Annual Student Conference on Diplomacy

Thank you for joining our 2021 edition of the Annual Student Conference on Diplomacy! The College of Europe Young Diplomats Association will be in hibernation until the next promotion of College Students will be able to take over, and we look forward to helping them! See below for some videos and shots from the conference, as well as the programme from last years conference.

Dear professionals, students, and  all those interested in the world of diplomacy. We, six student societies of the College of Europe, thank you for joining the 2021 edition of the annual conference on diplomacy, this year, focusing on the theme of “Alternative Diplomacy”

Over the many centuries diplomacy has flourished, it has never been more challenged than in our current world. Faced with increasing difficulties of digitalisation, huge quantities of competing interests, we believe that it is important that we take a step back and assess all the different types of diplomacy that pervade our everday world.

In this conference, we were extremely happy to explore many different avenues, talking with academics, practionioners, officials, and simply engaged individuals in the process. 

In this page see the different panels we put on, and we look forward to you all joining us next year! You can find some of the videos of the event on the College of Europe Youtube Channel and below!

Videos from the Conference


We were very proud to have presented so many amazing speakers from across many different disciplines and locations. Find out more about their panels below.

Thursday 25th of March

Open Ceremony Federica Mogherini
Open Ceremony Bridget Laffan
Open Ceremony Anthony-Gardner

Opening Ceremony 

Time: 19.00 – 21.00 CET

Join us for our opening ceremony which will set the stage for our exciting three-day exploration of alternative diplomacy. We are very proud to be hosting such distinguished practitioners of diplomacy and hope you will also enjoy the interesting interventions and question and answer session.


  • Federica Mogherini – Rector of the College of Europe and co-Chair of the UN High level panel on internal displacement, former High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policy and former Italian Minister of foreign affairs
  • Dr. Bridgid Laffan – Director and Professor of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute in Florence
  • Anthony Gardner – Former United States Ambassador to the European Union from 2014 to 2017 and author of Stars with Stripes


  • Philippe Lefevre and Hannah Brandt – Co Presidents of the Young Diplomats

Friday 26th of March

Alternative diplomacy in the Eastern Neighbourhood

Time: 10.00 – 12.00 CET

This expert panel discussion on “Alternative Diplomacy in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood” will explore various dimensions of alternative diplomacy in the EaP countries both from the domestic and from the EU’s perspective. The invited speakers from Belarus, Georgia, and the European Commission will share their insights into the complex dynamics of Georgia’s transatlantic diplomacy, Belarusian fight against dictatorship, and the EU’s efforts to work with young people in 6 EaP member states. Each speaker will have from 20 to 25 minutes to present a keynote speech. It will be followed by a 30-minute Q&A session.


  • Ambassador Victor Dolidze – Head of the Mission of Georgia to NATO speaking on, “Will Euro-Atlantic diplomacy fulfill Georgia’s Western ambitions?”
  • Mr. Franak Viačorka  – Senior Advisor to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya speaking on, “Can proactive diplomacy help Belarus to leave the political crisis behind?”
  • Mr. Lawrence Meredith – Director for the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood & Institution Building speaking on, “Youth Diplomacy in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood”


  • Viktorya Muradyan – Eastern Partnership Network
EPN Victor Dolidze
EPN Franak Viacorka
EPN Lawrence Meredith
EDS Prof. Dr. Kalypso Nicolaidis
EDS Prof. Dr. Alicia García-Herrero

The Geo-politicization of European Trade Policy

Time: 13:00 – 15.00 CET

Since the adoption of the EU Global Strategy and the Von der Leyen Commission’s arrival, most observers tend to see a move towards a more geopolitical union. This recent observation has also triggered discussions within academic and policy circles on the nature behind the EU’s trade policy. Specifically, different observers question if we are observing a ‘geopoliticalisation’ of trade within the EU. In this panel discussion, organised by The Economic Diplomacy Society of the College of Europe, we will further explore this pertinent question and its implications with prominent experts on geoeconomics and EU trade


  • Prof. Dr. Kalypso Nicolaïdis – Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford and a governing body fellow at St Antony’s College at the European Studies Centre
  • Prof. Dr. Alicia-Garcia Herrero – Senior Fellow at Bruegel. Also the Chief Economist for Asia Pacific at Natixis and non-resident Research Fellow at Madrid-based political think tank Real Instituto Elcano


  • Jakob Matthiessen, David Gueyraud and Sjorre Couvreur – Economic Diplomacy Society

Please find the presentation from Dr. Nicolaïdis attached here

The Green Deal, revisiting EU Energy and Climate Diplomacy

Time: 15:00 – 16.00 CET

The EU has had a key role for improving environmental and climate policies within its Member States and has been in the forefront of international negotiations on climate change for many years now. However, the fight against global warming cannot be won by a handful of governments or agencies alone. Since the Green Deal was presented back in 2019, however, the EU took a leap forward in green policies, with major implications for partner States. With its “Green Deal Diplomacy” strategy, the EU seeks to export its climate ambitions and embark its counterparts.


