Inaugural Lecture 2023/24

'Everything flows' said the ancient Greeks. It is more true than ever. But despite all crises and conflicts, we must not resign ourselves fatalistically to the current rather gloomy reality. We can change things. Dangers and fear shouldn’t paralyse us. (...) The last thing the world needs are wars, amid an ongoing climate tragedy and after a three-year covid time with millions of dead. Of course, those under attack must defend themselves albeit not by any means. We will never be able to say enough how blessed we are in the EU now that we have almost 75 years of peace. Everything is temporary in life, even peace but let's make the temporary last as long as possible.

In his inaugural lecture for the CIFE Master students 2023/24, CIFE President Herman Van Rompuy reflected about the challenges with which the European Union is currently confronted in a "dangerous world".

Watch the recording of the inaugural lecture 2023/24.

Herman Van Rompuy has enjoyed a brilliant career in both Belgian and European politics. A former economist at the National Bank of Belgium, he began his political career in 1973 as national vice president of his party's youth movement. He has held various posts within his party and in the Belgian Parliament, serving in turn as Senator (1988-1995) and Member of Parliament (1995-2009). He has also served in Belgium as Speaker of the House of Representatives (2007-2008) and in several government positions, including that of Deputy Minister and Budget Minister (1993-1999), Minister of State (2004) and Secretary of State for Finance and Small Businesses (1988). Herman Van Rompuy was Prime Minister of Belgium when he was elected first permanent President of the European Council in November 2009; he took office when the Lisbon Treaty came into force on 1 December 2009. In 2012, he was re-elected for a second term, starting on 1 June 2012 and running until 30 November 2014. Today, Herman Van Rompuy also chairs the European Policy Centre (EPC) and the Francqui Foundation and is a visiting professor at several universities.

Herman Van Rompuy is the President of CIFE since January 2018. He succeeded to Philippe Maystadt (CIFE President from 2015 to 2017) and Jean-Claude Juncker (President of CIFE from 2005 to 2014).

CIFE, founded in 1954, is a private institution of higher education and research in the field of interdisciplinary European integration studies and international relations. It operates from its headquarters in Nice and its offices in Berlin, Brussels and Istanbul. CIFE is one of the six institutions of excellence to receive an operating grant from the European Union under the 'Jean Monnet Activities' of the Erasmus+ programme.

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