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Brussels Talking

Tuesday, 6 March, 2018 - 17:00 to Wednesday, 23 May, 2018 - 09:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Building K
Auditorium 1
Department of Communication Studies

About "Brussels Talking: Europe, Media & Society"

The VUB Communication Studies Lecture Series is a prestigious series of compact two-hour conferences on media and communication in Europe with prominent guest speakers from the European media industry, journalism, academia, NGO’s, and European institutions

The Lecture Series enhances understanding of topical debates about economic, political, technical, legal and societal aspects of media and communication in Europe.

The lectures take place, unless mentioned otherwise, on the first and the third Tuesday of the month, from 17h to 19h, from March to May. Lectures and roundtables of approximately 45-60 minutes are followed by 45-60 minutes of discussion.


Click here for the registration form

Confirmed speakers for 2018 so far are (full bios below):

Attention: the room of the LS could change. Please consult this page regularly and especially before coming to the LS.

March 6, 2018 - Ross Biggam – Vice-President Government Relation EMEA, Discovery Communications. "Threats and Opportunities for Broadcasting in the Digital Era." Room Q.B

March 13, 2018 - Thierry Geerts - Country Director, Google Belgium. "Reinventing Media in the Digital Age." Room Q.B

March 20, 2018 - Andrea Renda – Senior Researcher CEPS (Center for European Policy Studies), Professor LUISS. "Ex Machina: current challenges in the ethics and regulation of artificial intelligence." Room Q.B

March 27, 2018 - Alberto Alemanno - Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law, HEC Paris; Global Professor of Law, NYU School of Law in Paris; Director The Good Lobby. "Beyond clickactivism: how citizens can lobby the EU through new digital, participatory mechanisms." Room D0.05

April 17, 2018 - Anna Herold - Cabinet of Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, previously Digital Economy and Society. "Digital Single Market reforms: are we getting there?" Room Q.B

April 24, 2018 - Siada El Ramly - Director General EDiMA, European trade association representing online platforms and the platform ecossytem. "The European Digital Agenda – the Digital Single Market: what is really going on? Industry insights into Europe’s approach to digital." Room D0.05

May 8, 2018 - Aidan White – Director, Ethical Journalism Network. "Ethical Journalism as an Inspiration for Free Expression." Room D0.05

May 15, 2018 - Christophe Ginistry – CEO AGOREP. "Social Media in the Digital Era: current and future trends." Room D0.05

May 22, 2018 - Andrew Finkel – Journalist and co-founder P24 (Platform for independent journalism). "Media Independence: A tale of life and death" Room D0.08

Social Media

This year we make the lecture series topics more interactive. Therefore, we launched a page on facebook and a channel on twitter. Why not, we even created a wordpress page (blog).

Facebook community page: BrusselsTalking

Twitter: @BrusselsTalking

Wordpress: https://brusselstalking.blog

Department Communication Studies

Support by the following research deparments:

SMIT: http://smit.vub.ac.be/

CEMESO: http://cemeso.vub.ac.be/

DESIRE: http://researchcentredesire.eu/

Registration formula

The Lecture Series is open to all, and is particularly relevant for media and communication professionals, from the EU and other international institutions, NGO representatives, and academics.

The lectures are an integral part of the two English-language VUB Masters of Science in Communication Studies on ‘New Media and Society in Europe’ and ‘Journalism and Media in Europe’. They provide the students a full-portfolio insight into the evolving landscape of media and communication in Europe.

The VUB Communication Studies Lectures Series is held in Building K, Auditorium 1, on the VUB campus Etterbeek, Pleinlaan 2, 1050.

Attendance is free of charge but registration is compulsory at:

Registration page under construction

Full bios of the speakers

Alberto Alemanno is an academic, civic advocate and public interest lawyer. He’s Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law at HEC Paris, Global Professor of Law at New York University School of Law and Founder of The Good Lobby, the leading advocacy skill-sharing advocacy community connecting people with expertise with civil society organizations who need them in pursuit of the public interest. Due to his commitment to bridge the gap between academic research and policy action, the World Economic Forum nominated him Young Global Leader in 2015. Alberto is a regular contributor to Bloomberg, Le Monde, Politico Europe, Il Sole 24 Ore, and his work has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, Science, and the Financial Times. His new book, ‘Lobbying for Change: Find Your Voice to Create a Better Society’ (Iconbooks, 2017), provides a timely analysis and guide to levelling the democratic playing field by empowering ordinary citizens to speak up and inform policy decisions at local, national and international level. Originally from Italy, Alberto is a graduate of Harvard Law School, the College of Europe and holds a PhD in International Law & Economics from Bocconi University.

Siada El Ramlyis the Director General of EDiMA – the European association representing online platforms and the platform ecosystem. Politico named her one of the 20 women who shape Brussels two years running (2016/2017); she has extensive experience in European public affairs and in particular experience in the European Digital sectors- having worked for the hardware and software industries in the past. Before joining EDiMA Siada was Secretary General of the European Software Association, Director of the AHIMA global services office, Director General of the European Federation of Independent Producers as well as Senior EU Affairs Manager at Digital Europe. Siada has furthermore worked for the content sector and the healthcare sectors. She also set up her own consultancy company that provides public affairs, association management and strategic advice to interest groups. Siada holds an MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) - University of London and a BA in Political Science – specialising in International Relations from the American University in Cairo.

