Archive for the ‘Master in International Relations (MIR)’ Category


Written by Meghan O´Farrell, IE Master in International Relations student, 2014/2015 Intake 

foto grupo

A handful of students represented IE on Friday, February 27th during a debate with the Vice-President of the European Commission, Jyrki Katainen, the Spanish Minister of Economy and Competitiveness, Luis de Guindos, and Pablo Zalba, Member of the European Parliament for the Group of the European People’s Party.

Vice-President Katainen debate_pics (6)At a rather critical moment for the EU in the wake of the financial crisis, 50 students convened from several universities to listen to Vice President Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, elaborate on President Juncker’s investment plan. The idea is to close the massive investment gap (€434 billion fall from 2007) crippling Europe’s employment and long-term growth. The Commission has chosen as its plan of attack a trifecta consisting of the mobilization of public and private funds, a transparent pipeline to identify viable investment projects, and the removal of sector specific and other financial barriers to investment in hopes to improve the overall business environment.

Still having not recovered from the financial crisis, Vice President Katainen reinforced the importance of this plan at a time of devastating and stubborn unemployment figures across much of Europe and concerning levels of economic inequality among Member States. But its enforcement cannot only be top-down, said Mr. Katainen. He emphasized the role of each EU country assuming national responsibility and personal accountability in upholding the plan and doing its part to contribute to overall growth and investment. Together, he says, the EU can raise €300 billion over the next 3 years in additional public and private investment by supporting local businesses, upgrading transport, funding broadband in low density areas, and expanding R&D.

Vice President Katainen admits the lack of demand is indeed a real problem for Europe, but bolstering confidence among its citizens in financial institutions again is key. Whether it be Greek debt, Spanish unemployment, or the host of other challenges facing EU Member States, Mr. Katainen calls for increased financial, political, and social integration to overcome them. With the unprecedented degree of integration that Europe has achieved comes unprecedented cooperation, cohesion, and solidarity. Only with one voice, says Mr. Katainen, can the EU reach a truly influential role in the world.


You can watch the full video of the debate here (in English and Spanish):

Vice-President Katainen debate_pics (5)

IE Students representing IE during the debate with the Vice-President of the European Commission, Jyrki Katainen, at the Representation of the European Commission in Spain.



On March 6th IE hosted Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade, who examined the challenges facing EU trade policy with students and professors of IE University’s Bachelor and Master in International Relations. The EU Commissioner was received by the President of IE, Diego del Alcázar, and Arantza de Areilza, Dean of IE School of International Relations.

The talk formed part of a series of initiatives launched by the European Commission aimed at informing citizens about advances in negotiations on international trade agreements, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and to hear opinions from different collectives on EU policy issues. Commissioner Malmström and her team are heading European negotiations related to the TTIP, an agreement aimed at enabling free trade with the US.




Malmström explained how one of the EU’s key challenges is that of “connecting with citizens”, listening to their opinions, and debating with them on European policy.  She recognized that there is a major debate surrounding the TTIP negotiations, the completion of which would have a very positive impact in terms of job creation. Malmström reminded those present that 30 million people in Europe work in positions related to export, 4.5 million of which have a direct connection with exports to the US. She explained how Swedish policy has centered around the idea that trade agreements are not only aimed at large companies, but at smaller firms as well, pointing out that in Spain alone there are 70,000 SMEs that export.

The European Commissioner for Trade underscored the fact that the signing of the TTIP agreement does not mean that consumers will have less protection or will face a change in regulations. She explained that the agreement is about providing European firms with greater access to the US market, citing as an example how the safety tests to which the US and European automobile industries are subjected to when exporting from one region to another are of a similar, very high standard, which is a major cause of inefficiency in the sector.

Participating IE University students were able to exchange views on key subjects with Cecilia Malmström, including European trade policy, and the main agreements currently being negotiated in the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America and Africa, as well as reflecting on the challenges facing the EU in this field in the coming years.



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Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade, is interviewed by Arantza de Areilza, Dean of IE School of International Relations, on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Europe-US Relationship.


