The Center for West European Studies and the EU Center are happy to announce that we had a team of students compete in the Schuman Challenge this year. Students Ashlyn Nazari, Henry Moe, and Sienna Hartvigson were the students on UW’s team.The Schuman Challenge is an annual competition supported by the EU delegation to the US. It is meant to foster the relationship between the EU and US, and bring undergraduates into the study of EU issues. Undergraduates participate in teams of 3-4 students from each school, and work to respond to a topic of interest to EU/US relations. Teams present a 10 minute presentation, and the are judged by a panel. The topic this year was “How should the EU and US cooperate in Afghanistan following the US military withdrawal?” Within this there was a focus on transatlantic cooperation, and the rights of women and children.
In preparation for the competition, student Ashlyn Nazari said they had lots of meetings with advisor Dean LaRue where the participants began putting together a plan for what they wanted to say. They flew to DC toegther, and prepared more. They were the first team to present, which included a question section where judges asked more about what they had presented. They got feedback on their presentation, then later had a coffee break to mingle with other participants and judges. Although the UW team didn’t make top three, they placed quite highly. She said the event was fun, and that she feels lucky to have participated in it.
Teammate Henry Moe said “The Schuman Challenge was a policy proposal competition organized by the EU delegation in the US. Each year, a relevant policy issue is chosen by the EU. This year the topic was essentially ‘how should the US and the EU cooperate in Afghanistan following the US military withdrawal.’ Teams from roughly 25 schools must then prepare solutions for these issues in the form of a ten minute policy proposal presentation. As a team, the three of us spent many hours researching the current situation in Afghanistan, synthesizing this information to create a succinct policy proposal, and crafting our speech to present to a panel of esteemed judges (some of whom were actual foreign service officers for the EU). When we arrived in DC, we were shocked at the somewhat lavish treatment provided by the EU. Our hotel and meals were paid for, and we had lots of free time over the long weekend to explore the city. We were extremely nervous to present, but it ended up going extremely well! We didn’t make it into the final three, but one of our judges later told us that we were one of the top scoring teams. Overall, I had an amazing experience meeting so many accredited professionals as well as other students from across America. I encourage any student at UW who has the chance to participate in a future Schuman Challenge to jump at the opportunity. It was truly a highlight of my undergraduate career.”
Congratulations to all three of our students!