KoFEAA lectures

KoFEAA – “Knowledge with a cup of coffee at FEAA” is a concept created by the project team members along with the beneficiary students. In the discussions with the students enrolled in the Project, there was a need to complement the knowledge accumulated during the courses, with brief yet consistent interventions from outside experts (academics as well as practitioners). These interventions are meant to be short in length, taking as much as it would take you to drink your coffee. As such, students will gain valuable insights into the current key economic, social, and environmental sustainability challenges, from national and international academics & practitioners (on the specific topic of the day) and will have the opportunity to socialize and make their voice heard.
The logo was created following a competition where the NextStepEU students were invited to participate with an original and attractive logo. Nine participants registered the contest, and we congratulate all of them: Alexandra Gal, Alexandra Munteanu, Anca Ioja, Ecaterina Angheluță, Elena Catelli, Irina Dima, Leonte Giulia, Veronica Condurachi and Roxana Airinei. Nonetheless, we had to choose only one, so the one that inspired the current KoFEAA logo was proposed by Ms. Ecaterina Angheluță.

The 11th KoFEAA lecture was delivered online (via Microsoft Teams) on Saturday (25th of November 2023), by the former MEP, Mr. Jan Dhaene, on the topic „The European Parliament and its roles in the EU institutional infrastructure”. This KoFEAA’s edition was organized in partnership with the European Parliament Former Members Association, an institution which brings together almost 750 former MEPs from all EU countries and across the whole political spectrum (see more at https://www.formermembers.eu). In his presentation, the former MEP provided insights into the functioning and significance of the European Parliament within the institutional framework of the European Union (EU). He elaborated on the various roles played by the European Parliament, emphasizing its legislative, supervisory, and budgetary responsibilities.
He mentioned to us about Spain’s biggest environmental disaster called “Prestige”. This ship was carrying fuel oil and after a bad storm the ship suffered a leak which led to a big disaster, the oil it was carrying began to leak into the sea. The Spanish government ordered the ship to be towed away from the coast towards the north. Jan Dhaene was part of the team who made a joint resolution proposal which was adopted about “Safety at sea and measures to alleviate the effects of the Prestige disaster”. Jan Dhaene was a member in Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism (this committee deals with finding urgent solutions for transport to become more efficient and non-polluting, but they must also be available and at affordable prices for all citizens) and The Green Group (The group focuses on the environment and social justice. It wants to tackle climate change by revolutionizing green energy and guaranteeing human rights and equality for all Europeans.
More about Mr. Jan Dhaene can be found in the Guest Speaker section. More about EP FMA can be found on: https://www.formermembers.eu
Special thanks to our NextStepEU student, Căzăciuc Ștefania-Cristiana, for being the Rapporteur of the day.

The 10th KoFEAA lecture was delivered onsite, on Saturday (18th of November 2023), by PhD Biologist Cristiana Virginia Petre, on the topic „The ‘Anastasie Fătu’ Botanical Garden: its history and added value to the community of Iasi”.
Ms. Cristiana Petre provided the participants with a brief history of the first and largest botanical garden in Romania and presented its current operations and integration within the community of Iasi. Subsequently, the visit continued to the first greenhouse of the Garden. There, project participants had the opportunity to observe the autumn exhibition, as well as other plants permanently present in the botanical garden, such as carnivorous plants. The most interesting part of the autumn exhibition was the display of chili peppers. This exhibition included the second hottest chili pepper in the World, the “Carolina Reaper,” cultivated by the American chili pepper grower Ed Currie. Continuing the tour, participants visited the second greenhouse of the garden, where they could admire a variety of autumn flowers arranged in a spectacular manner. Throughout the visit to this greenhouse, Ms. Cristiana Petre explained to the students about the process of cultivating and caring for plants. Additionally, the students had the opportunity to ask questions.
More about PhD Biologist Cristiana Virginia Petre can be found in the Guest Speaker section.
Special thanks to our NextStepEU student, Andrișoaie Alexandra-Claudia, for being the Rapporteur of the day.

The 9th KoFEAA lecture was delivered in a hybrid manner (B618 and on-line), on Saturday (11th of November 2023), by Professor Ricardo Garcia Mira on the topic „ Navigating Sustainable Living in the European Union: Understanding Influences, Dynamics, and Initiatives”. The approach was more psychological and how the mental state of people can influence their lifestyle, which is closely related to the sustainability of the environment.
The presentation went into the multifaceted aspects of sustainable living, exploring key topics that were emphasized by the professor. It examined the intricate relationship between people’s lifestyles and their impact on environmental sustainability, shedding light on pivotal factors that influenced the adoption of sustainable practices. The discussion also unraveled the intricate interplay between time utilization, lifestyle choices, and consumption patterns, addressing the need for changes in temporal patterns to foster sustainability. Moreover, the presentation analyzed the spillover effects, both positive and negative, among the temporal, spatial, and material components of lifestyles. Furthermore, it explored the transitions required for individuals to embrace sustainable lifestyles, elucidating the challenges and opportunities in this transformative journey. Lastly, the role of sustainability initiatives in catalyzing and promoting sustainable living was explored, emphasizing their significance in shaping a more environmentally conscious and responsible society.
More about Professor Ricardo Garcia Mira can be found in the Guest Speaker section.
Special thanks to our NextStepEU student, Andrișoaie Alexandra-Claudia, for being the Rapporteur of the day.

