SUMMER SCHOOL | European Policy Communications in the Digital Era 2019

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An advanced training programme in policy communications featuring workshops and discussions with leading European experts.

Registration fee: 500 € per Module or  1800 € for four Modules.

Included: Lectures and interactive workshops in policy communications; Certificate of completion; Food and drinks in the breaks; Networking and social programme

Speakers from: POLITICO Europe, FleishmanHillard, Transport & Environment, Cambridge University, Better Europe Public Affairs, Hertie School of Governance, Press Club Brussels, Impact Assessment Institute, CEU Center for European Union Research, Centre for Policy Writing…

Who should apply? Advocacy or communications specialists, public affairs professionals, policy makers, researchers, policy analysts…

Date and location: July 16-19, 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal (Jupiter Lisboa Hotel)

See photos from this event here

Deadline: May 31, 2019.

Late registration deadline: July 8, 2019.

About the Summer School

To succeed in its goals, your policy communication strategy needs to be well timed, clear, factual, diverse, targeted, it needs to tell a story and be original. But achieving this is not an easy feat. Our Summer School will teach you how to use a variety of communication tools effectively to advocate for policy change. Beyond policy briefs, impact assessments and op-eds, the digital era has brought new possibilities and challenges to the world of policy communications. For example, multimedia outputs and social media are now among primary tools for policy advocacy and striking the right balance between evidence-based and emotion-based policy communication is crucial in many ways. During the summer school, leading European experts in policy communications will address these issues and more, in a highly interactive setting with practical workshops and lectures. The participants can choose between Modules in timing & targeting, advanced policy brief writing, op-ed writing, speechwriting, policy evaluation writing, podcasting, grassroots lobbying and use of social media in policy communications, alongside round table discussions and lectures with EU level decision makers on issues of policy communications. The four full days of the programme will equip the participants with tools and skills needed to achieve excellence in all aspects of policy communications, from traditional to digital.

Aims and Outcomes

The participants of the summer school will:

  • Obtain the skills for effective and impactful policy communications.
  • Learn by doing – through interactive lectures and workshops.
  • Get an advanced understanding of the dynamics of the European policy process.
  • Learn how to be “heard in Brussels” – wherever you are based.
  • Learn and exchange best (and worst) practices in policy communications.
  • Have an opportunity for networking with EU-level decision-makers and experts.
  • Receive an advanced certificate in policy communications.

Workshops and Speakers | Download the full programme

Day 1 ∣ July 16, 09.00 – 17.00

Module A: Don’t Miss the Boat! Timing of Policy Communications in EU Advocacy ∣ Joost Mulder, Better Europe [FULL – CLOSED FOR REGISTRATION]

Joost Mulder runs Better Europe; he is an independent Public Affairs expert with a strong network in the “Brussels bubble” and in civil society, with a broad knowledge of EU financial services legislation. With 15 years’ experience in Brussels including as a political assistant to an MEP, a lobby consultant, and head of advocacy at the NGO Finance Watch, Joost is able to build unexpected alliances between different stakeholders. His current clients include NGOs defending environmental, human rights and shareholder interests, as well as real economy business.

Module B: Getting Grassroots Right: The Complex World of Grassroots Lobbying ∣ Luca Bonaccorsi, Transport & Environment [OPEN FOR REGISTRATION]

Luca Bonaccorsi is an economist, a journalist and an environmental campaigner with a track record of successful lobbying in Brussels, London and Rome. He is specialised in strategic ‘digital grassroots’ lobbying. In 2015-16 he has successfully led for BirdLife International the record breaking ‘Nature Alert’ campaign that stopped the EU Commission’ from lowering environmental standards in Europe. In 2017, in partnership with Sky OceanRescue, he has led the campaign against single use plastic in the UK on behalf of the Marine Conservation Society. For Transport & Environment he has recently (Spring 2019) led  the campaign that obtained a ban on palm oil in biofuels, the largest driver of palm oil imports to Europe.

Day 2 ∣ July 17, 09.00 – 17.00

Module A: Writing Effective Policy Briefs ∣ Bernhard Knoll-Tudor, Hertie School of Governance [FULL – CLOSED FOR REGISTRATION]

Bernhard Knoll-Tudor is the Director of Executive Education at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Prior to his appointment at the school, he served as director of the Global Policy Academy at Central European University, Budapest. He worked for ten years for the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE), an international organization devoted to “hard” security as well as to human rights diplomacy where he was involved in policy design and public relations.

