Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. 

This fall I embarked on my second Masters degree program as part of the ‘Atlantis’ Transatlantic Dual Degree program. This is a joint program, shared between the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Germany. Following an incredible experience in Maxwell, I expected the transition to Berlin to be a daunting experience, but one I was keen to face in order to further expand my academic horizons.

Liad Roytfarb.

Three aspects in this transition have made this experience incomparable to any degree program I could have taken, offered by other schools. First, the diversity of the coursework offered at Hertie very successfully complements the Maxwell MAIR program, which focuses mainly on the US. In keeping with the nature of the Atlantis program, I pursued a Masters in Public Policy at Hertie, and the coursework offered there was naturally mostly EU focused. It presented opportunities to study with international authorities, including former German Ambassador to the US Wolfgang Ischinger and Former Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion at the European council László Andor. Since my background is from neither of these regions, this was a great and fascinating mix of two new worlds.

Second, the Hertie School, together with the city of Berlin, offer many professional opportunities. I was lucky enough to be invited to the 2017 World Health Summit where I attended numerous panels. Furthermore, I was assigned as a rapporteur in the “Global Health Security Engagement in Conflict” workshop and reported directly to the chairs of the workshop. Other fascinating events and workshops that I was able to attend included Transparency International and the Munich Security Council. All these enabled me to meet and learn from important policy makers and engage with topics I learned in the classroom.

Liad Roytfarb at the 2017 World Health Summit.

Third, of no lesser importance for my personal satisfaction was the fact that throughout this journey I was part of a group of eight students; together we completed an intensive, fruitful and enjoyable year at Syracuse and went on together to Berlin. Without these fellow students, this entire experience would surely have looked different, at least in the social sphere. The camaraderie we formed has been astonishing – it enabled us all a swift and smooth transition, and an unforgettable experience.

Liad Roytfarb Works in Technology Accelerator at DoD

Atlantis Program at Maxwell

Jason Pandich Works on US-European Trade Issues in DC

Jason Pandich is a current MAIR/MA in Economics joint degree candidate at The Maxwell School. This past fall he participated in the Maxwell-in-Washington program, interning at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States.

This fall I participated in the Maxwell-in-Washington program and had the opportunity to spend the semester interning at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States in their trade section. This internship provided me the opportunity to merge two things I am deeply interested in: the European Union (EU) and international trade. I’ve been interested with the EU ever since I took a class dedicated to it when I was in undergrad so the opportunity for me to work there was an amazing experience.

The trade section at the Delegation is made up of thirteen people who each have their own portfolio of issues they deal with. I was one of three interns this fall but I was the only one there full time which gave me the opportunity to work with everyone in the section on wide range of issues. My primary tasks were reporting on Congressional hearings, think tank events, and other activities around Washington. I covered topics ranging from sex trafficking to the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality to 21st century trade barriers to how to educate a cyber workforce to Brexit. In addition to covering events I was able to work closely with the person in charge of agricultural issues. The ability to work closely on agricultural issues inspired me to choose an issue I heard about in my internship as the focus of a paper I wrote for one of my classes. One of the most important things I assisted with was the compilation of data on EU imports of agricultural products to see how much was coming from the United States in an effort to figure out what products the US might be prevented from supplying to the EU due to non-tariff barriers. I also had the opportunity to attend meetings of member states which allowed me to see firsthand how the 28 EU member states coordinate with the European Commission to pursue common objectives within another country.

The Delegation of the European Union to the United States.

Overall my experience at the Delegation of the European Union was extremely rewarding. It gave me the opportunity to learn about a wide range of topics that I was previously unfamiliar with and allowed me to get an understanding of how the EU looks to work with the United States. My internship also gave me the opportunity to plan and attend an olive oil tasting event which is something I had never thought about but will never forget.

Maxwell-in-Washington Program

Other global programs at the Maxwell School

Ashleigh Bartlett, Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg

Ashleigh Bartlett is a Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree student. She will complete a Master of Arts in International Relations from the Maxwell School and a Master of Public Policy from the Hertie School of Governance in Germany. Ashleigh is currently in her second year of studies in Berlin. She completed her internship as part of the Summer Internships in Strasbourg program.

Ashleigh Bartlett

This summer, I had the privilege to intern with the Pompidou Group at the Council of Europe for two months in Strasbourg, France, through the SU Abroad Strasbourg program.

