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Welcome to Ghent and the 2019 MARPE Diplo ISP!

The 2019 MARPE Diplo ISP is the first out of two Intensive Study Programmes organized by the MARPE Network team within the KA203 Erasmus+ project “MARPE Diplo: Fostering European Citizenship through Public, Corporate and Civic Diplomacy”.

The Intensive Study Programme takes place in Ghent, Belgium between October 28th – November 9th 2019 and is hosted by Arteveldehogeschool – see short-form programme.


… now that this event is over, here are the highlights!


The 2019 MARPE Diplo ISP – the STORY


The ISP is designed to be an experience through which students from the 5 strategic partners explore the fields of public, corporate and civic diplomacy under the guidance of the MARPE Diplo team, invited speakers and lecturers. During the 2 weeks of the ISP 42 students attended lectures, workshops and delivered presentations. Here are a few quantitative descriptors:

  • 12 nationalities (Belgian, Brazilian, French, German, Italian, Lebanese, Morrocan, Peruvian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Venezuelan)
  • 6 delegations
    • 5 students – Artevelde University College, Belgium
    • 6 students – CEU Universidad Cardenal Herrera, Valencia, Spain
    • 8 students – ISCSP, University of Lisbon, Portugal
    • 15 students – University of Bucharest, Romania
    • 5 students – Université de Lorraine, France
    • 3 students – IHECS, Brussels, Belgium
  • 15 different academic backgrounds (eg: Communication Sciences, Public Relations, Advertising, Strategy, Business Administration, Political Sciences, Journalism, International Relations, Languages and Society, Psychology, etc.)
  • 27 Bachelor students, 15 master students

But the most important aspects about the students that attended the 2019 MARPE Diplo ISP are the qualitative ones. For 2 weeks we saw 42 students interested in making the most out of this ISP at academic, personal and (inter)cultural levels; they were receptive, inquisitive, hard-working, open to the extra-ordinary setting and configuration of the Intensive Study Programme, everything that you wish out of students attending such a programme. 


One of the core objectives of the MARPE Diplo ISP is to expose students to the experience and expertise of lecturers and professionals from a variety of fields in order to explore and explain the complexity of the intersection between strategic communication, public diplomacy, corporate (or organisational) diplomacy and civic diplomacy. Furthermore, another objective of the programme was to give the students the opportunity to interact with academics and professionals coming from a multitude of backgrounds. Based on the topic of the day, we had lecturers from the strategic partners, from the associated partners or invited speakers. We thank them all for joining us and sharing their knowledge with the MARPE Diplo ISP students!

Lecturers from the Strategic Partners

  • Anca Anton (FJSC – University of Bucharest, Romania)
  • Anne-Marie Cotton (Artevelde University College, Belgium)
  • Hélène Boulanger (Université de Lorraine, France)
  • José Martínez Saez (Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera, Spain)
  • Manuel Millán (Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera, Spain)
  • Marian Popovici (FJSC – University of Bucharest, Romania)
  • Mihaela Păun (FJSC – University of Bucharest, Romania)
  • Samuel Nowakowski (Université de Lorraine, France)
  • Sónia Sebastião (ISCSP – University of Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Susana de Carvalho Spinola (ISCSP – University of Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Teresa Almeida e Silva (ISCSP – University of Lisbon, Portugal)

Lecturers from the Associated Partners

  • António Rapoula (APCE, Portugal)
  • Bruno Asdourian (University of Fribourg, Switzerland)
  • Stefaan Verhulst (GovLab, USA)

Invited Speakers

  • Amos Guiora (University of Utah, USA)
  • Ben Jehaes (BIO – Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries)
  • Evandro Oliveira (CECS – Minho University & HMKW Berlin, Germany)
  • Jorge Aranda (Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Portugal)
  • José Monteiro Limão (Eupportunity – European Affairs Consulting)
  • Juan-Luis Manfredi-Sánchez (Universidad Castilla La Mancha – ESADE, Spain)
  • Tu Anh Ha (ICF Next, Belgium)



The MARPE Diplo Intensive Programme (2019 edition) took place over a period of 2 weeks, from Oct. 28th to Nov. 9th, 2019. The classes were held from Monday to Saturday, starting at 9.00 and ending at 17.00/18.00. 