Andrew Finkel is a journalist who has been based in Turkey since 1989, corresponding for a variety of print and broadcast media including The Times, The Economist, TIME, CNN and for the Latitude section of The New York Times. More unusually, he has worked in Turkish language media-- in news rooms, as a featured columnist and on television. His articles editorials and broadcast commentaries have appeared in a variety of places including The Washington Post, The Guardian, Observer, Financial Times and on the BBC. He is a contributing editor and restaurant critic for Cornucopia Magazine. Finkel is a founder and executive of Platform24 (P24) a Turkish-registered NGO intended to strengthen the integrity of independent media. He was a Journalist Fellow at the University of Michigan and is the author of scholarly articles on Turkish media. His second book, Turkey: What Everyone Needs to Know is published by Oxford University Press.

Thierry Geerts graduated as Solvay Business Engineer at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 1989. During his studies, he already founded a student enterprise, within the framework of the Entrepreneurial Talent Corporation. After his studies, he started working as auditor for Coopers & Lybrand (now PWC), but quite soon his passion for media, online marketing and innovation led him to management and board positions at, among others, Corelio Publishing (De Standaard, Het Nieuwsblad, Vers l'Avenir), Radio Nostalgie, VAR (Radio één, MnM, Stubru), Clickx Magazine and Passe-Partout. In 2008, he became CEO of Corelio Business Development and of Arkafund. Since 2011, he is Country Director of Google Belgium and as such he is positioned in the heart of online marketing and innovative entrepreneurship, two of the fields in which our faculty aims to excel on an international level.

Christophe Ginisty is a digital strategist, a social media intelligence expert and a keynote speaker on social media trends. Christophe started his career at the age of 24 when he founded Rumeur Publique, a PR business specialized in technology that has quickly become one of the leading agencies on the French market. In 2011, Edelman appointed him “European Digital / Technology Evangelist” with the responsibility of Deputy Managing Director, EMEA. In 2013, after being elected President of the international Public Relations Association (IPRA), he created the ReputationTime cycle of international conferences, a series of events of reference in Europe about the challenges of reputation in the digital era. Passionate by the impact of social media on the society, he opened his blog in 2004 and founded Internet sans Frontières (Internet without borders) in 2008, an NGO dedicated to the promotion and the advocacy of the freedom of speech online. He is a published author on the digital revolution and a frequent contributor to business publications as well as TV show in Belgium where he is invited as a communication specialist.

Anna Herold is currently Member of Cabinet of Günther H. Oettinger, European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, previously responsible for Digital Economy and Society. She has been previously Assistant to Deputy Director-General of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT) of the European Commission and before that she was in charge of electronic communications policy design in the Unit of this DG responsible for Regulatory Coordination & Business, where she led a policy outreach team on the Telecoms Single Market initiative. She has worked for the European Commission since 2003, previously dealing with media and audiovisual policy as well as competition policy. Anna holds a PhD in Law from the European University Institute in Florence and has written widely on media law and policy, international trade and competition law.

Andrea RENDA is a Senior Research Fellow and Head of Regulatory Policy at the Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies. He is also Chair for Digital innovation at the College of Europe in Bruges, as well as Senior Fellow at Duke University's Kenan Institute for Ethics. He specializes in regulatory governance, cyberpolicy and the ethics, law and economics of emerging technologies. He also specialized in EU law and policy. Over the past two decades, Andrea Renda has provided academic advice to several institutions, including the European Commission, the European Parliament, the OECD, the World Bank and several national governments around the world. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Law and Economics awarded by the Erasmus University of Rotterdam.

Aidan White  is the Director of the Ethical Journalism Network, a global campaign for media ethics, good governance and self-regulation which is currently carrying out work in the Western Balkans, Turkey, Pakistan, Africa and East Asia. Up to 2011, White worked in Brussels as General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists for 23 years. He is Irish and educated in Ireland and the United Kingdom where he learned his trade as a journalist. Before joining the IFJ he worked with The Guardian, having served earlier as a reporter and senior editorial manager for leading regional and national newspapers in Britain. He is a former member of the British Press Council and helped appoint the Board of the new British media self-regulator IMPRESS. He is an authority on ethical journalism and media regulation and the author of the book To Tell You the TRUTH, published in 2008. In 2003 he founded the International News Safety Institute, a coalition of media, journalism support groups and media unions, which provides practical support for journalists and media in area of high risk. He is also a founder and board member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (1993), a network of international press freedom groups. He has also beenChairman of Internews Europe, a major media development agency and an adviser for the Media Diversity Institute in London. He   has produced reports on media and journalism policy for UNESCO, the ILO, UNICEF, the UN Human Rights Commission, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the European Union.

Ross Biggam is currently VicePresident Government Relation EMEA, Discovery Communications. After studying at Exeter and Saarbrücken, Ross worked as Legal Adviser to the House of Lords EU Select Committee before joining ITV, the leading commercial broadcaster in the UK, where he ended up as Head of European Affairs. In April 2000, he moved to Brussels to become Director General of the Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT) before moving to Discovery in November 2015. Ross is also Visiting Professor in Creative Industries at the University of Glasgow.

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