The Pompidou Group was formed in 1971 and is the Council of Europe’s Co-operation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs. The core mission of the Pompidou Group is to contribute to the development of multidisciplinary, innovative, effective and evidence-based drug policies in its member states. It achieves this mission by linking policy, practice, and science in various areas, including drug supply and demand reduction, treatment, gender, incarceration, trafficking, and cybercrime. The Pompidou Group provides a forum for debate on these issues by hosting seminars and conferences, conducting research, providing training, and forming working groups with experts from member states and organizations. It is also an enlarged partial agreement within the Council of Europe, which means non-Council member states are able to join the Pompidou Group. Currently, there are 39 member states of the Pompidou Group, as well as the European Commission. Additional states are involved in specific activities of the Pompidou Group, such as the Mediterranean Network.

During my internship, I worked closely with two supervisors in the Pompidou Group Secretariat, the Principal Administrator of the Secretariat and the Head of Unit for Research, Mediterranean Cooperation, and Gender. My tasks were varied and depended upon the needs of the Group. Some of my work included conducting research and writing background documents on other organizations, drafting and editing presentations and publications, writing statements for the website, and compiling meeting reports.

Highlights of my internship include attending the Airports Group meeting on anti-trafficking efforts in European airports and attending a seminar on Women and Drugs in Rome, Italy. Both of these meetings allowed me to observe the work of the Pompidou Group in action, particularly in the areas of international cooperation and information-sharing. Though I was only an attendee for the Airports Group meeting, I was actively involved in the preparation and follow-up for the Rome seminar.

Through my tasks and in working with my supervisors and others in the Pompidou Group, I have a newfound appreciation for intergovernmental organizations and their difficult task of promoting international cooperation among states that may have competing interests and priorities. Given my own interests in international cooperation and security issues, it was especially interesting to see how the Pompidou Group promotes human rights in their work and within their member states, as well as how human rights are implemented in various security and health policies.

Living in Strasbourg, France for the summer was fantastic. Through the SU Abroad program, I was placed with a host family, which was a great experience. The city is beautiful and I was able to explore the unique Alsace region of France, practicing French and enjoying the local culture. I took advantage of Strasbourg’s proximity to other countries several times and travelled to various cities in Germany and Italy. I look forward to applying what I have learned this summer to my future studies and career.

Council of Europe

Summer Internships in Strasbourg

SU Strasbourg

Rachel Coolican,”There was much for me to learn about OSD Policy and the inner workings of the Pentagon.”

Ms. Rachel Coolican is a recent graduate of the MAIR program, and spent her last fall semester interning with the European & NATO Policy Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.

Pantagon Intern name plate of Rachel Coolican
Pentagon name plate

During the Fall 2015 semester, I had the honor and privilege of interning with OSD EUR/NATO Policy at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Within the office, I worked specifically with “Team North-West Europe” and directly supported the Desk Officers of the Nordic Portfolio covering Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Denmark.

As a subset of the International Security Affairs division within OSD Policy, Europe and NATO Policy assists the ISA’s Assistant Secretary of Defense (Ms. Elissa Slotkin) in her mission to manage defense relations with all foreign governments and international organizations within the office’s jurisdiction. This includes developing and maintaining: regional security and defense strategies, subsequent functional policies, foreign military sales, education and training, and comprehensive relationships with multilateral, regional, and bilateral partners.

As I mentioned, throughout my time in EUR/NATO, I assisted with all duties performed by desk officers on the North and West Europe team to develop strategies and policies with our Nordic Allies. This included: organizing and supporting meetings between senior Department of Defense (DoD) and European officials; planning and implementing an annual bilateral studies group meeting that set the coming year’s goals for advancing security; routinely interacting with relevant embassy counterparts in Washington and abroad; providing policy analysis to senior DoD officials regarding current events; constructing various written preparatory deliverables to senior leadership; attending inter-agency meetings and crafting after-action reports; and providing any requested support to the ASD of ISA, the USD for Policy, and Secretary Carter himself.

There was much for me to learn about OSD Policy and the inner workings of the Pentagon. This internship was great because I was able to work with passionate and trusting teammates and supervisors, who allowed me to do substantial work for senior leadership in order to get the full experience of being a desk officer.  My favorite part of the internship was being able to attend a myriad of meetings that focused on current events (one being with Deputy Secretary of Defense, Bob Work!) and building strong personal relationships with foreign embassy counterparts. These things allowed me to become more knowledgeable in U.S. strategic planning, and how the DoD works with partners to advance U.S. goals at the betterment of our partners. This will be a professional experience that I will never forget, and I now have a network of colleagues and friends who I know I will be in touch with for years to come!

Rachel Coolican(Maxwell MAIR Student Headshots 2014)
Rachel Coolican
Pentagon
The Pentagon with Washington, DC in the background.

Learn more about the Maxwell-in-Washington program