The programme was structured in order to understand and explore, from a theoretical and practical perspective, the 3 dimensions of the project: public diplomacy, corporate (or organisational) diplomacy and civic diplomacy, all under the umbrella and through the lens of strategic communication.

Each module offered the students theoretical lectures, professional presentations and workshops in order to allow them to begin their exploration of the 3 dimensions of the project. During the ISP, the students went through 3 evaluations (the first one started before arriving in Ghent, during a pre-ISP period meant to familiarise them with the basic concepts of the programme). 

Throughout the programme, the students used 2 platforms: 1) FAD, a learning platform provided by the Université de Lorraine, on which they could follow presentations, upload assignments, receive feedback and evaluations; 2) a Facebook group for a more informal and immediate type of communication.



Classes were held in two of Belgium’s wonderful cities, Ghent and Brussels. 

In Ghent, we were hosted by Artevelde University College in 2 of its campuses: Kantienberg and Leeuwstraat. The students benefited from the modern Kantienberg campus and its facilities, as well as the breathtaking 10th floor panorama. In addition, before the students started their assignment on public diplomacy, we had the pleasure of being hosted by the KANTL (Royal Academy for Dutch Language and Literature) and having 3 of our lectures there.

In Brussels, we were hosted by IHECS (l’Institut des Hautes Études des Communications Sociales), where the students presented their group assignments, filled in the evaluation forms and had the opportunity to explore some of Brussels’ delicious attractions.

On their day off the students visited more of Belgium’s attractions, such as Brugges, Antwerp or Oostende, while in the evenings of the ISP the old town in Ghent was a charming background for relaxation.


The ISP has a strong learning component for the project team, and one of the dimensions of the learning process was filled through the evaluation forms given to the students.

The evaluation of the ISP by the students was done in two steps and using both quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods. After the first and the second week of the ISP the students were asked to fill in online forms evaluating various aspects of each lecture/presentation/activity. They were able to do a quantitative evaluation of each class, while also giving non-structured feedback for each day or activity. A third online questionnaire was applied at the end of the ISP. It contained an overall evaluation of the ISP, this time focused on organisational and administrative components of the programme, as well as on motivation, take-aways and personal experience. This final evaluation also had a qualitative component through the world cafe exercise: the students were divided into groups and the members of the organising team spent 7-10 minutes with each team, discussing a specific topic. The conclusions of each discussion were subsequently debated and integrated into the learnings and improvements for the next ISP, in 2020.

We would like to share with you a few quantitative (graphs) and qualitative (testimonials) responses that motivate us as a team and show us we are on the right track with the MARPE network projects in general and with the MARPE Diplo project in particular:

Overall evaluation – 4.72 | Academic/learning outcomes – 4.64 | Personal outcomes – 4.48 

Glad to have taken part in this programme! Very open process, with kind lecturers willing to help out in any way possible. Good debates and discussions made me think of essay ideas and new perspectives for my professional and academic careers. – Breno, ISCSP, University of Lisbon, Portugal

I recommend the ISP to all students of all cultures, ages and majors. You will learn things that you will not likely find anywhere else. – Robert, University of Bucharest, Romania

It was a great experience, a little bit overwhelming but I am so happy to be a part of the ISP programme. – Manar, Université de Lorraine, France

It was a memorable experience in terms of learning and cultural exchange. – Lais, ISCSP, University of Lisbon, Portugal

It was an interesting, diverse, intensive experience. I enjoyed it! – Ana-Maria, University of Bucharest, Romania

It was one of the most beautiful experiences I ever had! I loved the entire project! 🙂 – Alexandru, University of Bucharest, Romania

It’s a really interesting experience and I loved to be part of this. It’s intensive, but worth it. I encourage everyone to do it. You will have so much fun. – Ana, CEU Cardenal Herrera, Valencia, Spain

It’s intensive but very interesting! – Alba, CEU Cardenal Herrera, Valencia, Spain

Such an amazing experience… not only academic but also cultural. You get to meet new people, new cultures, new places and new knowledge. – Saory, CEU Cardenal Herrera, Valencia, Spain

These were two intensive weeks to learn and interact with different cultures and perspectives. Definitely recommend the program for his quality, European approach and great outcomes. – Christian, IHECS, Belgium


We leave you with a short video of these 2 weeks of work and fun!


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