Leiden University Honours Class Students negotiate on Ukraine, Middle East, migration and defence during EU simulation at GGI in Brussels

Global Education and Innovation
Brussels -
March 2024

Between 21 – 22 March 2024, a cohort of highly motivated students from across different faculties at Leiden University took part in the Honours Class “Model European Union Simulation: Policies, Negotiations and Transatlantic Experiential Learning”.

The course, taught by the EURISGA Jean Monnet Chair Joachim Koops in cooperation with GGI’s Managing Director Silviu Piros, offers selected motivated Honours Class student teams the opportunity to be trained for -and participate in- an intensive European Union simulation and negotiation exercise.

This year,  the simulation took place at GGI in Brussels, just a stone throw away from the EU headquarters in Brussels, where the actual EU Council Summit took place in parallel to the students’ simulation from 21 - 22 March 2024. Students took on the roles of “alter egos” (i.e. the role of president or head of government of an EU member state) and negotiated real-life topics related to the current Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and the EU Council summit. These topics ranged from Ukraine and the Middle East to migration and EU defence.

Students not only had to draw on their in-depth knowledge and skills acquired during the two months intensive course, but also had to follow closely the interim results coming out of the actual European Council meeting taking place at the same time.

During the first day of the simulation, students also received expert input from Ina van den Bosche, Policy Officer at the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (and GPSSS 2021 alumna), providing far-reaching insights into her work on humanitarian aid and crisis management.

The first day was rounded-off with a visit to “Place Lux” outside the European Parliament for an after-work refreshment. Day 2 started with a guided tour through the European Parliament and the continuation of intense negotiations, culminating in a last-minute agreement amongst the students on the European Council conclusions.

Professor Joachim Koops noted “It was once again a wonderful experience for both the students and the teaching team – students really grew in confidence throughout the course and their negotiation skills and knowledge were impressive at the end of the simulation”. Silviu Piros, Managing Director at the Global Governance Institute remarked: “it was great to be part of the teaching team once again and to host the students here in Brussels for intense negotiations at GGI’s learning lab – students not only learned about the intricacies about EU policy-making, but also about inter-personal negotiations. Hopefully, this will also help them in their future careers!”