Ukraine debate at VUB with geopolitics expert Jonathan Holslag and defence specialist Alexander Mattelaer, among others

Ukraine debate at VUB with geopolitics expert Jonathan Holslag and defence specialist Alexander Mattelaer, among others

The World Needs You

Dear journalist,

VUB is hosting a debate on the war in Ukraine. The invasion, the fighting, the refugees, the despair, the fear and the pain raise many questions, and experts including Alexander Mattelaer and Jonathan Holslag will be happy to answer them. Their years of expertise and experience will provide a clear and scientifically based interpretation. Within the framework of the project The World Needs You, the university is inviting students, academics and other concerned citizens to attend this debate. We would also like to extend a warm welcome to you as a journalist. As an Urban Engaged University, VUB stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people. We do not want to leave anyone behind in these difficult times.

The debate takes place from 18.00-19.30 on Thursday 17 March in Aula QA at the Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus in Etterbeek. Please register via the VUB press office.



  • Intro by Ukrainian VUB alumnus Artem Kyzym
  • Debate participants: Prof Dr Alexander Mattelaer, assistant Prof Olesya Tkacheva, Prof Dr Romain Meeusen, Prof Dr Jonathan Holslag
  • Moderator: Prof Dr Wendy Van den Broeck, affiliated with the Department of Communication Sciences and research centre imec-SMIT. She teaches courses including New Media and Society in Europe.
  • Closing words: VUB alumna Laura De Grève, head of international humanitarian law and volunteering coordination international cooperation at Red Cross Flanders


Participants debate

Olesya Tkacheva is an assistant professor at the Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy (CSDS) of the Brussels School of Governance (BSoG-VUB) and former acting dean of Vesalius College. Her research focuses on Russia-Nato relations and the effects of digital technologies on international relations. She teaches courses on research methods and Russian foreign policy.

Professor Jonathan Holslag is an expert in diplomatic history and international relations. He teaches at VUB and is a guest lecturer at several foreign universities and at Nato’s highest training college for generals. He is the author of several books, including last year’s From Wall to Wall: World Politics Since 1989.

Professor Alexander Mattelaer is a defence expert. He is senior research fellow of the European affairs programme at the Royal Institute for International Relations, and professor at VUB. His research specialisations include the politics of European integration, EU defence policy, and Nato. He is also a visiting professor at the College of Europe in Bruges and senior editor of the online magazine European Geostrategy.

Prof Dr Romain Meeusen is head of the Human Physiology and Sports Physical Therapy research group at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and has been vice-rector for Internationalisation since 2019.

For interviews, images and registration, please contact the VUB press office.

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Sicco Wittermans
Sicco Wittermans Spokesperson Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Sicco Wittermans
Sicco Wittermans Spokesperson Vrije Universiteit Brussel
About Press - Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society.

The World Needs You

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel assumes its scientific and social responsibility with love and decisiveness. That’s why VUB launched the platform De Wereld Heeft Je Nodig – The World Needs You, which brings together ideas, actions and projects based on six Ps. The first P stands for People, because that’s what it’s all about: giving people equal opportunities, prosperity, welfare, respect. Peace is about fighting injustice, big and small, in the world. Prosperity combats poverty and inequality. Planet stands for actions on biodiversity, climate, air quality, animal rights... With Partnership, VUB is looking for joint actions to make the world a better place. The sixth and last P is for Poincaré, the French philosopher Henri Poincaré, from whom VUB derives its motto that thinking should submit to nothing except the facts themselves. VUB is an ‘urban engaged university’, strongly anchored in Brussels and Europe and working according to the principles of free research.


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