Tabs {Pages}

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Very Important People

Admittedly, even though I was in Brussels for 2 days I did not get to see much of the city. But I still learned a lot. I could tell you of the places I didn’t go and the things that I didn’t see that I wanted to but let’s focus on the experience that I had.
It’s funny but every city that I go to in Europe is definitely European but that doesn’t mean that they all look the same. Brussels was the same way, European but definitely metropolis. The first day that we arrived it was a mad scramble to get to the specific commission building we needed to be at. There was enough water in the air that everyone looked disheveled, but not enough for an umbrella. The lady we asked for help gave us directions and then said ‘it’s across the street from the pretty glass building’. That last sentence was not helpful. There are skyscrapers that are ‘glass buildings’ everywhere in this part of town and none of them look ugly.
Moving on… The first meeting was in a Commission building, but not the commission building because of security reasons. When we walked in I felt like I was going to debate the future of the world in the classy board room. Even though the lecture was requested to be in English apparently the fact that we are from Torino trumped that. The lecturer only spoke {sarcasm} Italian, French and a little bit of English. Our professor translated which was nice. I was so proud of myself because I think I would have gotten most everything between listening closely to the Italian and reading the slides.
After that we had a little break where we went and bundled up a little more and then grabbed some ‘Belgian’ waffles {tourist trap} and then some Belgian fries. And then we walked to a really nice building where we had to have our names on the list to get in. I felt so important as I walked into the annual conference of the European People’s Party and the icing on the cake was that they keynote speaker was Jose Manuel Barosso.
Barosso is a wonderful man that is the Commission President. Not only does he have a lot of influence, but he is considered a strong leader and he was a really good speaker. To watch what we were saw you can go here. After him there was a panel and all the talk centered around the euro zone. The euro is kind something that all the people who are educated or read the news talk about. That night I went to the hostel well informed brain active, and so tired.
The next day only held more important places as we went to the Committee of the Regions to hear about what this group actually does. I think of all the places I visited and learned about this branch most closely matches my personality. They are close to the people/citizens and give them a voice as well as the fact that they don’t make the important decisions but the help to influence them and guide them down the path that makes the best sense for the citizens and not the big guys. The speaker was so kind to us and made the talk fun and interesting.
We had a little break where I grabbed lunch with some friends and then we walked to the park to eat it and enjoy some more fall weather. The little cafĂ© that we got lunch at is a chain, but they need a similar option in the US. It’s kind of like healthy, fresh, premade food. Whole foods meets Trader Joe’s…errr something like that.
Our next big building was the parliament building. It’s one of the three parliament buildings, but the other ones are in different countries. We heard a little background on the parliament and what was happening in the chamber presently and then we got sit in the chamber. It was so neat! We were supposed to meet a deputy {high official} of Italy and get to ask him some questions but were not able to. Even though he had nothing to do with the situation, the fact that he represents Italy means he had to be present at the negotiations. When I was in Brussels, the fate of the Italian President was being negotiated and decided in Rome. It’s amazing, scary, and exhilarating all at the same time. I didn’t find this out until Thursday.
Instead of meeting with a member of parliament I went and learned more at the Parliamentaruim, a museum about the Parliament. It was actually really fun and interactive. It’s brand new and has lots of hands on technology that gives the history of the EU, parliament, and world events. Before we went we were told it was supposed to be an interesting building so lots of people opted out of going. It was so worth the extra time!

The next day it was off to the airport and back to home sweet Torino!

This is a very condensed version of these 2 days, that doesn’t have many details in it. If you have any questions, want clarification or more information let me know!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your sweet comment!