  • Marc-Antoine Eyl Mazzega – Director of the Climate and Energy Center at the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI)
  • Laure Chapuis – Cabinet Expert of European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson
  • Andrea Lockwood – Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Africa, Middle East, Europe and Eurasia in the Office of International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy


  • Mathieu Fromentin and Eloïse Couffon – Co Chairs of the College of Europe Energy Group
Energy Marc-Antoine Eyl Mazzega
Laure Chapuis, cabinet Kallas
Energy Andrea Lockwood
WiD Jennifer Cassidy
WiD Regner

Women in Diplomacy

Time: 17:00 – 19:00 CET

Following on from our headline event on Women in Diplomacy in November, the Young Diplomats wish to present another in-depth dive into how we can promote further gender inclusiveness in diplomacy and encourage new generations to look at an increased role for feminist foreign policy. Furthermore, we will take a look at how diplomacy itself can improve gender equality and women’s rights across the world and better the citizens they serve.


  • Dr. Jennifer Cassidy – Departmental Lecturer in Global Governance and Diplomacy at the University of Oxford and author of Gender and Diplomacy: Theory and Practice (Routledge)
  • Evelyn Regner MEP – Austrian MEP and Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality


  • Lucie McAnea – Young Diplomats

Saturday 27th of March

Techplomacy – In Conversation with Nikolaj Juncher Wædegaard

Time: 10:30 – 11:30 CET

 join the European Horizons chapter at the College of Europe in exploring the concept of ‘TechPlomacy’ (technological diplomacy). We will be conversing with Mr Nikolaj Juncher Wædegaard, who was one of the initiators of the idea of elevating technology and digitalisation into a Danish foreign policy priority. Mr Wædegaard was Deputy to Denmark’s (and the world’s) first Tech Ambassador Mr Casper Klynge and he helped to set up delegations in Silicon Valley, Copenhagen, and Beijing. Both Mr Klynge and Mr Wædegaard have by now left the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work in the European Government Affairs department at Microsoft.


  • Mr Nikolaj Juncher Wædegaard, Currently serving as Chief of Staff to the VP of Microsoft European Government Relations & Sr. Director w/ responsibility for Strategy, Planning, RoB, Operations, StratCom & Budget. Was prior to that Denmark’s Deputy Tech Ambassador and Head of Secretariat/Chief of Staff – and among the founding fathers of Denmark’s TechPlomacy initiative.


  • Timothée Ceurremans & Christine Weimann – European Horizons
ESDN Pijpers
ESDN Schroefl


Time: 13:00 – 15:00 CET


  • Colonel Peter B.M.J. Pijpers – Dutch Army Colonel (GS). Associate professor of cyber operations at the Netherlands Defense Academy and former Strategic Planner at the EEAS. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam, where he is focusing on the influence of political systems in cyberspace and the applicability of public international law and the use of force

  • Dr. Josef Schroefl – Deputy Director, Community of Interest on Strategy & Defence, Hybrid CoE – The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, Helsinki/Finland

  • Ms. Camille Gufflet is a Policy officer on cyber security at the European External Action Service. Before arriving at the EEAS, she was First Secretary at the Permanent Representation of France to the Conference on disarmament, in Geneva. She also served in the Mission of Defence at the Permanent Representation of France to the United Nations in New York and worked in the Ministry of the Armed forces focusing on UN Peacekeeping operations.


  • Arcangelo Leone de Castri and Beatrice Bono – European Defence and Security Network

Headline Event: Vaccine Diplomacy

Time: 15:00 – 17.00 CET

With the Pandemic raging, there is no better time than now to investigate the field of health diplomacy and within it, the subtle field of vaccine diplomacy. As western nations stockpile vaccines and commit some to less fortunate countries, other actors in the international scene are making points and waves in supplying others with these vaccines. At the same time, the WHO and the COVAX Scheme seems to rebalance this unequal distribution of life-saving vaccines. Join us in our headline panel of the conference as we discuss the topic with a wide range of important figures from across institutions.


  • Director Henriette Geiger – Director for Human Development, Migration, Governance, and Peace at the EU Directorate General of International Cooperation and Development

  • Sarah Wheaton – Chief Policy Correspondent for POLITICO Europe and former Senior Policy Reporter on POLITICO Europe’s health team

  • Isabel De la Mata Barranco, Principal Advisor for Health and Crisis management Directorate General for Health and Food Safety



  • Klara Birchley – Young Diplomats
Sarah Wheaton
Herman Van Rompuy, voorzitter van de Europese Raad.
31st May 2017, Enlargement Day - Joint Consultative Committee CoR-Montenegro
Belgium - Brussels - May 2017
© European Union / Nuno Rodrigues

Aleksandar BOGDANOVIĆ, Mayor of Cetinje

His Excellency Bojan SARKIC, Ambassador of the Montenegro, Mission of Montenegro
to the EU
Closing Ceremony Reiterer

Closing Ceremony

Time: 17:00 – 19:00 CET

Sadly, all good things must come to and end, but we will not do so quietly. In our closing ceremony we wish to bring together more important actors of diplomacy to get a further insight into their beliefs over the evolution of diplomacy in both a European and global context. Our panel will each bring a unique side to European diplomacy from the deepest of understandings. Whilst this will be the end of our conference, we are sure that this will be as insightful and educative end as ever.


  • Professor Herman Van Rompuy – President Emeritus of the European Council, former Prime Minister of Belgium and President of the Administrative Council of the College of Europe

  • Ambassador Bojan Šarkić – former Montenegrin Ambassador to the European Union and NATO, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Defence, and Ambassador to the United Kingdom

  • Professor Michael Reiterer – Distinguished Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and former EU Ambassador to Korea and EU Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein


  • Philippe Lefevre and Hannah Brandt – Co Presidents of the Young Diplomats

All speakers and events are subject to change

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the Young Diplomats at