Professor Crombois is a co-chair of the Political Science and International Relations department at the American University in Bulgaria. A journalist who used to specialize in European Union (EU) topics, now he teaches students about the history, policies, and procedures of the EU.
Listen to the interview with Professor Crombois to learn more about his teaching approach, the annual trip to Brussels and how to successfully convince people to follow your idea.
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“I firmly believe that the students have to be exposed to as many voices as possible,” said Professor Jean Crombois, who teaches in the Politics and European Studies department at the American University in Bulgaria.
He takes a proactive stance to provide these voices to his students by inviting the ambassadors of the country that currently holds the rotating Presidency of the EU.
Trip to Brussels
Professor Crombois gives his students the opportunity to see how the EU works from the inside by organizing a trip to Brussels. “You need to be there, to have a feel for the people working there and [their] richness,” Crombois said.
Another benefit stemming from this visit is to present the students with job opportunities with or within the EU. “I work a lot with alumni who are based in Brussels. What I also do is have a small party with alumni. This is a way to connect regular students with former students. This is motivational because it gives an idea to our students that yes, people do major in Political Science and European Studies, and they have a job, and they have a good job.”
Crombois has been organizing the trip for 9 years now and every time turns out to be a different experience. On the most recent visit, the students visited the NATO Headquarters.
Students can learn more about the EU and how it works even if they don’t go to Brussels. Thanks to Professor Crombois and the European Society Club at AUBG, students can participate in the Model EU conference that is held every spring. Participants are given the position of a member of either the European Parliament or the Council of Ministers.
“The idea is that those different actors have to adopt a piece of legislation pretty much the same way EU [does]. The only difference is that EU takes two years to do that and for them it takes one weekend.”
In order to prepare for the conference, students can take a one-credit course offered in the spring during which the professor explains the procedures involved in such a decision-making process.
Prof. Crombois with AUBG students visiting Brussels institutions
Prof. Crombois at MEU 2019
Lobbying and Advocacy Course
Professor Crombois plans to offer a new course to the students majoring in European Studies- Lobbying and Advocacy. “Lobbying simply put is to convince policymakers to follow a certain path that may be better for you…or the public at large.”
It will be done in partnership with the Journalism and Mass Communication department as Crombois believes that the ability to communicate your ideas is vital.
“If you want to get the message across, you have to find a way [to do it], and writing a memo may not be the best way…sometimes you may have to be creative and find other means using different media including social media.”
Negotiations are an important part of the work of every person involved in politics or business and Crombois has a personal philosophy regarding it.
“The first thing to do to convince someone is to listen to that someone and to get to know that someone…You should respect people…and you empathize with their situation. You don’t treat them like numbers and you don’t treat them like you want to extract something from them…It’s usually a bit more time-consuming but also more efficient.”