Restless mind in a restless world
I work on international politics, Eurasian affairs, and economic power politics at the Free University of Brussels. I consider myself an old-fashioned academic, striking a balance between a generalist approach and mastering detail, between asking fundamental questions and explaining the practical relevance of my answers.
We all have our character. I am a rather restless mind. I function best when I can do different things at the same time, combine thinking with practice, politics with economics, research in solitude with travel. This will never make me a very specialised pundit-professor. But despite its imperfections, it’s a way of life and it suits me best.
I enjoy writing books. It is a luxury to have such space. My books are thoroughly researched and I prefer not to write them as a long opinion article with a single grand idea. Politics is complex and it is vital for students and practitioners not to expect that it can be reduced to one-size-fits-all propositions and solutions. Still, my books are written for a broad readership and explain complex matters in accessible language.
They were reviewed by publications such as the Economist, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and so forth. Several books were also translated, in Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesia, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Greek, and so forth.
I have written over 40 academic papers, published in journals like International Spectator, the Journal of International Trade, the Washington Quarterly, Journal of Strategic Studies, the Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of Contemporary China, etc.
I lectured at universities like Harvard, Columbia, Oxford, the London School of Economics, the Central Party School, Tsinghua, Peking University, Fudan University, Delhi University, and Singapore National University. I am a guest lecturer at the senior staff courses of the defense academies of Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, as well as at the generals and ambassadors course of the NATO Defense College and several other civilian leadership training programmes in Europe.
I had the pleasure to contribute in various ways to policy, by working as a special advisor to the First Vice-President of the European Commission for instance, by leading research projects for the European Parliament, by working with European member states on their Asia policy, and so forth. I serve as a corvette captain (res.) with the Belgian Armed Forces.
I am or was part of various organizations, such as the World Economic Forum, the Trilateral Commission, the Friday Group, and so forth. I advised Fortune Global 500 companies on their Asia strategy and am frequently invited as a speaker at internal briefings at board and high executive level.
Besides academic and policy related work, I comment on current affairs in news media. Shorter pieces of my hand appeared in news outlets like the Financial Times, the Guardian, South China Morning Post, Politico, the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, the Harvard International Review and Le Monde.
I was interviewed by major television channels – such as CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, CCTV, Al Jazeera – and newspapers – like the New York Times, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal. I had or have a column in South China Morning Post, Knack, and EU Observer.