BrusselsWeek-Long Study Tour | Communication Program

How does new media facilitate or limit communities and collaboration across borders? We investigate this in Brussels, the unofficial European capital. While in Brussels, you get to visit small organizations and pan-European political movements creating communities and opportunities through new media platforms.

We also visit the EU institutions and politicians at the heart of media and tech regulations in Europe. The EU works to protect democracy. Currently, fighting fake news and protecting individuals’ rights to privacy/ensuring that big tech companies do not monetize personal data, are some of the priorities.

The second city we visit is Ghent. Ghent has been nominated as the greenest and most sustainable city in Europe. Only one hour away from Brussels, it is a true hidden gem. It has branded itself as “A City of People,” and is working toward becoming a “Smart City,” through a unique co-creation process that looks for innovative solutions to complex social challenges. In Ghent, technology is viewed not as a goal in itself, but instead an ‘enabler’ in function of solutions for social challenges.

Tour Objectives

  • Reflect on your own engagement within different communities, and the impact new media has on your understanding of those communities
  • Understand the radically different sets of ethical dilemmas presented by new media
  • Explore the role of European-based social media and political media regulation in the construction of communities and the protection of democracy
  • Learn about collaboration and co-creation through the establishment of a European Smart City

Possible Activities

  • Visit the EU-unit East StratCom Task Force, which monitors Russian media and fights Russian disinformation on new media
  • Go to the City Of Ghent to learn about its unique approach to creating a “Smart City” or a “City of People”
  • Visit We Exist, an organization set up by Syrians using new media platforms to facilitate access into the labor market for people who fled conflict and persecution
  • Meet with politicians and Journalists to get first-hand experience with work surrounding European tech regulation