A Summer of Business, Diplomacy, and Networking

Ambassador Gardner meets the summer interns. Photo: USEU
Ambassador Gardner meets the summer interns. Photo: USEU

The U.S. Mission to the EU has been in the middle of the action this summer: President Obama was in town for the G-7 summit, Secretary of State John Kerry was spotted at the Embassy prior to his visit to NATO in June, and USEU officials were heavily involved with the sixth round of the history-making Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations. Being a college student who has only studied international relations and the EU in the classroom, it has been an invaluable and exciting opportunity to experience diplomacy firsthand, especially in light of the many world events that have recently taken place. Continue reading “A Summer of Business, Diplomacy, and Networking”

The Importance of Economic Partnership in Confronting Obstacles and Opportunity

In recent months, Secretary of State John Kerry has reiterated the importance of the U.S.-EU partnership and called for a “transatlantic renaissance,” which he describes as “a new burst of energy and commitment and investment in the three roots of our strength: our economic prosperity, our shared security, and the common values that sustain us.” These three roots have been at the foundation of my work in the U.S. Mission to the EU’s economic section this summer.

Harvard Kennedy School Juster Fellow, Amy Larsen, at USEU
Harvard Kennedy School Juster Fellow, Amy Larsen, at USEU. Photo: USEU

Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to contribute to advancing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) in several ways. One of my tasks was to develop a more nuanced understanding of Europeans’ thoughts, concerns, questions, and expectations relating to T-TIP. In thinking about how to approach this task creatively, I began by conducting a number of interviews with individuals from the business sector, EU institutions, and think tanks. I also decided to reach out to new sources that might be untapped, some of which would fall within my own demographic of young professionals, in order to add a broader perspective to the discussion. Continue reading “The Importance of Economic Partnership in Confronting Obstacles and Opportunity”

Democracy in Action in the (Other) Capital of the EU

When I first started learning about the European Union as an undergraduate, the dominant opinion in the political science literature that I read was that the European Parliament (EP) was a training ground for promising but untested future politicians or a victory lap for those who had finished their national political careers—an institution with little actual power that did not attract serious interest from mainstream parties back in the Member States.

Outside look of European Parliament
Outside look of European Parliament in Strasbourg

In the five years since the entrance into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, a whole new kind of Parliament has emerged, one that not only has broader official power but that also continuously works to raise its profile and carve out an increased role for itself within the EU institutional framework.  The U.S. Mission to the European Union views a strong and close relationship with the EP as a key part of its broader engagement with EU institutions on the full range of transatlantic issues. Continue reading “Democracy in Action in the (Other) Capital of the EU”

EU Interns: Giving Them Croissants & Food for Thought

Ambassador Gardner with EU and U.S. interns. Photo: USEU
Ambassador Gardner with EU and U.S. interns. Photo: USEU

Croissants, stagiaires, and visitor badges: What do these things have in common? They can all be found at the briefings I helped organize this summer for EU stagiaires (interns) to help them learn more about transatlantic relations.

Since starting my Public Affairs (PA) internship this summer with the U.S. Mission to the EU (USEU), I’ve realized that youth outreach is an important part of the Mission’s work. The Mission has various programs that are focused on youth and aim to foster better relationships between the U.S. and the EU. Continue reading “EU Interns: Giving Them Croissants & Food for Thought”

USEU Exchange Program Alumni – Diplomacy at Work and Play

As a new member of USEU’s Public Affairs team, I find it both exciting and challenging to try to grasp the extent of collaboration between the United States and the EU. While our governments seek common ground on a variety of issues, the Public Affairs office engages in people-to-people diplomacy.

2014-05-06_ep_alumni_gardner_400x234
Ambassador Gardner meets European Parliament staffers after they return from an IVLP trip to the United States. Photo: USEU

As a U.S. Government program alumna myself, I strongly believe that exchange programs are one of the most effective and long-lasting ways to strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation between people and nations. In my new job, I see this in action every day. Since my arrival in January, my primary responsibility has been to work with USEU alumni of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), a flagship exchange that sends European professionals on tours of the United States. Continue reading “USEU Exchange Program Alumni – Diplomacy at Work and Play”