Students Lucas Della Ventura and Anthony DiFlorio were among one hundred undergraduate and graduate students from universities across the USA to attend the European Student Conference sponsored by the European Union and hosted by Yale University, which aimed at addressing some of the major challenges confronting the European Union. Participants were expected to create policy papers, engage in debates, draft plans of action, and learn about European Horizons, the student-led think tank behind the conference.
Students participated in a dialogue on wide-ranging issues such as economics, immigration, institutions, European identity, and security, and were divided into task forces that focused on issue areas important to the future of the European Union. The 2016 task forces were: Economy and Innovation, Democracy and Institutions, Immigration and Integration, European Identity, Transatlantic Relations, and Entrepreneurship.
Della Ventura, who was part of the task force focused on Transatlantic Relations, had the opportunity to represent his group by pitching policy ideas to participants and officials. The group focused on EU-NATO cooperation and plans for small civilian missions across the EU that could create greater “resilience to hybrid warfare.”
DiFlorio participated in the workshop focused on social entrepreneurship. Participants in this task force pitched business ideas relating to refugees to industry experts including high ranking EU officials. DiFlorio’s group ultimately won the competition and received $5,000 as well as mentorship from the Yale School of Management, the European Horizons start-up incubator, and Google. The group will continue to solicit funding and additional mentorship.
Both Della Ventura and DiFlorio called the conference an incredible experience to connect with peers and professionals in diplomacy. “I walked away really inspired,” said DiFlorio. The two felt the participatory nature of the conference was an effective and meaningful way to tackle issues facing the EU.
European Horizons is a think tank comprised of students and focusing on European identity, the social market economy, European integration, and transatlantic relations. Both DiFlorio and Della Ventura expressed enthusiasm for continued involvement with the organization, and look forward to sharing their knowledge with peers at SHU Diplomacy.
For more information on the European Horizons Student Conference, click here »