The best comfort against the second wave of corona was the sheer number of European Leadership Fellows joining the 2020 Fall Cohort: fourteen! The ELP Team is extremely proud despite the current circumstances our programme could attract such a group of young professionals, when the number of traineeships in Brussels is quickly shrinking.
Fourteen new Fellows working across the EU ecosystem in town: not only in the Commission and the Parliament, but also in the Committee of the Regions, Catholic NGOs and private consultancies. So each evening when they meet in their respective ELP houses, the Fellows may well discuss how policies are seen on the different sides of the legislative barricades.
The Cohort is living in three different houses, all running on maximum capacity: Maison Josefa hosts 5 Fellows, the Dutch Jesuit’s house in Schaerbeek another 5 Fellows and Beguinage La Viale keeps four of them. We are extremely happy that the French speaking Province of the Society of Jesus offered a serious donation to renovate a house for ELP, where a dozen of Fellows might be able to stay under the same roof from next year on.
It is clear from the applications that young people are thirsting for company. In time of partial confinements, remote working for weeks or months, social contacts are more and more valued – at their right place. Community becomes pivotal and we exactly offer such life communities where they can share and dream together.
ELP is also adapting and evolving with the special circumstances. I am glad to announce that we introduced a new element to our Programme. Fellows are hitherto able to choose a professional mentor from among the senior Jesuit alumni friends of JESC in Brussels. (One might be surprised how many alumni of Jesuit education are working in town!) Fellows are not only accompanied in a coaching process by religious – Jesuits, sisters and priests – but they meet regularly their mentors over the five month to better discern their vocation. Brussels is still offering innumerous venues for future careers, hence our Fellows need not to drift with the current, but to be aware of and discern where actually they want to end up following their calling. The motto of ELP “For Hearts and Minds to Navigate the Challenge” could not be more true.
I am sure that by the end of the Programme period, one will see the growth of each Fellow. They have already started working hard. Please, join us in witnessing the fruits of their growth: we invite you to save the date in your calendar for 22th February 2021 for the Graduation Ceremony in the International Press Club in Brussels at 6PM, sponsored by UCSIA, where Klaus Welle, the Secretary General of the European Parliament will offer his graduation speech to the Fellows upon the completion of ELP. See you on the way, see you in February!
JESC ELP Manager & Secretary for Leadership