March 16, 2016: Study Abroad Capacity-Building Workshop



Registration for this event is now closed. If you are still interested in attending, there may still be open places; please send an email to Nathan Hoffmann ( for more information.

The Brussels Fulbright Commission has received an exciting opportunity from the U.S. Study Abroad Branch and Department of State to host a Study Abroad Capacity-Building Workshop. The goal of this initiative is to help administrators from Belgian institutions of higher education to explore and set up academic exchanges with U.S. institutions. The workshop will take place on Wednesday, March 16, and last from 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM, with an optional brainstorming session for Flemish universities following from 2:00 to 3:00 PM. The location is the American Studies Center in the Royal Library of Belgium (3rd floor, Boulevard de l’Empereur 4 Keizerslaan, 1000 Brussels), and lunch will be provided.

The following schedule is subject to change:

9:00 AM Arrival and coffee
9:30 AM Welcome – Erica Lutes, Executive Director, Brussels Fulbright Commission
9:40 AM “What American Students Look for in International Exchanges” – Professor Jerome Sheridan, American University Brussels
10:20 AM “EU Support for International Exchanges” – Program Officer Graham Wilkie, EU Directorate-General Education and Culture
11:00 AM Coffee Break
11:20 AM “Belgium-U.S. Success Stories: A Panel Discussion”
– Chaired by Alison Woodward, Professor Emeritus, Institute for European Studies, VUB
– Gareth Harding, University of Missouri School of Journalism Brussels Campus
– Chantal Ertveld, International Funding Officer and North-American Affairs, ULB
– Hilde Lauwereys, InternationalLiiaisons Faculty of Engineering Technology, KUL
– Dirk Daenen, Dean, United Business Institutes – Brussels / Luxembourg
– Prof. Dr. Frank E. Billingsle, Director of Study Abroad, Vesalius College
– U.S. Student in Belgium
12:30 PM Lunch and further discussion
2:00 – 3:00 PM Optional: Brainstorming Session for Flemish Higher Education Institutions
Magalie Soenen, Policy Officer internationalization & mobility, Flemish government

The learning goals for the workshop are as follows:

1. Outline the international exchanges desired by students and higher education institutions in the U.S.

2. Exhibit the types and some specific examples of programs facilitated by EU institutions.

3. Explore the sources of assistance for engaging with EU agencies, programs, and potential U.S. partners.

4. Illustrate successful collaboration projects between the U.S. and Belgian higher education institutions.

General Concept
European universities now have access to a plethora of opportunities for cooperation with foreign universities through new EU initiatives such as the Erasmus+ program. However, as these funding mechanisms have only included U.S. universities as partners since the start of this year, there is a general lack of information about the application procedures and communication channels for European universities to apply for such grants.

Through explanation of the EU bodies involved and first-person examples of successful partnerships between U.S. and Belgian institutions, participants in this session will learn how to engage with EU programs and agencies to create joint projects and exchanges with U.S. universities and to bring U.S. students to Belgium utilizing this EU funding.

With their close proximity to the EU institutions, Belgian higher education institutions are especially well placed to take advantage of these exciting new collaborative possibilities through a focus on EU governance and institutions. Our Fulbright Commission’s experience in running the Fulbright-Schuman Program, along with contacts at the EU bodies in Brussels, gives us the capacity and contacts to undertake this program. Following the event, participants will be entered into a newly created database, allowing the Commission to facilitate their access to networking and potential partnership creation with U.S. higher education representatives on their future visits to Belgium.

Target Audience
Due to the relatively underdeveloped state of their current study abroad programs, Belgian university-colleges – the hautes écoles and hogescholen which traditionally have a more practical focus than the universities – will be the primary targets and principal beneficiaries of this workshop. We will also invite Belgian university representatives and higher education administrators from Belgium’s neighboring countries as well.

This program is made possible thanks to the support of the U.S. Study Abroad Branch (Office of Global Educational Programs) and the U.S. Department of State.