Written by Matt Pelton (MIR 2014-15), the former program director of the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship at the African Leadership Network

Paul Kagame

In November 2014, the African Leadership Network (ALN) hosted its fifth annual gathering in Kigali to celebrate and recognize Rwanda’s reconciliation and growth since the tragic genocide. 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi minority. A country divided due to its colonial legacy, ongoing tension between the Hutu and Tutsi had existed in Rwanda since a Hutu-led revolt brought independence from the Belgians in 1962. Today, the Land of a Thousand Hills boasts new state-of-the-art facilities, scores of tourists each year, some of the continent’s strongest education and healthcare programs, and a very conducive environment for entrepreneurs and foreign investors. While greater income equality and universal access to social services still must be achieved, the nation receives praises from around the world for its economic growth, social inclusion, and good governance.

IMG_8269ALN’s 2014 event convened 300 of its influential members and partners from across Africa and abroad. The group celebrated Rwanda’s impressive growth and aimed to learn leadership lessons from the public sector. His Excellency President Paul Kagame participated in an insightful dialogue on his personal journey and approach to leadership, as did other public sector leaders such as Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda Development Board CEO Francis Gatare, former Zimbabwean Minister of Industry & International Trade Nkosona Moyo, and Tanzanian presidential candidate January Makamba. Sessions addressed the future of African cities, the Ebola crisis in West Africa, innovation in education models, inclusive financial services and technology, how to build an effective public sector, foreign policy as a driver of prosperity,and investment opportunities in Rwanda. Aligned with Rwanda’s focus on entrepreneurship and private sector growth, the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship gala dinner honored the most innovative and inspiring entrepreneurs from across the continent. In addition, ALN officially launched its Ventures program, which is now sponsoring its inaugural class of entrepreneurs with funding, mentorship, and strategic support.

While Rwanda has made significant progress through its reconciliation and economic resurgence, arguments for greater political freedoms and participation still exist. As Amartya Sen presented in Development as Freedom, some could argue that true development is only achieved with the presence of political freedom, economic facilities, social opportunities, transparency guarantees, and protective security. Thus, some critics of Rwanda question whether the country should in fact be considered a bright story of governance and growth for the continent. Conversely, the global economic crisis showed us that the means to development need not always replicate the “Washington Consensus” of the West. The 2014 UNDP Human Development Report illustrates that Rwanda’s life expectancy, expected years of schooling, and GDP per capita (PPP) have improved drastically since 1980. Accordingly, such steady socio-economic improvements and the reconciliation of a divided country warrant recognition for the progress achieved by a government that inherited a dismal situation in the wake of the genocide.

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Last week, the IE School of International Relations hosted the first Online Speaker Series this year, From the MDGs to the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda – An Inside View of the United Nations. We were joined for this online session by Mr. Vinicius Pinheiro, Deputy Director of the ILO Office for the United Nations as well as Ms. Shuo Xing, Associate Director of IE’s Career Management Center.

During the online session, Mr. Pinheiro spoke specifically about the United Nations Millennium Development Goals while also offering a view going forward of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. During the roughly one hour session, he provided a backdrop to the MDGs including the factors leading up to their development, the multilateral landscape at the time, while also looking at the goals and milestones achieved.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a set of eight initiatives agreed to by all the world’s countries and development institutions, with a united aim ranging from poverty reduction to lessening of HIV/AIDS by this year, 2015. Celebrating the arrival of the 2015 target date, the UN is now embarking on an ambitious new set of post-2015 development agenda. Included in the scope of this new agenda are a variety of social and economic concerns including job creation, healthcare and education initiatives, as well as a renewed focus on cities and the environment.

According to Mr. Pinheiro, this new agenda will require strong coordination at the international level as well as cooperation by regional governments in terms of policy implementation. During the question and answer portion of the talk, he addressed such issues such as sustainable development for developing nations in the wake of rapid economic growth as well as specific policy practices related to food development and agriculture.

Following this talk, Miss Shuo Xing spoke about career opportunities in the public sector including the United Nations Young Professionals Programme which has seen several MIR alumni go through its ranks.

This online session, including the Q&A portion, was recorded and can be viewed here.


Written by Tim Palmer, IE Associate Director of Admissions.  


IE International Relations_logo

IE School of International Relations is pleased to invite you to the conference:

“The New Regional Role of Iran in Taming Violence in the Middle East”

Dr. Ramin Jahanbegloo,

Associate Professor of Political Science and a Noor-York Visiting Chair in Islamic Studies at York University and an advisory board member of PEN, Canada

With Comments by

Amb. Roberto Toscano, Former Ambassador of Italy to Iran


 The event will take place on Monday, 2 March 2015 at 12:00 – 13:30 in Room MM-401 (C/ María de Molina 31)


Please kindly confirm attendance to

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