What’s new in Brussels? Recent Developments in European Policies and Programmes

Brussels, 9 February 2018


Bernd Wächter

Bernd Wächter is the Director of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA). He studied at the universities of Hull (UK), Giessen and Marburg (Germany). His career has been focused on international higher education. He worked for the University of Kassel, the British Council, and the Fachhochschule Darmstadt, before joining The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) as the head of their EU division.He subsequently became the director for Higher Education (Erasmus) in the Brussels Socrates Office. In 1998, he took up his present post as ACA Director.Bernd Wächter has published and lectured widely on international higher education. He is the editor of the ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Education. He has been the team leader of ACA’s research projects and speaks frequently at major governmental and stakeholder conferences, in Europe and beyond, on the issue of mobility and internationalisation. Bernd Wächter has two children. He is married to Thora Magnusdottir, a delightful lady from Iceland.

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Runo Isaksen

Runo Isaksen is a senior adviser for the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Higher Education (SIU), and has been working in the agency since 2007. At the time being, he is working at the Brussel based Norwegian Cooperation Office for Research, Innovation and Education (NORCORE). Before 2007, he worked at the University of Bergen for several years, as journalist as well as communication adviser for the management. Isaksen is the author of several books, both fiction and non-fiction. He is a humanist by education and did his Erasmus exchange in Greece.




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Sophie Beernaerts

Sophie Beernaerts is the Head of unit in charge of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in the Directorate General for Education and Culture in the European Commission. Before that she has been responsible for supporting school education policy development in the EU Member states and was in charge of the implementation of the Erasmus+ programme in the school, vocational and adult education sectors. She has also been in charge of the Europe for Citizens Programme that aims at strengthening European remembrance and enhancing capacity for civic participation at the Union level. She graduated from Solvay Business School in 1987 and holds a postgraduate degree in European economics from Free University of Brussels.



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Sophia Eriksson Waterschoot

Sophia Eriksson Waterschoot is Director for Youth, Education and Erasmus+ at the European Commission's Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture. She is in charge of Europe's flagship programme Erasmus+, the newly launched European Solidarity Corps, school, higher education and youth policies. She has previously held various positions within the Commission in the field of strategy and investment in education, higher education policy, employment policy, European structural and investment funds and the European social fund. She studied international economics and did an Erasmus student exchange in France.                                   She is an Eisenhower Fellow.

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Stefan Jahnke

Stefan Jahnke is senior policy officer at the European University Foundation, one of Europe's leading university networks. He has been heavily involved in initiatives surrounding the digitalisation of Erasmus and is a long-term advocate for quality mobility. After graduating in informatics, Stefan was the President of the Erasmus Student Network from 2013-2015, where he been involved in different research projects on the topic of student mobility, such as the Erasmus impact study, the Erasmus voting assessment and the ESN Surveys 2013 and 2014. Furthermore, he has been leading the development of the Erasmusintern.org platform. Since 2015, Stefan is policy officer at the EUF, where he has been working on projects such as Erasmus without paper, the Erasmus+ App, the online learning agreement, as well as research projects, such as the HousErasmus+ research that explores the housing situation for international students. Lastly, Stefan is coordinating the EUF's training scheme, which piloted initiatives such as the blended Erasmus+ staff mobility.

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Nina Salden

Nina Salden is the Director of the DAAD branch office in Brussels, Belgium. Since 2012 she is representing the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Brussels vis-à-vis the EU institutions. The DAAD is one of the largest funding organisations for international higher education cooperation (www.daad.de).
Before her time in Brussels, Ms Salden has been working for the National Agency for EU Higher Education Cooperation at DAAD headquarters in Bonn, Germany. Ms Salden has joined the DAAD in 2007 as head of unit for South Eastern Europe. Before her time at DAAD, Ms Salden has been working for five years for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Brussels.
Ms Salden has studied in Germany, Britain and France and is holding a Master of Science in European Public Policy.


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Fernando Galán

Fernando Galán is a Policy and Project Officer at the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE). His work focusses primarily on quality assurance of higher education and integration of vulnerable groups. Before joining EURASHE he has been president of the European Students’ Union (2015-2016) and has served previously also as vice-president and as member of ESU’s Executive Committee. Since he began his university education as medical student at the University of Cantabria (Santander, Spain) he has been involved at different levels of student representation, both on national and institutional level. Fernando has been board member of European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR) and the Bologna Follow-Up Group, as well as serving in several advisory and experts groups in the field of Higher Education. He has contributed to important European level policy positions in the field of higher education, such as the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the Higher Education Area (ESG 2015).

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