Tag Archives: UACES

Playing the simulation game

In September of this year, I attended a workshop organised by UACES/BACES on ‘Teaching and Learning with Impact’, looking at how European studies courses could be building in elements that enhance the employability of their students. Or put more simply, how will doing European studies help me get a job?

At the time I mentioned the Mock Council that we do every year with sixth formers and wondered aloud whether this might be an activity that could be adapted for universities. A little while later I got a call from John FitzGibbon who had attended the workshop, picking me up on the idea and suggesting trying it out at his university, Canterbury Christ Church.

So today I got up way earlier than usual to get a train to Canterbury. The first session was a briefing session for interested students taking part in the simulation, at which I was also invited to talk about about what it is like working for the EU. I then spoke to another group about the same thing. Then, after lunch in the staff canteen with John and his colleagues, it was into the simulation exercise.

John had decided to use the EU budget as the subject for the debate. It’s one that works well because it highlights just how many different opinions there are that have to be reconciled to reach an agreement, depending on whether you are a net recipient or contributor, how agricultural your economy is, how global your outlook, your domestic economic or political situation. And it’s decided under unanimity! The pre-event banter on Twitter had been very competitive, so I stressed that this wasn’t an exercise where there would be a winner, but that we were trying to find an agreement that we could all live with.

I was very impressed with the way the students flung themselves into it. They had clearly done the research about the countries they were allocated and played their roles with conviction. I dare to hope that it brought home to them in a concrete way the complexity of negotiations among 28 very different countries. Quite apart from providing a different perspective on their learning about the EU, I think it will also have allowed them to demonstrate some of the skills that employers will be looking for – negotiation, communication, problem-solving and the difficult art of compromising. Finland cannot go unmentioned for their ability to come in with a suggestion that moved the discussion forward every time it seemed to hit a stalemate! There was lots of tweeting going on, using the hashtag #eusimgame if you’re interested in taking a look. I’ll just give you a flavour…

 

 

So as a pilot, I think it went quite well, even though it couldn’t ever be totally satisfactory, in dealing with level of detail and of course preparation time and time for the exercise to take place. I’m looking forward to hearing what comes up in the feedback session next week. My first reaction, and I think that of John as well, was that this was a valuable practical exercise for the students. I hope this is something we can work on recreating in other European Studies departments.

Reporting Europe 2012

Nominations are open for the UACES – Thomson Reuters Reporting Europe Prize 2012. There have been some interesting winners in the few years I’ve been going along. It’s very far from a hagiographic prize, as a brief glimpse at some of the former winners will show. I’m very honoured to have been invited to sit on the jury this year, so I won’t be doing any nominating this time. But in a year when we’ve seen European Union issues covered to an unprecedented extent, I’m sure there will be lots for the jury to get their teeth into.

Congratulations Charlemagne!

I was at the UACES/ThomsonReuters award for Reporting Europe last night. A nice event for several reasons. Firstly because I got to see several people I like who were over from Brussels, including Oana Lungescu and Stephen Castle, both of whom were nominated. Secondly, it’s good to recognise quality reporting on Europe when it occurs, backing up my constant assertion that good reporting doesn’t mean positive, it means accurate, which is the least the public have the right to expect. And thirdly because the winner was very worthy – the Charlemagne blog written by David Rennie at the Economist. There’s pretty universal agreement among EU geeks that his coverage of the issue is just about the best around. A shame he is moving on.

If you go to the UACES award site, you’ll see a video of the shortlisted prizes put together by students at Kent University. It gave a nice impetus to the ceremony and gave a good flavour of the various candidates.

As a bit of a social media geek (as well as an EU one) I really enjoyed this piece by Mark Pack on the whole #nickcleggsfault thing on Twitter. Though this isn’t perhaps THE internet election, the role of social media has I believe made differences to how issues are discussed. It’s made it easier to find, connect to and discuss with people who are interested in the same things (even if coming at it from different perspectives and viewpoints). That is surely a good thing.

Coming week to 26 March

As promised, here’s what might be of interest next week. Please note, other events notification services exist (!) and I am selecting what seems important or relevant to the UK, so if I’ve missed something, it’s probably not intentional and certainly not any attempt to hide anything!

22 March

London: launch of My Friend Boo, a cartoon series to raise awareness of environmental issues.

Brussels: Tony Blair, representative of the Middle East Quartet, meets Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs

London: Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht gives a speech at the LSE

London: UACES hold event on Communicating European Citizenship

London: Careers day event being held at the Representation by EPSO, the EU’s recruitment body

23 March

25th anniversary celebrations of the European Capitals of Culture, events in Brussels

Brussels: Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki meets Rupert Howes, Chief Executive of the Marine Stewardship Council

Brussels: Economics and Finance Commissioner Olli Rehn meets Mark Hoban, UK shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury

Brussels: Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier meets Sir David Tweedie, Chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board

24 March

Budget day in the UK

Brussels: announcement expected on plans to make rules on divorce clearer for international couples

25 March

Brussels: European Council – meeting of Heads of state and government. Continues on 26 March

Brussels: Prize ceremony for winners of Juvenes Translatores competition.