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CIFE - Testimonials from our former students


CIFE - Testimonials from our Former Students

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  Federico Bonadonna, Italy, EUDIPLO 2022/23, Administrative Agent, DG NEAR, European Commission

I owe a significant part of my current professional position to the EUDIPLO course.
This Master guarantees a truly transformative educational journey, combining the practitioners’ cross-cutting expertise with the experience of living in three different European cities.

If you take advantage of all the opportunities that it provides, EUDIPLO is the best choice for a European/international career.

   Julius Wiebe, Germany, GEGPA 2021/22, Senior Strategist, BCG BrightHouse

Embarking on the one-year GEGPA Master, spanning three countries, has been an exhilarating journey of personal and academic growth. The best part? Meeting people from all around the world in a unique environment where collective intelligence thrives.
The application of knowledge in real-world scenarios was central to the curriculum. In tumultuous geopolitical times, we had the most interesting people to talk to right there in the room with us.

  Lowie Vueghs, Belgium, MAEIS European Integration and Global Studies 2020/21, EU-Account Consultant, EY Ernst & Young

The nice thing about this Master was the great diversity of lecturers – academics and professionals – coming from various Universities and different backgrounds.

To have practitioners sharing their insights with you is a major advantage of the programme, because it prepares you in a very concrete way for the time after your studies and equips you with the professional skills required on the European and international job market.

  Reinier Schouten, Netherlands, MAEIS Mediterranean Studies 2019/20, Policy Officer at the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality

Studying in an international environment in Nice, Tunis and Istanbul gave me deeper insights into Mediterranean-related questions and conflicts, such as the refugee crisis.
I particularly appreciated exchanging with teachers from North Africa and Turkey, which shed a different light on the underlying roots and mechanisms of the regional challenges.

   Stephanie Baima, USA, GEGPA 2019/20

CIFE's GEGPA Master programme provided excellent exposure to global governance structures, trade dynamics, geopolitics of energy, sustainable development and finance, policy, and more, taught by experienced and preeminent professors with a good mixture of academic and real-world backgrounds.
Coming from the US, I found the GEGPA programme gave me a very useful crash course on EU processes and institutions and has made me well-versed in the UN's sustainable development agenda, neither of which did I have a working knowledge previously. The format of learning across three countries is rare and a very attractive feature as you are living in locations where the governance and policy is being produced and experiencing the culture firsthand.

  Nadeem Goussous, Jordan, Energy Master 2018/19, Associate Professional - Clean Energy Transition Scenarios and Networks at International Renewable Energy Agency

The experience I had at CIFE was surely a very special one.
The programme was unique; it allowed us to interact with policymakers and practitioners, exposed us to various aspects of the energy transition through field trips, and developed our professional skill-sets in project cycle management and negotiation among others.
All of this helped me start my career with more confidence and knowledge of the energy sector. And I spent a year in 2 countries, with a group of 18 students of 17 different nationalities!

  Zeeshan Bhatti, USA, GEGPA 2018/19, Economic Development Manager at Louisville Forward, USA

Everything you study is useful and is directly related to current events: Climate change, sustainability, energy policy, big data, cyber governance, digital economy, different forms of governance, adapting governance to meet the needs of a global civilisation. The teachers are the best part of the programme. They are primarily practitioners who bring the wisdom and experience they have acquired in their own work to the classroom. You will be taught by very impressive people from the UN and other notable institutions. And of course the traveling is spectacular. Rome, Berlin, and Nice are some of the most amazing cities I’ve ever been to. Living in three different countries, one after the other, is pretty fantastic. My GEGPA experience impressed the leadership in my municipal government and I believe really caught their interest so that I was happy to find my dream job short after graduating.

  Carolina de Albuquerque, Portugal, MAEIS 2018/19, Graduate Trainee at the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lisbon

CIFE gave me the opportunity to grow academically, professionally, as well as personally.
The diversity of nationalities in class made it possible for me to make an incredible group of friends with different personalities, cultures, and experiences.

