GT in the EU

An extraordinary education

Author: Jarrod Hayes (Page 2 of 2)

Week 3: EEAS and CEPS

Week 3 of our time in Europe has seen some more excellent site visits.  On Monday, the students visited the European External Action Service (EEAS).  As the EU’s proto-foreign service, the EEAS manages external relations where the EU has a foreign policy competency.  The students got excellent briefings providing an overview of EU-US relations, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and cybersecurity.

Students hear from EU staff first hand on the most pressing foreign policy issues confronting the EU

As usual, the students asked some very astute questions, and the staff providing the briefings ranged far and wide over the subject area as our students explored the complicated terrain of EU policy.  This third week also represents an inflection point of sorts, as the students start to bring together the various threads they have been exposed to in class and in past briefings to begin to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the EU.

This ‘synthetic moment’ (as in synthesize, not fake) was very apparent as the students took briefings at the Centre for European Policy Studies on the issue of climate change.  Everything from TTIP to Ukraine to industrial espionage factored into the students’ questions as they sought to make sense of one of the EU’s signature policy areas.

Students and faculty briefed on an EU signature policy area: Climate Change

Tomorrow the students will have even more exposure to the issue as our own Assistant Professor Janelle Knox-Hayes will give a lecture on the history and operation of the EU Emissions Trading System.

Students meet General Philip Breedlove, SACEUR

On Saturday, May 24, the students and faculty returned to SHAPE, but this time the host was General Philip Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Georgia Tech alum (Civil Engineering, 1977).  As befitting their host, the students got a detailed briefing from the general and his senior officers on the system (called the Comprehensive Crisis and Operations Management Centre) NATO has developed to assess and manage threats within Europe, the North Atlantic, Mediterranean, North Africa, Middle East and part of Asia. 

Briefing from General Philip Breedlove, SACEUR

Afterward, the students and faculty joined General Breedlove as well as dignitaries from Georgia Tech—including President Bud Peterson, Provost Raphael Bras, Executive Vice President for Research Steve Cross, Vice President for International Development Marta Garcia, Dean of Engineering Gary May, Nunn School Director Joe Bankoff, and Chair of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Reginald DesRoches—for a reception in the SHAPE Officer’s Club.


General Breedlove and President Peterson speak to students, faculty, and administrators


There, General Breedlove devoted the entire reception to talking with our students, and our students took every advantage of the opportuntity.


After the reception, General Breedlove made it very clear how impressed he was with our undergrads and the direction and development of the Nunn School.  Our students  represented themselves and the program very well indeed.  General Breedlove is Georgia Tech through and through, and his pride in GT and his home department (Civil and Environmental Engineering) was a treat to witness.

Some students also took the opportunity to meet with President Peterson.

In all, an amazing experience for students and faculty alike, and certainly one for a lifetime.


Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

On Wednesday, the students visited the military side of NATO: Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE).

Students and faculty at SHAPE with Lt. Colonel Ochyra

Along the way we passed the historic Waterloo battlefield.

Waterloo in passing on the bus to SHAPE

The headquarters was originally in Paris, but when France withdrew from NATO unified command in 1966, the headquarters moved Mons, Belgium, where it remains today.  We were hosted by two excellent officers: Lt. Colonel Claus Richter (Germany, middle of photo) and Lt. Colonel Miroslaw Ochyra (Poland, right side of photo).  The students also heard from Commander Krasimir Kiranov of the Bulgarian Navy (left side of photo).  The students had a very rich experience, with briefings from a range of officers on a number of aspects on the military side of NATO.  As usual in these types of situations, we cannot provide any further details on what the officers discussed.

Students have a chance to question officers at SHAPE

Welcome to GT in the EU

Welcome to GT in the EU.  This is the official blog of the only Georgia Tech study abroad program focused on the European Union.  Headed by Professor Vicki Birchfield, GT in the EU  is an extraordinary 10-week program that gives students a hands on knowledge of Europe and the EU through a stunning range of experiential activities.  Students travel to Brussels, Paris, Berlin, and Metz.  There they meet with government officials, EU policy makers and representatives from NGOs and corporationswhile living with host families that give student participants unparalleled exposure to local culture.  In addition, students earn credits for 4 courses: European institutions, EU/US relations, European Security, and human rights in Europe.  Here we post blog entries from our faculty and students reflecting on an amazing experience.

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