INTERVIEW WITH THIERRY MONFORTI, COLLEGE OF EUROPE IN BRUGES : MAINTAINING EXCELLENCE IN AN INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT.

Created in 1949, the College of Europe is often regarded as the point of reference in terms of post-university courses specialised in EU studies. The centre has an international reputation and plays host to some 400 students from fifty or so nationalities on its two campuses: Bruges (Belgium) and Natolin (Poland). Totally bilingual (French and English), the course offers a choice of five master's programmes taught by well-reputed professors as well as professionals from the European professions'. Short courses designed to help people acquire targeted knowledge are also taught. Thierry Monforti, director of Academic Service (Bruges Campus) and director of the Admissions Office, sets out here the main aspects of the course policy, which is taught by the College of Europe in a multicultural context.

What is the ambition underlying the College of Europe's approach?

To describe our mission, I would say in response to you: to train specialists in European subjects. But, to be more precise - I'll take up your words, ie "the ambition" of the College of Europe - I would gladly borrow this definition from one of our former rectors: "To train responsible European citizens". The College of Europe is not, though, a propaganda body for the EU institutions. We are only partly financed by the European Commission, namely about 23% of our annual budget comes from there. A good 15% or so of the other funding comes from public authorities, from Belgium of course, but also from most member states and Switzerland. Their representatives all sit on the board. Finally, in terms of its statute, I would like to specify that the College of Europe is of university level but is not a university. We are a Belgian private law foundation. In addition, we only offer a master's taught for a year and not a full cycle of studies going from degree to doctorate.

How are the master's courses organised?

Our students are offered a programme which is a cross between Anglo-Saxon and continental programmes. There is a part of the programme, compulsory in the first semester, for which most of the classes are given, by departments of studies, in a continental' way. The teaching of these classes is accompanied by tutorials. Here is where a real discussion can take place between the academic assistants and the students. Sometimes there is also a part of the classes organised with discussions between the professor himself and the students. But this type of teaching continues to be closer...

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