About us

Outstanding theses

Each year, the best theses submitted to CERIS-ULB Diplomatic School of Brussels are selected and published. The theses published by CERIS-ULB Diplomatic School of Brussels are research papers that contribute to research in the various fields of International Relations and Development.

Outstanding Thesis (Academic Year 2022-2023) by Mr. Luigi Garofalo: “A country in chaos for a world in disorder. The case of Libya.

Mr. Luigi Garofalo is a lawyer and an officer of the European Union. Between 2012 and 2021 he was an associate of a leading Italian law firm, where he dealt with a wide range of cases in corporate and banking law. In 2021 he moved to Brussels to join the Single Resolution Board, an European Union agency whose mission is to ensure the orderly resolution of failing banks in the Banking Union while preserving the financial stability. Over the years he has developed a keen interest in geopolitics and foreign policy, with particular attention to Europe and the Mediterranean area. He has published analyses and articles for a geopolitical journal. Mr Garofalo holds a Master Degree in Law from the Catholic University of Milan (Italy) and an Executive Master in International Politics from CERIS-ULB Diplomatic School of Brussels (Belgium). [read more]

Outstanding Thesis (Academic Year 2022-2023) by Mr. Ciarán Carey: “North by Northwest: the European Union and its British question.

Mr. Ciarán Carey hails from Scotland and is of French and Irish heritage. He is a policy advisor on matters of conflict, security and defence, with experience within international institutions, politics and civil society. He holds an undergraduate degree in Modern History and Modern Languages from the University of Glasgow, a Masters in the History of International Relations from the University of Nantes and a Masters in Political Science from the Institut d’Études Politiques in Aix-en-Provence. He began his career with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) at their Secretariat in Vienna and in the western Balkans and subsequently worked for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) at their headquarters in Brussels and in Afghanistan. After a spell working on conflict resolution in the NGO sphere in Brussels, he worked as an advisor on foreign and security policy in the Westminster and European parliaments respectively. At the time of writing he is Strategic Advisor for the National Defence Technology Centre of Denmark. [read more]

Ms. Jacqueline Nolan was awarded Alfred Cahen Prize (Academic Year 2020-2021) for her thesis Born on One Side of Partition: Reassessing Lessons of Northern Ireland’s Conflict from a 21 st-Century Multidisciplinary Perspective.

Ms. Jacqueline Nolan comes from Dublin, lives in Amsterdam, and works as a communication trainer and facilitator, and writer. She has a background in performance arts and broadcast journalism at Irish television and Dutch radio, and uses the creativity, curiosity and rigour of both disciplines in her current work during leadership, communication and intercultural programmes. Following the closure of Radio Netherlands Worldwide in 2013, she started collaborating with universities, writing teaching cases and articles to make theory and concepts more accessible and experiential; for example, in 2019, cases for Erasmus University MSc students on the Sustainable Development Goals’ ‘grand challenges’. Besides being the author of dozens of articles published for the radio’s website, and a number of teaching cases at the Case Centre global database, she is published in the Harvard Business Review, NRC Handelsblad and The Irish Times. [read more]

Executive Master in Governance & Development Policy Major of Promotion (Academic Year 2020-2021) thesis: “Understanding the Shift in Ethiopia’s ‘Development State’ Trajectory: A Political Settlement Perspective.”

Mr. Tsegab Kebebew Daka is an Ethiopian career diplomat. Ever since he entered the foreign service in 1994, he has served in various capacities in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, including in Ethiopia’s embassies in Beijing, the Hague and Washington DC. Prior to his recent posting as Deputy Chief of Mission in the Ethiopian Embassy in the Hague, Netherlands, he was the Director General for Asia and Pacific Directorate of the Ministry. He has also been the Coordinator for United Nations Security Council Affairs, leading the campaign for Ethiopia’s successful bid to join the Council for the 2017-18 term. Tsegab Kebebew Daka holds an MA in political science from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India and an Executive Master in Governance and Development Policy from CERIS-ULB Diplomatic School of Brussels. [read more]

Mr. Krisztián Manzinger was awarded Alfred Cahen Prize (Academic Year 2018-2019) for his thesis The Current Peace Process in Colombia As Nation Building – Todos Por Un Nuevo País?“.

Mr. Krisztián Manzinger graduated from the Faculty of Law of the University of Szeged, Hungary in 2005, but he also studied at the Faculty of Law of the West University of Timişoara, Romania, during the academic year of 2007/2008. Between 2008 and 2019, he served as a Hungarian diplomat, working in Budapest at the National Assembly and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in missions in Bucharest, Romania at the Embassy of Hungary, and in Brussels, Belgium at the Permanent Representation of Hungary to the EU. In 2018, he defended his Ph.D. titled ‘Territory-based Power-sharing as a Pre-requisite of Democratic Stability of Multicultural European States’, in Hungarian, at the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary, Budapest. His academic focus has been minority policies, state stability in vulnerable societies, and nation building. Since 2019, he has been a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the Károli Gáspár University teaching international law and minority policy focusing on Hungary and other Central European states. [read more]