Module B: Impact Assessment and Evaluation in the EU: The Pinnacle of Policy Writing ∣ Erik Akse, Impact Assessment Institute [OPEN FOR REGISTRATION]

Erik Akse is an expert in EU decision-making and policy development. Since 2002, he implements Better Regulation policies such as ex-ante Impact Assessment, ex-post Evaluation, Stakeholder Consultation, Administrative Burden Reduction, and Legislative Simplification. He worked, among others, at the Dutch administration, the European Commission and the Western Balkans. He is co-founder and non-executive Director of Training at the Impact Assessment Institute. He published several books and articles on EU decision-making, the EU policy cycle, and EU Impact Assessment.

Day 3 ∣ July 18, 09.00 – 17.00

Module A: Op-Ed Writing for Policy Advocacy ∣ Dominique Ostyn, Press Club Brussels Europe [OPEN FOR REGISTRATION]

Dominique Ostyn has nearly two decades of experience in European media relations, policy communication and strategy. Dominique is the director of communication of the Press Club Brussels Europe, gives trainings and workshops on media relations and digital policy communications. Most recently, Dominique is also the co-founder of, a new media start-up that aims to counter false narratives and propaganda that are eroding trust in politics and the media. Dominique was the opinion editor and director of communication of EURACTIV for 8 years. Dominique helped establish and grow the think tank Friends of Europe and related policy journal Europe’s World for almost a decade before that.

Module B: Speechwriting for Impact: How to Turn Complex Policy into Compelling Rhetoric ∣ Melanie Dunn, Cambridge University [FULL – CLOSED FOR REGISTRATION]

Melanie has been writing speeches for almost ten years and considers it an immense privilege. She spent almost three years as Chief Speechwriter to the former President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso.  She worked on his high-profile State of the European Union speeches, as well as on speeches covering a wide variety of topics, from environmental to industrial policy. She has also worked for UNESCO Special Envoy and former first lady of Qatar, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, crafting her speeches for the UN General Assembly and World Education Forum. Melanie is now based in Cambridge and writes for the Chief Executives of Cambridge Assessment – a branch of Cambridge University.

Day 4 ∣ July 19, 09.00 – 17.00

Module A: Digital Public Affairs: How to Adapt to an Ever-changing Online World ∣  Louise Day, FleishmanHillard [FULL – CLOSED FOR REGISTRATION]

Louise Day is the Digital and Social Lead at FleishmanHillard in Brussels. FleishmanHillard is a global PR company that specializes in reputation management, public affairs, brand marketing, digital strategy, social engagement and content strategy, with more than 80 offices in 30 countries. Louise has previously worked in a communications capacity for a FTSE 100 company, the European Commission and an international organization. Louise leads pan-European digital public affairs campaigns and builds strategies for clients from a variety of sectors- from energy to pharmaceuticals

Module B: Everyone Wants a Podcast in 2019: The Art of Using Podcasts for Policy Communication ∣ Ryan Heath, POLITICO [OPEN FOR REGISTRATION]

Ryan is political editor at POLITICO Europe, and leads POLITICO’s elections coverage. He joined POLITICO in 2015 and for three years wrote the Brussels Playbook column, before creating the EU Confidential podcast and column. In its first 100 episodes EU Confidential has featured 10 prime ministers,10 European Commissioners and a range of CEOs and activists and other political figures. Ryan began writing for national newspapers in his native Australia in 1999, and worked for the British civil service, and then for seven years as a speechwriter and spokesperson for the European Commission for President Jose Manuel Barroso and Vice President Neelie Kroes as a spokesperson. Ryan is regular policy commentator on outlets such as BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and Deutsche Welle.

Why Lisbon?

Lisbon is Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital city. The social programme of the summer school will introduce the participants to what this vibrant European hub has to offer. Venue of the event, Jupiter Lisboa Hotel, is a newly built 4 star hotel with a rooftop pool and spa. It is situated in the heart of Lisbon’s financial district.

Start Date - End Date

Jul 16, 2019 - Jul 19, 2019

Start Time - End Time

9:00 am - 5:00 pm


500€ – 1800€

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