Congratulations to our new PhD Fellows, Els Bekaert and Domenico Valenza

19 September 2018

UNU-CRIS, along with our partner Ghent University, are proud to announce the addition of two new PhD fellows.


Els Bekaert

Els’ project will seek to improve our understanding of the way climate (both sudden and slow onset hazards) influences migration behavior (both internally and internationally) differently across countries, and it will map the heterogeneous policy response to climate migration at various levels (national, bilateral and regional), as well as differences in its effectiveness across countries. She will work under the supervision of Ilse Ruyssen, Assistant Professor at the Department of General Economics, and Gerdie Everaert, Department of Social Economics.

Els holds a MSc in Business Administration majoring in Strategic Management from Ghent University, and is currently a master’s student in the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master in Economics of Globalisation and European Integration (EGEI) program. This has allowed her to study semesters at the University of Antwerp, Université Lille 1 and the University of Economics (VSE) in Prague.

Further to her studies, she has spent time at UNU-CRIS as an intern under the supervision of Prof. Glenn Rayp, where she focused on migration, climate change, and regional integration.


Domenico Valenza

Domenico’s project will examine the presence and the nature of competition of cultural diplomacies between the EU and Russia in the post-Soviet space. He will work under the supervision of Fabienne Bossuyt, Assistant Professor at the Centre for EU Studies, and Olga Burlyuk, FWO Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for EU Studies.

Domenico holds an MA in European Studies from Université Paris 8 Saint Denis and Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), and an MSc in “Russia in Global Systems” from King’s College London (KCL).

He has been a visiting researcher at UNU-CRIS, where he analyzed EU and Russia cultural diplomacy attempts in Central Asia, within the framework of the EU-funded project ‘European Leadership in Cultural, Science and Innovation Diplomacy’ (EL-CSID).


A warm welcome to both Els and Domenico, and we look forward to their fruitful and productive PhD fellowships at UNU-CRIS.