Sunday, August 15, 2010


I will be organizing the first ever Wall Street Journal Europe Future Leadership Summit or BREE/SCHILDE SUMMIT beginning November 2010.

Core of the Summit is the inauguration and first procedures of the WSJE International Student Senate. The International Student Senate is a collection of elected student leaders from top universities and business schools in Europe. We will bring these student leaders together at the BREE/SCHILDE SUMMIT to be confronted with a group of international thought leaders, such as CEO's, academics and high level politicians.

Goal is to create a platform where student leaders can come together to exchange views and ideas and learn from the best and the brightest in the world of economy, science and politics.

I started with the Student Senate when I was at University myself in Leuven, Belgium more than 25 years ago now. I brought together most of the student leaders back then, during a wine and cheese evening in our student cafe, situated in the WINK, at the Damiaan plein, literally 50 meters from the grave of Father Damian. Most of these student leaders have now become key players in their respective fields.

While working for The Wall Street Journal Europe I always tried to build programs reaching out to Future Readers as they will be Future Leaders, and vice versa, Future Leaders will be Future Readers (if they read The Wall Street Journal Europe that is :-)

Why did I choose BREE and SCHILDE, two small Belgian towns ?
1. I copied the success formula of a two-town music festival called Torhout/Werchter
2. Both mayors have given me all their support to organize this event
3. It is easier to start something in 2 small, but key municipalities, where you get all the local support you can find, compared to start something new in Brussels or London.

Why BREE ?
Because of:
1. its mayor Jaak Gabriels, Minister of State and his interest in supporting a group of international student leaders
2. the geographical significance: BREE is situated near the border of 3 countries: Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany. When dealing with Europe out of Brussels you don't often see how Europe 'works'. In a border town as BREE you can actually see how Europe works.
3. the historical significance: BREE became a 'city' in 1386
d. BREE is nowadays the center of a technological triangle in the Eastern part of Belgium
4. Pieter Breughel the Elder and Kim Clijsters were born in Bree

Because of:
1. its mayor Yolande Avontroodt, also member of Belgian Parliament, and her interest in supporting a group of international student leaders
2. SCHILDE was officially elected to be the best town to live in Belgium (SCHILDE has one of the highest per capita income levels in Flanders, Belgium)
3. I grew up in Schilde/'s Gravenwezel (part of Schilde)

3-11: Start with evening diner in BREE
4-11: City hall BREE

More information: