Alumni  >  Testimonials


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.

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.

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.

Erwan Fouéré, Ireland MAEIS 1968/69, European Commission 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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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 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!”

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.