Jean Monnet Open Online Course of European Integration: Strategic Communications
EU leaders are increasingly concerned about the destabilising effect of what they consider coherent hostile strategic communications campaigns sponsored by foreign powers. But communication campaigns aimed at mobilising the public in order to influence EU policy-makers are neither new nor exclusive of foreign governments. So-called grassroots lobbying tactics, like organising public events and launching media campaigns, despite being largely discredited, are very important in granting interest groups access to EU decision-makers. Besides, the EU and its allies are not mere passive targets of strategic communications, and run their own information campaigns, both domestically and internationally. Finally, social media have disrupted traditional communication channels and created new opportunities and threats for EU strategic communications, highlighting the importance of influencers and brand advocates, but also creating new challenges for data privacy, which require critical analytical skills to detect deceptive manipulation campaigns and protect your data.
This course is aimed at students with an interest in strategic communications but little to no previous specialized knowledge of the EU or the management of social media campaigns. It has three main goals. First, it aims to offer a brief introduction to EU policy and policy-making, as well as the tools necessary to acquire information about the EU and analyze it critically. Second, it stresses how, in the EU, as in other democratic political systems, policy-makers are heavily influenced by public opinion, and private and public, domestic and foreign, interests try to mobilise the public through strategic communication campaigns with the ultimate goal of influencing policy makers. Finally, the course aims to prepare students for the new opportunities and threats that social media have created for EU strategic communications, including data privacy issues. It offers some practical training in agile project management, as well as power tips for those who want to become influencers in the digital age. Whether you are interested in advocating the interests of EU farmers, fighting corruption in Romania, or promoting peace in Ukraine, this course will equip you with the tools you need to be able to rock the social media.
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