IA Capstone Group meets their United Nations ‘Clients’

The International Affairs Capstone course is the last challenge and final piece for VeCo students’ in their 3rd year of their undergraduate studies. Run in cooperation with senior policy-makers from major International Organisations, the Capstone requires the students to work on a ‘real-life problem’ and to apply all their theoretical and practical knowledge towards mastering an assignment posed by an external policy-maker.

IA capstone 1This year’s International Affairs Capstone Course is organised in cooperation with the United Nations Liaison Office for Peace and Security (UNLOPS) and focuses on how the European Union and United Nations can work better together in order to address major global threats to peace and security.

On 11th February, the Capstone students -who had to form their own two think tank groups – met their ‘clients’ from the UN for the first time and were briefed by them about their assignment. Dr. Rory Keane (Head of UNLOPS) and Annika Kohnert (Carlo Schmid Fellow at UNLOPS and former consultant for McKinsey) visited the group at Vesalius College and outlined both the context and actual task of their assignment. IA capstone 2

In an inspiring 30min lecture, Dr. Keane outlined the main global challenges, provided background on the UN’s peace and security efforts and the state of play of UN Reform and EU-UN Relations. Students were given the opportunity for an in-depth Q&A session and were tasked to provide a briefing and analysis paper to UNLOPS, which outlines ‘fresh, but realistic ideas’ on how the EU-UN partnership can be strengthened. Both think tank groups have now 11 weeks to prepare their papers, interview policy-makers, practice their analysis, networking and presentation skills, organise their own conference before submitting their final product and giving their presentation to UNLOPS on 28 April. Dr. Keane stressed that ‘we’re taking your proposals seriously. And if there are new, workable and insightful ideas, I will consider discussing them with my colleagues here and in New York.’

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You can follow both team’s progress on their dedicated think tank blogs:

Click here  Institute for Peace Partnership
Click here  Center for Peace and Cooperation