Belgium ambassador to speak at KU about U.S.-European relations

photo by: Contributed photo

Dirk Wouters, Belgium's ambassador to the United States.

A Belgian diplomat will visit the University of Kansas this summer to discuss the United States’ relationship with European countries and other international issues.

Dirk Wouters, Belgium’s ambassador to the United States, will speak at 2 p.m. June 13 at the Dole Institute of Politics, 2350 Petefish Drive, according to a university news release. The event is free and open to the public.

Wouters, who has served as an ambassador since 2016, will focus on challenges the European Union is currently facing and developments in the U.S. that have affected the country’s relationship with Europe. Some topics include President Donald Trump’s administration and its relationship with Russia and China, as well as the administration’s policies on trade deficits and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also known as NATO. Both the European Union and NATO are based in Brussels, the capital of Belgium.

Bill Lacy, director of the Dole Institute, said the organization is pleased to bring Wouters to Lawrence, noting that he is the second ambassador to visit the university. The first was Vlora Çitaku, ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo to the U.S., who spoke at the institute in 2018.

“As the second sitting ambassador to visit the institute in two years, we know (Wouters) will have extraordinary insights to offer our audience on the current state of world affairs, U.S. diplomacy and the European Union,” Lacy said in an email to the Journal-World. “As America’s relationships with other allies and global powers continue to make headlines, this talk is sure to be timely on a variety of levels.”

As an ambassador, Wouters represents the Belgian federal government in the U.S. and the Bahamas. He is also responsible for the work of the Belgian embassy, located in Washington, D.C., and its consulates in New York City, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

He previously served as a representative for Belgium in the European Union. He also served in several international relations positions, including serving in the Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representing Belgium’s economic interests in an assignment in Rome and serving as deputy representative of Belgium to the United Nations in New York City.

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