At the same time, the limited number of students per class gave me the chance to have deep interactions and exchanges with my colleagues, Professors and staff, for which I am extraordinarily thankful.

  Leo Liay, Italy, MAEIS 2017/18, Chargé de programme adjoint, The Asia Foundation, Philippines

This Master not only represents a great opportunity to theoretically understand the dynamics characterising the magnificent, but extremely challenging region of the Mediterranean, but also offers the chance to experience it at first hand. Studying in Nice, Tunis and Rome offered a more holistic perspective of the similarities and differences between Mediterranean societies. Moreover, the curriculum’s workshops went to strengthen the professional education of its future policy-makers. Alternating academic research and remarkable adventures in these countries with a culturally diverse group of students is defnitely the added value of this programme.

   Adeline Haaby, France, Trilingual Studies 2014/15

It is incredible how much we were able to develop our knowledge and our personalities in this one year. The Master’s programme gave us the chance to engage in a constant and intensive dialogue with each other, but also with professors and experts on a daily basis. We had the opportunity to deal with and question European values, traditions and social changes. This allowed us to reflect on and develop our own points of view. 
The great diversity showed me how I can change my own perspectives and how new doors can open for me: I am currently active in the integration of the refugee flows in various projects and teach German for refugees at the Adult Education Centre in Berlin Mitte. At the same time, I was given the opportunity to complete a qualification for teachers of German as a second language from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. This year in a multidisciplinary and multicultural environment has given me the right impulses for how I envision my working life and what I would like to focus on. I would like to thank CIFE very much for this, I will never forget this year!

  Isabel Dimitrov, Bulgaria/Canada, MAEIS 2014/15 - Community Engagement Advisor for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Cargill

I recall what attracted me to the programme in the first place: learning and living in three dynamic cities, the interdisciplinary nature of the modules, and the small but diverse class size. The experience was all of this and more – it was truly transformative. My classroom was not only what I learned from my professors, it was what I learned everyday in class and outside of class with my classmates, as we discovered our cities, uncovered each other’s perspectives, and challenged our world views in ways we never thought possible. I thank CIFE for creating such a unique environment for its students to thrive in ways which go beyond the conventional route of learning – it is after all, that by doing things in a not so ordinary way that we can achieve the extraordinary.

  Floriane de Graeve, Global Studies 2014-15, Diversity manager and HR project manager at the Municipality of Schaarbeek, Belgium

My year at CIFE as a part of the MAEIS programme was unforgettable. The combination of studying in three very different cities, an interesting mix of professors and an international classroom gave the courses additional depth and perspective. It gave me extensive knowledge on the working of the EU and its issues, which helped me in receiving a position at the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). The year was enriching on both an academic and personal level. It was an unforgettable year full of knowledgeable courses, interesting discussion and long-life friendships. I highly recommend it to anyone considering studying at CIFE.

  Sigrith Mazurat, Global Studies 2014-15

My year at CIFE was not only an incredibly enriching experience in terms of studies but also in terms of personal development. It was not only about gaining solid knowledge of world politics and global challenges, but also about developing my self-confidence to be able to efficiently use that knowledge. I now use this skillset in many aspects of my professional and personal life. 
Studying and sharing life experiences in three different countries with 30 people from 20 different countries made this year all the more fascinating, adding amazing personal input to all aspects of our studies. This program not only offers high quality learning opportunities, but also gives you a chance to develop as a person, in contact with people from such a variety of countries and cultures that it will inevitably broaden your perspective and understanding of the world.

  Arnisa Tepelija, Albania, MAEIS 2014/15 - Technical Project Assistant for the GIZ in Tirana

The trilingual Master at CIFE provided me with an enriching and mind-broadening experience: Its modus operandi constitutes the defiinition of the Europe of many points of view, of finding a constructive compromise and common solutions. The top-teaching methods from our most honoured lecturers, and the stimulating environment projected me and my brilliant friends-for-life classmates towards our aspirations.
A very interesting internship in the German Bundestag expects me only because I took this path and I see many other thrilling projects coming.