The 8th KoFEAA lecture was delivered on site, on Sarturday (4th of November 2023, starting at 09.00 AM) by Professor Romeo-Iulian Olariu. The topic debated regarded the Development and functioning of the Research center with integrated techniques for investigating atmospheric aerosols in Romania (RECENT AIR). The purpose of such a field visit was to see on-site how European funds are best used to finance and support research activities and how environmental education could benefit from this investment.
The RECENT AIR Project Manager is Professor dr. habil. Cecilia Arsene. The aim of the RECENT AIR project is to make significant contributions so as to increase the research, development, and innovation capacity of the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Iași, as a public research institution, through the development and modernization of existing R&D infrastructure, focused on monitoring and analyzing environmental factors, as well as the prevention and sustainable management of environmental risks. The purpose is to transfer knowledge in priority research areas of interest to economic agents or communities, and administrative territorial units.
Following the discussions with Professor Olariu, the students learned that this is a project co-financed under the Operational Program Competitiveness 2014-2020, Priority Axis: 1. Research, technological development, and innovation (RDI) in support of economic competitiveness and business development, Action: 1.1.1. Large RDI infrastructures/Universities-for less developed regions-LDR. After climbing the tower’s stairs, the students admired the view from 30 meters high, while Professor Olariu shared the history of the tower and the technology within that laboratory. He also explained that the five distinct geographical locations have been strategically selected for their potential to facilitate the generation of relevant and reliable scientific information in the medium and long term (through intensive measurements as well as continuous monitoring) for atmospheric aerosols with a specific “footprint” in the selected geographic areas. Additionally, within the project, two mobile laboratories were set up: one mobile laboratory for real-time direct research of the atmosphere and one mobile laboratory equipped with apparatus, instruments, and equipment for testing air quality in various areas.
More about Professor Romeo-Iulian Olariu can be found in the Guest Speaker section.
Special thanks to our NextStepEU student, Severin Georgiana-Tincuța, for being the Rapporteur of the day.

The 7th KoFEAA lecture was delivered in a hybrid manner (B525 and on-line), on Friday (31st of March 2023) in partnership with the EUconomics Jean Monnet Module.
This lecture’s specific topic regarded „Main trends in Central Banking” and our Guest Speakers were Maroje Lang & Anastasios Pappas (both Keynote speakers at the EUconomics International Conference “Financial and Monetary Policies for Fostering European Integration” held on 30 March –1 April 2023, in Iasi – see: http://euconomics.uaic.ro/).
Maroje Lang is an experienced policy economist with a focus on monetary and fiscal policy working as a Chief Advisor at the Croatian National Bank. Since 2018, he has been a member and Deputy President of the Croatian Fiscal Policy Commission. In his current role, he is coordinating economic research at the CNB and working on various projects, including climate-related issues for the central banks. At the KoFEAA lecture he discussed about “Economic Policies for Climate Change – the Role of Central Banks”.
Anastasios Pappas is currently head of the Research Department within the Hellenic Fiscal Council. He has worked as an economist in the private and public sectors (consulting, banking, and local government) and also taught various courses at the University of Aegean and at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. His research interests cover topics concerning Fiscal Macroeconomic and Monetary Policy, Economic Forecasting, Financial Crises, and Capital Mobility. At the KoFEAA lecture he discussed about the “ECB and current trends (in managing the inflation)”.
More about at Maroje Lang here and about Anastasios Pappas here.

The 6th KoFEAA lecture was delivered on-line, on Saturday (17th of December 2022) by the Freelanced energy journalist, Poet, Reporter and analyst for renewable energy, professor Iilias Tsagas on the topic „The impact of the merit order in the electricity markets”. The most important aspects that our invited guest highlighted were:
a) How the liberalized market works. We discussed about three types of market when it comes to electricity: 1) Over the counter/ forward Market. It doesn’t necessarily involve that the retailer does produce the energy; 2) Next day Market/The day ahead Market. This is the most competitive market and it uses the “merit order”. The merit order creates the order in which power plants are designated to provide energy and it is based on the lowest marginal costs. Power plants that continuously produce electricity at very low prices are the first to provide energy and those with high marginal costs are added later, until market demand is satisfied. Power plants with low marginal costs can therefore offer a lower price for their electricity, and they are in turn called upon more often than power plants with higher marginal costs. 3) Intra-day market. This market ensures that cities or certain areas do not suffer blackouts and is made up of network operators.
b) Electricity generators are not paid according to the bid they have at the beginning of the market, but at the market closing bid, which is given by the price of the last unit sold.
c) Those who produce wind energy do not register the highest profit, as governments impose a ceiling on the profit they collect or compensate losses up to a certain point, depending on the contract.
d) Coal and nuclear energy make the most money, more than gas, as they have lower production costs.
More about Professor Iilias Tsagas can be found in the Guest Speaker section.

