16 January 2020 • Karim Al Trahouny
Mendeltje van Keulen: “What does European cooperation mean for your future?”
CREUVENT will be held at THUAS on 27 January. This is an active event where researchers and students will be talking about Europe. The conference, which has numerous EU workshops by practitioners and researchers, is being organised by The Changing Role of Europe research group and its professor Mendeltje van Keulen. She discusses the event, getting students involved with EU-related subjects and how THUAS is dealing with developments in Europe.
Dr. Mendeltje van Keulen has been the professor of The Changing Role of Europe research group since 1 January 2018. Her principle activity is to create links between the professional field and the university on European policy and the relationship between the Netherlands and the EU. The researchers in the research group, who are also lecturers on the Law, Public Administration and European Studies degree programmes, study issues such as how to become a good lobbyist. They conduct research, often together with students, on things such as whether Fitbit can pass your data to your employer under EU privacy rules, or what Europe means for a municipality.
The Changing Role of Europe Event, or CREUVENT for short, is a research event that covers numerous subjects, from tech to history. “We show lecturers and students what practice oriented research can look like. It is an interactive conference, so not the type in which people stand there and give talks. Experts and students are encouraged to take part in the group discussions and workshops. We want to show students that ‘you are preparing for the future here at THUAS and what does European cooperation mean specifically for this?’.”
There will be numerous experts in specialisations such as business administration, public administration, law and European studies. This will allow students to gain knowledge about the work processes within their future profession. Mendeltje: “For instance, there are students studying law who will go on to work for a municipality or company. It is incredibly interesting for them to visit the Expo and be present at the launch of the EU impact scan. Over the coming months we are going to be asking all municipalities throughout the Netherlands to fill in a questionnaire to research what influence the EU has in local town and city halls. There will definitely be some good internship projects there! Incidentally, another EU careers fair will be held in the Square the day after CREUVENT. This is being organised by the European Studies degree programme.”
Closer to home
Most students and lecturers do not see politics in Brussels as something that concerns them personally. How do you keep students, and young people in general, involved with current affairs? “The problem runs deep so there are various starting points for answering this question. Firstly, European cooperation is not a theme that is normally dealt with at school. This could be something for teacher training programmes to change. In addition, European studies is a subject that is often discussed in a rather complex or business-like way in the media with technical terms such as institutions, council, commissions, etc. However, the way politicians talk about the subject is too simplistic. For instance, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says that he is opposed to a European army. It was purposely framed this way, but does not have much to do with the negotiations about the purchase of helicopters. This type of framing is not very appealing for younger people. So, how can you make this more attractive for students? During the event, we will have a workshop on the opportunities for greater cooperation between the Dutch and German armies. Is that something we want, what are the sensitivities, is it cheaper? You have to wrap a certain news value and tone of voice around this so that people genuinely want to find out more about the subject. A good example is our new talk show Global Gossip. Here we will be talking about world politics in the auditorium in a talk show format, along the lines of the Jinek talk show.”
Up to date
The name of the research group is The Changing Role of Europe. Europe is constantly changing – fortunately Van Keulen is an inveterate news addict. “You always have to stay up to date with what is happening now. For instance, the impact of Brexit is perceptible in the world of education and research because British universities have become less attractive and receive fewer EU subsidies.”
CREUVENT will be held on 27 January (the careers fair will be held on 28 January) on the main campus at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. For more information, or to register, click here.