  Tanya Lyubimova, MAEIS Trilingual branch 2011/12 - Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Belarus

Now when I look back at the year that I spent at the Institute, I cannot but smile. Studying in three languages, learning in an inclusive, diverse and multicultural environment, travelling all over Europe, acquiring firsthand experience through study trips and guest lecturers, making new lifelong friends, developing practical skills and advancing in my field of interest… It was like living a year in a fairy tale!
Of course, there were difficulties and challenges, but these have faded away over time, leaving much more to cherish and appreciate. I am especially grateful to all of the Institute’s professors and staff, for they provided exactly what I had been looking for in a programme – a very personal, dedicated approach to every student, which inspires, motivates, and let alone helps to engage and understand the material in a more profound way. For me, having enrolled with an academic background unrelated to Political Science or International Relations, this dedication played an especially significant part in my studies. I appreciated most the interactions between students that allowed for each individual to express themselves, along with the advanced and diversified teaching methodologies encompassing up-to-date course content. Moreover, the Institute, and my research adviser in particular, helped me tremendously in shaping up my professional and academic interests, life aspirations and goals.

  Tina Djepovska, MAEIS Anglophone branch 2010/11, Macedonia - Head of Unit, Office of the State Secretary, Foreign Ministry of Macedonia

"My CIFE experience made me realise that today’s challenges can only be tackled effectively, if countries unite their efforts and combine their knowledge and experience. The internationally inspired CIFE community has opened new possibilities for my career, and their training initiatives have further helped develop my academic and professional portfolios. I have been working as an employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia for 5 years now after having  the pleasure to be part of the IE-EI Anglophone branch. This experience has provided the background necessary for me to anticipate and react to Europe’s ever-changing circumstances. I continued with my career goals after completing the Master Programme, which was further upgraded with my selection to be a part of the “Fellowship Programme for Young Government Officials from the Western Balkans: Supporting Excellence and Leadership in Governance”, 2012/2013. The Institute was the essential element of my academic training, encouraging me to sharpen and enrich my European sentiments and enforce its values in my home institution and country. This was definitely an experience to remember and pursue."

  Milda Urbonaite, Lithuania - Participant at the Summer University in Istanbul, Turkey 2009 and Schloß Hofen, Austria 2010

So far I have participated in two summer schools organized by CIFE and currently I am in the process of applying for a third one. I also attended other summer schools, organised by various universities or foundations. But CIFE is by far the best choice if you are looking at possibilities for spending your summer holidays, combining both improving your qualifications and having entertainment. As a rule the lectures are brilliant, led by a mix of academics and practicians in the specific field. Moreover the chosen location of the summer school is usually a wonderful place to spend warm summer days.

  Ursula Schleicher, for many years Member of the European Parliament and participant in the European Senior Online Academy 2008

It makes a difference whether one feels Europe or just reads about it. This was convincingly demonstrated during a seminar of the European Online Academy for Senior Citizens. Participants reported on their commitment, their voluntary service and lessons learned with Europeans. Crossborder exchange enriches everyday life in Europe – it brings people closer together and builds bridges. Additionally, the internet gives us both these opportunities, to deepen links and to increase one’s experience and knowledge. 

  Gökçen Sahin, Turkey, Master EOA 2008/10 - General Manager / Managing Director of Haliç Leasing, Istanbul, Turkey

Meeting with different cultures in different European cities and universities, and at the same time studying online are the attractive points of the programme. The curriculum is very rich, which gives more than an insight to the topics related to the European Union. The academics are all experts and you can easily interact, discuss and share your opinions with them on the online platform. After two years of study, I had acquired a deep understanding and ability to analyse to some extent the hot topics of the European Union.
I would recommend this programme to everybody who wants to understand and develop their own opinions regarding the current political, economical, and social developments all over the world, and the place of the European Union in the global village. Moreover a very rich international experience composed of people with different backgrounds is what makes it prestigious! 

