by Zoë Perry
Recently, students from all over the world have come together in Brussels to take part in the Student Forum 2014 to discuss and draft policy proposals for the EU on topics such as migration, youth unemployment, European Neighbourhood Policy, Sustainable Development and Free Trade Agreements. Throughout the last 10 years, the Student Forum Maastricht (SFM) has been offering various workshops to interested students. This year’s board of FaSoS students, however, decided to take the SFM to a new level by aiming to also create concrete policy output. They moved the conference site to the UM Campus in Brussels and invited experts who would not give the participants insights into current policy issues but also providing them with thought-provoking impulses through their different perspectives on the issues at stake. As it turned out, they did a great job.
During the day, the students worked together in their field of expertise and drafted the policy proposals. As Karoline Winter, one of the organizers pointed out, the combination of both idealistic and rather realistic/pragmatic participants lead to constructive policy proposals and prevented pure utopianism. All participants (over 50), including the assisting tutors from all over the world as well as speakers such as Hannes Swoboda and Lutz Ribbe really enjoyed the atmosphere and the constructive outcome. At the end of the day, some passionate students continued to work on their policy proposals. However, no matter how hard the participants had been working, there was always time for a little social get-together in the evening.
It seems that the Student Forum was a great success and the hard work the organizers put in it paid off. Such events are always opportunities to make friends for a lifetime, and, as it turned out, also highly appreciated by policy experts. In case you are also interested in participating, next year Student Forum will launch again, probably also in April. So watch out for updates on their website!