Mr. Joel Hirv was awarded Alfred Cahen Prize (Academic Year 2017-2018) for his thesis Evolution of Values of the European Union in the Treaties: A Comparative Analysis

Mr. Joel Hirv, born on 23 November 1985 in Estonia, graduated from the University of Tartu with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics in 2007, having written his thesis on ‘Correlation between Integration Theories and Political Integration of the European Union in the Framework of Historical Institutionalism’. Between 2007 and 2013, he was advising Estonian Members of the European Parliament, focussing on matters relating to foreign affairs, security and defence, human rights, and development. He was coordinating campaigning activities of the International Campaign for Tibet in the European Parliament from 2014 to 2015. From 2015 onwards, he has been working in the Directorate for Legislative Acts, Directorate‑General for the Presidency of the European Parliament. (Photo by Marian Lasak). [read more]

Outstanding Thesis: “The teleworkability of the Brussels Capital Region’s economy and its potential impact on urban dynamics: The case of the food and beverage service sector.

Mr. Massimo Privitera holds a Master’s Degree in “European Economy and Business Law” and an Executive Master in “Governance and Development Policy, and has acquired substantial experience in the realm of EU policy working in Brussels for consultancies and NGOs. Furthermore, he has sharpened his policy analysis skills through several post-graduate courses and is keenly interested in sustainability in all its facets. He is the former Director of the European Network of Social Integration Enterprises (ENSIE) and currently works as Communications and Policy Coordinator for the European Startup Network (ESN), where he is in charge of analysing the policy landscape relating to startups and contributing to future policy developments. He also handles internal and external communications for the network, ensuring that ESN maintains strong relationships between member associations and creates connections with new partners on a consistent basis. [read more]

Thesis: “Sustainable development and financing in developing and least developed countries: The important role of development finance institutions and official development assistance”

Ms. Jona Basha is Albanian and currently lives in Brussels. She is a Senior Manager with Accountancy Europe, an association that voices the European accountancy profession with several European and international stakeholders. She deals with corporate reporting topics and specialises in sustainability reporting standard setting. Having graduated finance from University of Tirana, she joined PwC as tax and reporting consultant where she was ultimately in charge of delivering different financial reporting related projects as well as tax advisory ones. Later, she became the financial services manager in the headquarters of Albania’s largest conglomerate: Balfin Group. She was also an external lecturer on Taxation in the University of Tirana. Jona is a fellow member of the UK’s Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and has simultaneously successfully passed Level 1 of the globally recognised Chartered Financial Analyst designation. [read more]

Thesis : Political Risk Perception: Nord Stream 2 – Risk or Chance? Political Risk Management and its Role for European Cooperation.

Ms. Sabine Yang-Schmidt is a German expert for international economics and politics with a focus on business, risk and strategy consulting. Her successes include having designed and launched numerous representative offices abroad, co-founding and initiating international projects on women in leadership or human rights and business ethics, and accelerating multiple international business collaboration projects. Her most recent task was to set up and manage the State of Berlin’s first business office abroad in Beijing, China. With an Executive Master in International Politics, a University Diploma in Area Studies on East Asia and Law Studies, and certificates in International Relations and Political Economies, Cybersecurity, EU Policy, Diplomacy, Governance, Ms. Yang-Schmidt’s skills and attitude toward lifelong learning bring the latest trends in international relations to her work, helping organisations, institutions, and businesses to navigate in an era of global political and economic transformation. [read more]

Thesis : How has economic inequality between Israel and Palestine impacted the creation of a Two-State solution?

Mr. Paul A. Smith is an expert adviser in Strategic Planning and Capacity Building for reform. Paul is currently supporting UK FCO develop a HRM Strategy to assist a government in the Middle East. Before he worked in Iraq as NATO’s Senior Civilian (effectively its Ambassador in Baghdad) reporting directly to the UN Assistant Secretary General (Operations). This mission included the review and rebuild of a failing 26 nation led international programme of reform, that required a complete overhaul to ensure it delivered the agreed objectives and gap analysis to identify required additional support. Paul has acted in a number of strategic planning and senior management roles for NATO and other international bodies since 2000. Prior to this was a UK Army Officer serving in a variety of roles. Paul has a BSc in ‘Information Management Systems’ an MSc in ‘Designing Information Systems’, is a Graduate (and returned as an instructor) of the UK’s prestigious Joint Services Command & Staff College and a Senior Executive Coach (Level 7). After receiving his Executive Master’s in ‘Governance and International Development’ from CERIS-ULB, Belgium, he will apply his learning in a joint UNDP/UK FDCO project in Africa and then hopes to return in the autumn to study another Executive Master’s course at CERIS-ULB. [read more]