  Etleva Hysenllari, Albania, Master EOA 2008/10 - Delegation of the European Union to Albania

The EOA has exceeded my expectations in many ways. The academic standards set for this Master Programme are very high. The staff participating in this programme are composed of the most prominent academics in the field of European Integration. For this reason, I feel privileged at having had the possibility to receive the best education on European Integration issues and for being part of the CIFE – EOA Programme. Participation in the EOA has opened up a new window of opportunity for me: I have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of nice people with different professional backgrounds and nationalities. What I found very interesting and which I remember with pleasure were our post workshop discussions, i. e. “briefings” on the European Integration reforms and the latest political and economic developments going on back in their home countries. We have also established a friendship bond with each other. I would recommend this programme to everyone wishing to know more about the EU, candidate countries and its people. All in all we are not so different.

  Etion Parruca, Albania, MAEIS 2008/09 - National Monitoring Officer, Head of Presence Office, Political and Public Affairs Unit, OSCE-Presence in Albania

I will always remember fondly my time during the year of Master’s studies at CIFE, as it was a remarkably rich academic, social and cultural experience which resulted in a better understanding of the ties that link us all together in a process of unity in diversity and ever-advancing global civilisation that yearns for co-operation and collective security. In my current work at the OSCE Presence in Albania being tasked to maintain relations with regional and local officials and interlocutors I can’t think of a better academic experience that would have helped me match knowledge with the work in hand. Thank you for the special opportunity that was offered back in 2008, which proved very useful!

  Josh Wadinski, USA Participant at the Summer University in Istanbul, Turkey, 2007

The CIFE Summer Programme in Istanbul, Turkey at Bilgi University was hands down the best international experience I’ve ever had.
Comparing this experience to my studies in the US, Sweden, and Japan, I came to this conclusion because of the combination of brilliant, diligent students and diverse, well-accomplished lecturers that were present.
In addition, the location in the beautiful and amazingly historical city of Istanbul enhanced the experience and brought a very real perspective to the entire programme.

  Marina Filcheva, Macedonia, MAEIS, trilingual branch 2007/08 - Consultant at UNICEF Brussels EU Office in Belgium

After graduating at the European Institute, I first gained valuable experience working in the Committee of the Regions (CoR) in Brussels, as well as in the European Parliament. I became passionate about the work of UNICEF during my traineeship at ECOSOC in the UN Head Quarters in New York (2010), which motivated me later on to continue my career at UNICEF Brussels.
I cannot say that the road towards an international career, especially nowadays, is easy. But for sure, at least for me, all the efforts have been worth it! Thank you for giving me the best start in this difficult, but very exciting journey!”

  Marjan Petreski, PhD c., Macedonia, EOA 2006/07 - Research Vice-Dean and Lecturer at American University College, Skopje

As a Macroeconomist, I entered the programme expecting to broaden my knowledge in the area of European Union, its structure, institutions and policies, but at the same time to gain even more focused knowledge on the Macroeconomics of the EU. EOA more than fulfilled my expectations: it is broad enough to widen your horizons, but also offers opportunities for narrow specialisation. From the human viewpoint, I genuinely enjoyed the EOA, I liked the “heated” debates on the online forums and the workshops, as well. Moreover, I gained new friendships and built a valuable professional network of people with distinct backgrounds, but people who together share same values – the European values.

  Selim Güvener, Turkey/United Kingdom, MAEIS Anglophone branch 2005/06 - IP Consultant at World Agroforestry Centre, London

I would consider the year I spent at the Institute as a complete satisfaction of my expectations. The programme was very well adapted to the international student body with different graduate school backgrounds and it provided not only an excellent academic programme but a constant brainstorming on current international and European issues as well. Small working groups made teacher-student relations very easy and fruitful. Visiting lecturers and experts brought in an invaluable practical knowledge which came to complete the academic education provided by the in house professors and lecturers. The Institut européen is a perfect institution for those who seek a career in the international and European sphere and a great place to learn, live and have fun.

