Panel debate - War in Ukraine: a Year Later and Ways Forward

Wednesday 22 February 2023, 17:30 to 19:00
VUB Main Campus Etterbeek Pleinlaan 2 1050 Elsene Aula Q.A

February 24, 2023 marks a year since the beginning of the illegal Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Therefor we will host a panel debate on Wednesday 22 February 2023 from 5:30 pm onwards in auditorium QA. Experts such as prof. dr. Alexander Mattelaer and dr. Benedetta Beri, Hon. Dirk Steffen Schuebel and Dr. Olga Oliker will be happy to answer all your questions related to the Russo-Ukrainian War.

In spite of the Kremlin’s expectation of a quick victory, thanks to heroic efforts of the Ukrainian people and resolute support from the Western allies, Ukraine has demonstrated a resilience and ability to counter aggression. What lessons have we learned about the drivers of transatlantic unity and constraints on inter and intra-institutional cooperation? How can NATO and EU maintain inter- and intra -institutional cohesion going forward? How can both NATO and EU leverage non-state actors to counter Russia’s actions? These are just a few of the questions that will be discussed by our distinguished speakers. We also give you the chance to speak. Post your question in the box below!

You are welcome to attend the panel debate on Wednesday 22 February 2023 from 5:30 pm onwards in auditorium QA. Experts such as prof. dr. Alexander Mattelaer and dr. Benedetta Beri, Hon. Dirk Steffen Schuebel and Dr. Olga Oliker will be happy to answer all your questions during the debate. Their years of expertise and experience provide a clear and scientifically based interpretation. This will give you a clear picture of the impact of the war. Because it is big. Both politically and internationally, but also within the VUB. How do we respond to the war? How can we help? And what does that mean for the activities of the VUB? These questions and many others will be discussed extensively. So don't hesitate and come along!

The event is free but registration is compulsory, click here to register

Date: Feb 22, 2023 at 17:30-19:00 

Room: QA

Proposed Agenda:

Opening remarks by prof. dr. Alexander Mattelaer, Vice-Dean for Research, BSOG-VUB 


  • Dr. Benedetta Beri, Head of the Policy Planning, Office of the Secretary General, NATO
  • Hon. Dirk Steffen Schuebel, the EU Special Envoy for Eastern Partnership, EEAS
  • Dr. Olga Oliker,  Program Director for Europe and Central Asia, International Crisis Group


  • Dr. Olesya Tkacheva, CSDS, BSOG-VUB 


Dr. Alexander Mattelaer is Vice-Dean for Research and Associate Professor of International Security at the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy (CSDS) of the Brussels School of Governance (BSoG-VUB) and also Senior Research Fellow at Egmont – the Royal Institute for International Relations. He is also affiliated to the Belgian Royal Higher Institute for Defence as chairman of the institute’s Scientific Committee. As a Fulbright Schuman fellow he completed research stays at Harvard University and at the National Defense University in Washington DC.

His research interests include the politics of European integration; NATO and  transatlantic relations; deterrence, defence and military strategy; and the perpetual redefinition of international relations and statecraft. His teaching portfolio includes courses on the European Union, international security, diplomacy and defence policy-making.  He obtained his PhD in Political Science from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Master degrees from the University of Bath and the University of Leuven.

Dr. Benedetta Berti is Head of Policy Planning in the Office of the Secretary General at NATO. She is also Associate Researcher at the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy at Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Visiting Professor at the College of Europe and a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. An Eisenhower Global Fellow and a TED Senior Fellow, in the past decade Benedetta has held research and teaching positions at West Point, The Institute for National Security Studies and Tel Aviv University, among others. Dr. Berti is the author of four books, including "Armed Political Organizations. From Conflict to Integration" (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). Her work and research have appeared, among others, in Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, the National Interest, the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times; as well as in Civil Wars, Democratization, Government & Opposition, Mediterranean Politics, the Middle East Journal, Parameters, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Terrorism and Political Violence. She holds a BA in Oriental Studies from the University of Bologna, and a MA and PhD in International Relations from The Fletcher School (Tufts University)

Hon. Hugues Mingarelli served as Head of the EU delegation to Ukraine from 2016 to 2019. Prior to that he had held several high-level positions at the European Commission and the European External Action Services (EEAS), including Managing Director for the North African regions, the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq, at the EEAS, Deputy General Manager for Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia, North Africa, Middle East, and European Neighbourhood Policy, and the Director for the Middle East and the southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Prior to that Mr. Mingarelli oversaw the implementation of cooperation agreements between the EU and the Community of Independent States and later led the European Agency for Reconstruction in respect of the Community assistance to the Republic of Montenegro, the Republic of Serbia, Kosovo and FYROM.

Dr. Olga Oliker is Program Director for Europe and Central Asia with the International Crisis Group, based in Brussels. At Crisis Group, she oversees the organization’s research, analysis, and advocacy in and regarding Ukraine, Russia, other European countries, Turkey, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Her own ongoing research focuses on military, political, economic, and social development, particularly in Russia, Ukraine, and the Central Asian and Caucasian successor states to the Soviet Union. Oliker is the author of numerous monographs, articles, reports and commentaries, including most recently in The New York Times and Foreign Affairs. She was formerly Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at Center for Strategic & International Studies and before that, Director of RAND’s Center for Russia and Eurasia. She holds a B.A. in international studies from Emory University, an M.P.P. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a PhD in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Olesya Tkacheva is Associate Professor of International Security at the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy (CSDS) of the Brussels School of Governance (BSoG-VUB). Her research focuses on the nexus between technology and security with focus on Russia and Eastern Europe. Prior to moving to Brussels, Olesya worked for the RAND Corporation and the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, where she supported developing and implementing U.S. response to counter Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and Syria. Her research was published in leading journals and she is a winner of Fulbright and National Science Foundation Fellowships, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Rochester. She holds a PhD in political science and public policy from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.