Thesis: Energy dimension of the Chinese Neighbourhood Policy, Vera Lipkovskaya

Ms. Vera Lipkovskaya started her career at international law firm CMS International B.V. in Moscow as a commercial lawyer and founder of the corporate Chinese desk aimed at establishing liaisons with the Shanghai office and producing exchange in the field of business and commerce. She also worked as an associate professor at Law Faculty of the Moscow State University by M. Sholokhov. Since 2014, she works as a senior expert at Gazprom Representative Office in Brussels being specialized in energy, environment and decarbonization issues, as well as EU affairs. She has numerous articles in various business and legal editions. Vera holds a PhD in laws and a Bachelor’s degree from the Moscow State University, a Master of Laws from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and a Master of Arts in International Politics from CERIS. She speaks Russian, English, French, Chinese, Spanish, and Dutch. [read more]

Thesis: The diplomatic potential of Canada: Soft power in Decline?, Honourable Iain Rankin

Mr. Iain T. Rankin grew up in Timberlea, formally from Mabou, Nova Scotia. Before entering politics in 2013 Iain gained experience working as an operations manager, and business analyst Iain was Director of Operations for Dymon Storage Corporation, in Ottawa, Ontario. After moving back to Nova Scotia, in 2011, Iain successfully managed the launch of Premiere Self Storage in Burnside Business Park, and went on to work as a Project Manager in the commercial division of Armco Capital, focusing on redevelopment assignments in Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Florida. While serving as the MLA for Timberlea-Prospect Iain previously served as the Government Caucus Chair, Vice Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Chair of the Nova Scotia section of the Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie, and as Minister of the Environment. He served as the Minister of Lands and Forestry and is a member of the Treasury and Policy Board. Honourable Iain Thomas Rankin served as the 29th premier of Nova Scotia from February 23, 2021 to August 31, 2021. [read more]

Thesis: A Comparative Analysis of Renewable Energy Prices in the EU and Oil Prices from 2006-2014.

Mr. Can Ögütçü, outreach officer for the International Energy Charter Secretariat based in Brussels, works on the accession of new countries to the Energy Charter Treaty as well as investment reviews for countries. Can has been working in the energy sector for more than 5 years both as a banker and analyst in the private sector and as an international organisation staffer. At the International Energy Charter Secretariat, based in Brussels, he is currently in charge of relations with observer and non-member countries, particularly for investment climate issues. He supports non-member accession to the 54 member State Energy Charter Treaty. Can has actively participated in the G-20 Energy Sustainability Working Group Meetings in 2015 dealing with access to affordable energy and the need for investments in the energy sector despite commercially and legally challenging environments. Previously, he was working in the banking sector in the Emerging Markets Mergers and Acquisitions team of Rothschild & Cie in Paris, working on large scale energy projects in the MENA and the CIS régions. He is a law graduate of the LSE. [read more]

Executive Master in Governance & Development Policy Major of Promotion (Academic Year 2018-2019) Thesis: Zambia’s pursuit of sustainable development: how far is it from realizing its Vision 2030.

Mr. Moses Ngulube is a Zambian citizen currently working with CARE’s global Inclusive Governance Team as Senior Governance Advisor – West and Central Africa. Moses has held similar regional roles with White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and World Vision International. In addition, he has also volunteered with Amnesty International in East Africa and the Middle East. Moses holds two masters: one in International Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (from the Humanitarian Aid Studies Centre, Spain) and in Governance and Development Policy (from CERIS, Belgium). His research interests include inequality and development, decentralization, transparency, accountability and participation. He communicates in two foreign languages: English and French. [read more]

Thesis: “Deconstructing the Business of Terrorism”

Mr. Georges Ortmann started his career as a consultant with Ernst & Young (EY) Belgium. At EY, he focused on public sector and not-for-profit clients, successfully completing missions in the fields of public finance, economic analysis and organizational strategy for national and regional governments, as well as international institutions and not-for-profit foundations. After three years with EY, Georges decided to move into areas that would allow him to maximize the societal impact of his work. He recently joined Telos Impact, which is a small boutique advisory firm based in Brussels, active in the fields of Venture Philanthropy and Impact Investing. Georges holds a Master in Business Engineering from Solvay Brussels School of Economics & Management and an Executive Master in International Politics from CERIS. As a native from the German-speaking community of Belgium, and having spent time in South America during his studies, he is fluent in German, French and English, and is conversational in Dutch and Spanish. [read more]

Thesis : MERCOSUR-EU: A new “window of opportunity” for a complex trade negotiation.

Mr. Ramiro Velloso is an Argentinian diplomat who serves as Head of Economic & Trade Section at the Argentine Mission to the European Union. He entered in 1999 to the Argentine National Institute of Foreign Service (ISEN) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship and throughout his diplomatic career he worked mainly in Trade and Economic issues. Prior to his current position he also served abroad at the Argentine Embassy in India and at the Argentine Consulate in Toronto, Canada. He has a Degree in Economics from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and an Executive Master in International Politics from the “Centre Européen de Recherches Internationales et Stratégiques” (CERIS). [read more]

Our courses

Executive Master in Development Policy

Executive Master in International Politics

Tailor-made Intensive Courses