UACES new Patrons

The UACES Network |

We are delighted to welcome four new Honorary Patrons to UACES. Our Honorary Patrons support the Association by helping us promote the discipline of European Studies and Higher Education in general, attending UACES events and providing expertise and advice to the trustees when required. So, it is with great pleasure to welcome the following experts to UACES as patrons: Dr Rosa Balfour, Professor Helen Drake, Vincent-Immanuel Herr and Shada Islam. They have a wealth of experience in different fields and roles which will undoubtedly be invaluable to the Association.

Below are the biographies of our four new patrons:


Dr Rosa Balfour is Director of Carnegie Europe. Her fields of expertise include European politics, institutions, and foreign and security policy. Her current research focuses on the relationship between domestic politics and Europe’s global role.

She has researched and published widely for academia, think tanks, and international press on issues relating to European politics and international relations, especially on the Mediterranean region, Eastern Europe and the Balkans, EU enlargement, international support for civil society, and human rights and democracy.

Balfour is also a member of the steering committee of Women in International Security Brussels (WIIS-Brussels) and an associate fellow at LSE IDEAS. In 2018 and 2019, she was awarded a fellowship on the Europe’s Futures program at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.

Prior to joining Carnegie Europe, Balfour was a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. She was also director of the Europe in the World program at the European Policy Centre in Brussels and has worked as a researcher in Rome and London.

She holds an MA in history from Cambridge University, an MSc in European Studies and a PhD in International Relations both from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


Professor Helen Drake is Director of the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance (IDIG) at Loughborough University London.  Previously at Loughborough University’s Midlands campus, she has published on contemporary France.

France’s relations with the European Union, questions of political leadership, and the history of European Studies as an academic discipline.  Her most recent publications cover the value of big data analytics for understanding international negotiations, and radical right populist responses to the UK’s Brexit vote. From 2012-2018 she chaired the UK’s University Association for Contemporary European Studies, UACES.  From 2013 to 2016 she held a Jean Monnet Chair of European Integration and from 2017 to 2019 ran two research projects on Brexit: one (28+ Brexits) studying the real UK-EU negotiations, the other using simulated Brexit negotiations as a way of raising awareness in UK schools of the stakes of Brexit.  In 2010 Helen was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French government for services to French culture and language and in 2017 received the Innovation in Academia Arts and Culture Award from the University of Kent, UK.  She is a member of the Scientific Council of ESSCA (École de Management) Angers, France, and of the Expert Committee for the research network Alliance Europa, Pays de la Loire, France.


Vincent-Immanuel Herr is an author, activist, and speaker from Berlin. His work focuses on European integration, youth empowerment, and gender equality. As part of HERR & SPEER, he has spearheaded the FreeInterrail campaign and successfully lobbied the European Commission to introduce the DiscoverEU mobility programme for the bloc’s 18-year-olds. For this campaign, he was awarded numerous prizes including the Jean Monnet Prize for European Integration, the Good Lobby Award, and the Innovation in Politics Award. He has published articles and books in German and international media. His next book, featuring 95 specific ideas on how to improve the European Union will be published in August 2021 in Munich, Germany.


Shada Islam is a respected and well-known Brussels-based commentator on European Union affairs who now works independently as an advisor/analyst/strategist and commentator on Europe Africa Asia Geopolitics Trade Diversity and Inclusion. She joined Friends of Europe’s in February 2011, working there until June 9 2020. Earlier, after working as a senior journalist and commentator, she joined the European Policy Centre think tank in Brussels in 2007. She has a Masters Degree in Journalism and Social Communication from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

She now runs the New Horizons Project, her own Brussels-based global media, strategy and advisory company. She is a Senior Advisor at the European Policy Centre and Non-Resident Fellow at the Centre for Global Development, a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Natolin) and a Solvay Fellow at the Vrije University Brussel (VUB).

Shada is also an independent advisor at the European Neighbourhood Council and the Brussels International Centre for conflict resolution and on the Brussels advisory committees of Women in International Security (WIIS) and Migrant Women Connectors. She is a member of the informal Brussels-based “People of Colour” network.

Shada has spent most of her professional life researching, writing and speaking about diversity and inclusion. She also specialises in the European Union’s relations with Asia and Africa as well as EU Development Policy, Trade Policy and Migration. Shada has a global reputation as a leading commentator, analyst and writer on the EU’s domestic, diversity and foreign policy agendas. In 2017, Shada was selected as one of the 20 most influential women in Brussels by the magazine Politico.

She is a regular speaker at international conferences and policy panels and is a frequent lecturer at academic symposia on geopolitics Asia. She has an international media profile and writes regularly on Europe, Africa, Asia and Migration. Her articles appear, among other outlets, in the Guardian, Politico, EU Observer and the South China Morning Post as well as in academic journals. Her Frankly Speaking columns for Friends of Europe were widely read.