  Eleonora Pitasso, Italy, MAEIS trilingual branch 2005/06 - General Administrator of a multinational company, Monte Carlo

What I found at the Institute has been the perfect conjunction of flexibility and open-minded attitude.

The fact of travelling continuously in different countries and living your daily life with persons from other cultures, makes of you feeling to morally and culturally enrich yourself day-by day.
The Institut européen makes of that a proper key-element.

  Alexander Kleibrink, Germany/Serbia/Montenegro, MAEIS 2005/06 - Researcher at Berlin Graduate School of Transnational Studies

"L'espoir est une mémoire qui désire, le souvenir est une mémoire qui a joui." In the vein of Balzac we were lucky to have gained many valuable memories. Particularly one event forged thirty very different young people from all over Europe and Asia into a group of friends. On one of our many trips a heavy snowstorm had us stuck at the airport in Basle. For the first time, we were without any of our many professors and coordinators who had pampered us and had made our lives until then a comfortable all-inclusive package. So the group had many heated discussions about how to get with no money and strained nerves back to Southern France. At nightfall in the sinister main train station we spent several hours until we finally came up with a solution. We somehow managed to find a hostel for a few hours of sleep and got more than one ton of luggage and a dozen laptops over many stairs and train cabins via Milan to Nice. Nothing could possibly illustrate better what the year meant to us: it was not always easy, but in the end we savoured the moments and are left with common memories.

  Jan Geiss, EOA 2004/05, Secretary General of the European Forum for Renewable Energy Sources (EUFORES)

The European Online Academy is a great preparation for a starting career on the European Union level for active professionals.

Today, as Secretary General of EUFORES – a European Parliamentary network on renewable energy – I always use the knowledge gained through EOA for working in the complex political environment in and around Brussels.

  Mihail Milev, Bulgaria, MAEIS 2003/04 - European Commission, DG Competition

The Master’s Programme of the Institute was my first fully fledged international experience where I enjoyed both high quality education and extremely helpful and accessible professors. I am particularly grateful for having had the rare opportunity to meet scholars, diplomats and professionals from so many different fields of International Relations and European Studies, which broadened significantly my personal understanding of the processes taking place, seen from a wide variety of angles. This approach has helped me a lot throughout my professional career and has allowed me to respond to the challenges of working in a genuine international environment where quick learning and good communication are crucial.

  Dalibor Dvorny, Croatia, MAEIS 2003/04, Deputy Head of Prime Minister’s Office / Government of Croatia

The time at the Institute certainly did provide me with countless practical insights, and even more importantly, it had so much impact on my personal perspective and point of view. Seeing the European Union and strong regional and international cooperation as crucial element of solution to those challenges, would probably be the most obvious example.
It was a truly unique experience for my friends and me! As a standard feature you get interesting lectures and involving lecturers, but the programme gave us a lot more – international and multilingual real life experience and, of course, lifelong friendships.

  Marina Penic-Levada, Croatia, MAEIS 2003/04 Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, Directorate for Inter­national Co­operation and European Integration

The year I spent at the Institut européen was definitely a great experience; you happen to meet other students from all over the world, you attend interesting lectures and learn things at first hand, you visit some new places, and you also have the opportunity to practise three foreign languages at the same time. The Master at the Institute was an excellent preparation for my current job that is related to the European affairs. In that year I also made some important friendships and the fact that since our graduation 2004 we haven’t missed any occasion to spend our vacations together is significant enough

  Isabelle Weykmans, Belgium, MAEIS 2002/03 - Minister for Culture and Media, the Protection of Buildings and Monuments, Youth and Sports; German-Speaking Community in Belgium

The memories I have of the year I spent in Nice are exclusively positive ones. I enjoyed learning and living with people from different countries and with different personal and academic backgrounds. It was this diversity that was for me the main advantage of this Master programme. Going abroad for one year is something I recommend to anybody! The knowledge I gained is very useful for my current job.

