Educational Field Trip by “Leadership in Communities” Club Members to Brussels

A group of 25 student members of Athens College High School’s Leadership in Communities Club went on an educational field trip to Brussels from Thursday, January 30, 2020 to Sunday, February 2, 2020.  There, they visited the Headquarters of the European Parliament, The European Commission, the Council of the European Union and other European institutions. Students were accompanied by High School Director, Mr. Ch. Konstantopoulos, the Club’s teacher-advisor, Mr. F. Takopoulos, and faculty members, Ms. D. Alexaki and Mr. D. Kolyvas.


The first day (Thursday) began with a visit to the European Parliament where they attended an info session presented by Mr. G. Stylianos, member of the European Parliament’s Directorate-General for Communication, who informed them on how the European Parliament is structured and operates. This was followed by a meeting with Greek MEPs, namely Ms. E. Vozemberg, Mr. Em. Kefalogiannis and Mr. S. Kympouropoulos, who reported on their experiences as members of the European Parliament and answered students' questions. Lastly, students met with AC alumnus, Mr. I. Palaiologos ΄97, Brussels correspondent for “Kathimerini” newspaper.



On Friday, January 31st, they first visited the European Commission, where they were hosted in the Hall of the College of Commissioners, the conference room in the European Commission’s Berlayment office building. There, Mr. M. Schinas, Vice-President of the European commission, and Mr. Ch. Bouzouras, on behalf of the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, welcomed the students. Mr. Schinas presented in detail the Commission’s structure, its central policy guidelines and objectives for the next five years, and spoke about his portfolio (promoting the European way of life), whilst Mr. Bouzouras talked to them about the European Commission’s role as a political executive body of the European Union. A robust discussion with the students ensued.



The mission then visited the European Economic and Social Committee where they met with Ms. K. Serifi, the Committee’s spokesperson, followed by visit to the Council of the European Union. There, they attended a presentation on “The European Council and its Strategic Agenda,” given by Ms. R. Gabar, spokesperson for the Secretariat of the Council of the European Union.  The students had an opportunity to chat with her about how the Council operates and took a tour of the Council’s plenary hall in the Justus Lipsius Building. Later that afternoon, they completed their visit to European institutions by meeting with Ms. P. Michou, Director-General of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operation of the European Commission, who had a thorough discussion with the students about the Commission’s activities.


The Club’s field trip to Brussels ended on a lovely note with an excursion to the city of Bruges as well as the campus of Leuven University.