#33 Model European Union in Strasbourg (France)

Celia Liangoura, the Euro-diplomat busy President

Besides her diplomatic background and manners, Celia Liangoura, the Greek-born President of the third edition of the Model European Parliament is a Law student in Berlin but also a kind of busy woman. A portrait.

By: Pierre-Anthony Canovas

omeone who does not know Celia Liangoura yet, the first meeting can be surprising. The interview takes place at the Parliament of Strasbourg during the third edition of a Model European Union. A simulation designed to illustrate to the 180 young people, coming from 23 countries, “how the EU decision-making is made”. For a whole week, participants play either the role of a minister, a lobbyist, an interpreter, a journalist or a member of the parliament. And the one who represents the Parliament in this event is the Greek-born Celia Liangoura, a 22-year-old Law student at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

Obviously, when the observer sees her moderating all the debates with this incredible self-confidence, he can think she is older than expected and probably inaccessible. So do the participants. But as she is really experienced and quite easy-going, age doesn’t seem to really count. Indeed, Celia Liangoura is precocious and has a “very long C.V”. A former student at the German school of Athens, she got involved in the world of Models at the age of 14 “thanks to the support of a teacher”. Since then, she has created a local MUN group in Berlin and has participated to more than a thirty of those simulations and “chaired half of them”, including models of local Parliaments, of the European Union, leadership conferences but also the most famous ones, the Model of the United Nations. But with certain modesty, she prefers to specify that all of them have been  “youth conferences”.

Celia Liangoura is an ambitious woman.  But asked to answer where she might be in five years from now, she refuses to reply: “I can’t really define myself at that time”.   Currently completing her master’s degree in European and International Law, she is thinking about a PhD in this field. For someone who does not know her well, it is really easy to wonder where she finds the time needed for all those things. Because the travel-addicted president seems a busy woman but keeps intact her diplomatic smile despite the tiredness. A broad grin she will keep during the whole event, including during the several parties that the president – leaving her role for a time to join the participants – seemed to enjoy. About her professional experience, Celia Liangoura has already interned in an embassy, a law firm and is about to start another internship in a United Nations agency in Vienna. It is apparently not enough for her. The student has been a campaigner for the Friends of the Earth and had the chance to go to the Copenhagen Summit in December to lobby for change. Unsuccessfully then, in regards to the output of the conference, but the experience was still valuable.

As Greece is facing a huge economical crisis and that the talented Celia has some ties with Germany, a country criticized for their answer to the problem, I asked what her opinion is.  For her, “this crisis is nothing new” and she can’t understand why her homeland got accepted in the Eurozone despite “official documents that have been faked for decades ”. But as the discussion continues, we go on talking about the languages in the EU. Again, she thinks this “huge amount of languages” can be too much and some people might hence, “get lost in translation”. The solution could be to reduce the number of possibilities: “I would not be against one working language,” says the President using again litotes. But the interview – which had a lot of digressions – is over. Celia Liangoura is going to return to moderate the debates. With the same smile and appetite for political issues.

 

 

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