Eugenio Díaz Llabata, IBEI alumni 2012-2013
Name and Last Name: Eugenio Díaz Llabata
Master studied at IBEI: Master's in International Relations
Current working company, position and city: Press Officer in the European Parliament Liaison Office in Spain (Madrid).
1. Why did you choose the IBEI Master’s in International Relations?
I did my Bachelor in Journalism and I knew from the beginning that I had to become an expert in some area in order to find a job and to have an exciting career. Some of the things that had struck me most when growing up were security and politics affairs, especially in the Middle East, but it wasn’t until I was in my last year, when I enrolled in a subject that dealt with migrations, security or global governance, that I realised that this was what I wanted.
2. What is your experience at IBEI?
It was overall a fruitful and exciting experience, much more demanding that my previous university experience so it was difficult for me at the beginning to settle down and fully enjoy and learn as it was supposed to be. The introductory courses really helped me to get a full picture of some basics about Politics, Economy or International Relations in which I did not have the faintest idea. The best thing about the Master’s degree at IBEI was the wide spectrum of optative subjects that you can choose while attaining a common and basic knowledge in the most important aspects of International Relations. The practical sessions with debates and presentations proved to be challenging at first because we are not used to this coming from the Spanish education, but these were one of the things that I value most now that I can look back, because this are real tests of what you are going to find outside.
3. Describe your career path since graduating from the IBEI
First, thanks to an agreement between IBEI and the Ministry of Defence of Spain, I was able to do an internship in the cabinet of the Secretary General for Defence Policy. It was an interesting opportunity to see real and practical application of the things I had learnt. However, after that, I wanted my career to be focused on a combination of Journalism and International Relations, so I first did an internship in the Communication Department of an NGO, whose objective were migration and asylum assistance. Then, I did an internship in the Press Department of the Presidency of the regional government of my place of origin (Valencia). After a year, I had the chance to do a traineeship in the European Parliament Liaison Office (EPLO) in Spain and, some months later I was hired as a reinforcement in the Press Department for the next European Elections. Last news is that, due to the success of this reinforcement, we are getting our contract extended at least for another year.
4. What is your professional experience (your current position, your main functions)?
Currently, I am a Press Officer in the EPLO in Madrid, combining the usual contact with media and journalists to inform them about the legislative decisions of the European Parliament with the organisation of events with stakeholders, drafting briefings and the mobilisation of young people through a pan-European grass-root campaign called #thistimeimvoting, among many other things. It has been a really challenging, demanding and stressful position so far, but the results have been great and we are helping to create good relations with media and stakeholders that will be extremely important for the work of this Office in the next legislature.
5. How did the master programme prepare you for the work you're doing now?
Working for the European Parliament is a really challenging job, even if you are not directly related with the drafting of legislative reports because you have to grasp all the legislative and political subtleties in order to inform about them to media and citizens. In this respect, having a great overview of the history of the European institutions, its composition and functioning as well as general notions in Economy, Politics and International Relations has given me the possibility of performing my job with a higher quality and also boosted my CV so as to be considered for this work in the first place.
6. Is this more or less what you pictured yourself doing after the master programme?
At first, I thought that I wanted to be a typical journalist working for a media company, but soon I realised also of the importance of having dedicated journalists and communicators inside the institutions to bridge the gap between citizens and the institutions, as well as media and the institutions. It is sometimes a difficult job in general because you are completely anonymous and you are sometimes regarded as “the bad guy” or, at least “the interested part”. In particular, in the European Parliament it is also difficult because the Spanish media (and most national media elsewhere in the EU) are still too much oriented towards national interests and fail to see the importance of EU matters and giving an EU perspective to their stories and pieces. Moreover, in this era of post-truth and disinformation, I reckon it is more important than ever to have good journalists in the Communication Departments of any institution to offer the journalists the possibility of checking their sources and also to alert the public opinion when something published (or tweeted) is false or misleading.
7. What advice would you give to current students who want to follow this career path? / Some advice to future IBEI students?
At the beginning, you will be tempted to follow as listener many subjects even if you are not enrolled in the subject in question. It is important to acknowledge that you cannot cope with everything: take your time to balance the pros and cons of the subjects that make you doubt and focus on them. It is also very important to dedicate your biggest effort at the start of the second semester to start thinking about your dissertation and to have the basic framework ready in order not to die during the summer. And enjoy Barcelona! It may seem difficult or nearly impossible at times, but it is an opportunity that won’t come back again.
8. What do you miss most about the IBEI?
The good friends I made there and the environment in general. I think I was very lucky to be part of the 2012-2013 course where I was able to work with, learn from and bond with some magnificent people. Nonetheless, I am beyond grateful for the friends that I still keep from that time and that have helped me grow into the person I am now. We may not be in the same city as we did in the past, but we could not be closer.