  Anna Boros, Hungary, MAEIS 1997/98, NATO Assistant, Performance Review and Development

“Unity in diversity” was not just a slogan you heard in the classroom but one you experienced. Spending a year in a friendly and multi-cultural environment was very memorable. The experience was enriching and invaluable in my learning the true meaning of diversity. As a student visiting the Council of Europe and NATO HQ, I never dreamt I would one day go on to work at both institutions. Encouraged by the faculty, I built upon the research work done to start PhD studies. I will forever be grateful.

  Oleg Serebrian, Moldova, MAEIS 1992/93 - Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova in France and at the UNESCO

I arrived in Nice some months after the dissolution of the USSR. It was the first time I had visited the Western world and at the same time my first experience with the occidental democracies. It was at that time that I learned about the process of European integration and what it was all about – the way of thinking, of interpreting historical events and facts I had known up to then was different. In 2001, we founded the European Movement of Moldova, a movement promoting the federalist idea here in Moldova. During the first years we organised, in cooperation with the CIFE, the summer university “The European Union and the Region around the Black Sea”. This gave rise to a real new tradition that is about making young people learn about European ideas and make them think differently, which encourages us to jointly organise other new projects like these.

  Christophe Leclercq, Participant at a winter seminar in Aosta 1986 and the summer university programme in Gauting (Munich) in 1985

Having very much appreciated CIFE in Munich (and married to an alumna of Aosta!) I enjoyed the “European complement” as my previous education of Sciences Po & HEC was lacking this element. It is at CIFE that I met federalism, and the student association AEGEE-Europe, keys to my European vocation. This later helped me to join the European Commission … and especially to leave it quite soon, in order to set up the media
Our EurActiv network now supports the debate in 10 languages and 10 countries, under the same colours but in a very decentralised manner. I thank CIFE for having helped me onto this European path. 

  Jeff Bridgford, United Kingdom, MAEIS 1973/74,Special Adviser, Non-Executive Director, European Trade Union Institute

My year at the European Institute was very enjoyable and beneficial in many ways. It provided a basis for further postgraduate qualifications, at the universities of Manchester, Strasbourg and Newcastle upon Tyne, and then a first career in higher education in France and the United Kingdom. It encouraged me to feel comfortable in a multi-cultural and multi-lingual environment, which stood me in good stead when I became the founding Director of the European Trade Union College in 1990. Finally, it opened my eyes to the pleasures of the Mediterranean, a region which I have been regularly visiting since and to which I will be returning full time in the near future.

  David Spence, Great Britain, MAEIS 1972/73 - Political Counsellor at the European Commission’s Delegation to the international organisations in Geneva

I did the programme before the UK joined the European Community and no university has provided me with a comparable experience. Not only have I become a devoted federalist, my political orientation continues advancing in this direction.
Rather, I would not have become the person I am now in terms of my personality as well as my professional development if I had not spent the year in Nice. Of course, I would not work for the Commission without having done European studies and I would not feel so much at home when I visit Nice occasionally. 

  Wolfgang Plasa, Germany, IEHEI 1969/70 - Visiting fellow, European Studies Council, Yale University, New Haven

Since it was my intention to work for the European Commission, it was helpful to meet with active Commission officials who came to teach in Nice. I also largely benefited from the philosophical instruction, which, admittedly, I underrated at the time I received it. I learned to look for alternatives and to approach problems from different angles. I always felt that the IEHEI’s methodology inspires creativity and imposes consistency at the same time. It was a clear advantage to participate in this studium generale.

  Erwan Fouéré, Ireland MAEIS 1968/69, EC Official in charge of Enlargement Policy and Communication, Former EU Special Representative and Head of the Commission Delegation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The Institute was an essential element of my academic training. My year of studies was a large contributing factor to shaping and reinforcing my European sentiments. I was particularly inspired by the primal importance of the respect for human values, respect for different state political structures (notably federalism). Later, during my professional career, particularly in the posts I held in Latin America and also more recently in South Africa, I was able to put into practice this knowledge and my beliefs.


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