The 5th KoFEAA lecture was delivered online, on Saturday (3rd  of December 2022) by Professor Andreea Apetrei Kalveram, from the Universidad Católica de Valencia, on the topic „The marketing mix of a sustainable company”. Some of the most important aspects that the professor highlighted were: a) Sustainable marketing is the process of creating, communicating and delivering value to customers in such a way that both natural and human capital are preserved or improved at all times. In order for this to happen we need to choose and implement changes in all the 4Ps: Product, Price, Promotion and Placement. b) Product: In order to have a sustainable marketing mix within the product, we must create products from organic, non-toxic and renewable materials. Also, products must be able to be stored intelligently and transported more efficiently to minimize pollution. The products must be created for safe and long-lasting usage and be designed for disassembly, remanufacturing and material recovery. c) Price: The pricing strategy must reflect the company’s values. An unaffordable high price will keep customers away, and a high price does not necessarily mean that the product is sustainable and in the case of low prices, someone pays the “cost” or someone does not receive a decent salary. d) Promotion: The company’s message should not focus on buying a lot and often because this is not sustainable, but it should focus on constant work in creating, informing and communicating value. The message of consumerism is felt especially in companies that promote fast fashion, where too many clothes are produced and available for short periods of time, so there will be a trend of consumerism among customers. e) Placement: It is worth remembering that, the bigger the distribution channel, the more partners there will be, partners who want to maximize their profits. Therefore, when there is transparency and collaboration between the members of the distribution channel, a transition can be made to a new stage in which value is brought to those involved, from the raw material supplier to the final consumer
More about Professor Andreea Apetrei Kalveram can be found in the Guest Speaker section.

The 4th KoFEAA lecture was delivered on site, on Saturday (26th  of November 2022) by the Biologist, Ciprian Birsan PhD on the topic „The history of the botanical garden ‘Anastasie Fătu’ and the added value it brings to the community of Iasi”. Some of the most important aspects that the professor highlighted were: a) A brief yet relevant history of the botanical garden: In 1856, the first Botanical Garden in Romania was founded by the doctor and naturalist Anastasie Fătu. It was located on a plot of land bought with own funds near Râpa Galbenă and until the death of the founder it was an amazing place for young students to study botany on living material and for citizens to admire the beautiful nature. In the 1963-1964 period, under the directorship of Emilian Țopa, the botanical garden was moved to its current location in Dealul Copoului. It is currently the largest botanical garden in Romania and has 76 employees distributed in 10 sections that cover 89.55 hectares. b) The unique character of the Botanical Garden in Iași: It is assigned by the remarkable heritage value of the scientific collections and the section intended for the visually impaired, where plants, rich in essential oils, are provided with explanations in Braille. c) The plant that raised the attention of the students was a tree that didn’t seem like much at first look. It is an indigenous species of conifer and it is the only conifer that loses its leaves in winter and is known as „Zadă”, „Larice” sau „Lariță”. Thanks to our NextStepEU student, Ms. Anca Ioja, for reporting on the event.
More about biologist Ciprian Birsan can be found in the Guest Speaker section.

The 3rd KoFEAA lecture was delivered, on-line, Saturday (12th of November 2022, starting with 10.30 A.M.), by professor Rodica Perciun on the topic: “The Transition to the Circular Economy – An Essential Condition of Achieving Sustainable Development“. Some of the most important aspects that the professor highlighted were: a) the circular economy is different from the traditional and consumerist or linear economic model that follows a single trend: consume, use, throw away; b) the circular economy is based on the concept of reuse, the life cycle of the product does not end abruptly as in the case of the linear economy, but turns into consumption, use, recycle, reuse; c) one of the disadvantages of the linear economy is waste, where between 25t-30t of waste is generated per capita annually. As we well know, our planet has limited resources that must be treated like a dowry by governments and the current generation, in order to be given in good condition to the next generation. d) at the foundation of the circular economy is the rule of the three R’s: Reuse, Reduction, Recycling. Therefore, for companies to be able to implement these principles, they must adopt circular business models. It means that they must manage the business to obtain and distribute value in a sustainable way. Through this method, the life cycle of the product will be circular and will transform from: take-produce-throw to Design-keep-regenerate. Thanks to our NextStepEU student, Ms. Anca Ioja, for reporting on the event.
More about Professor Rodica Perciun can be found in the Guest Speaker section.

The 2nd KoFEAA lecture was delivered on site, on Saturday (5th of November 2022, starting with 10.30 A.M.), by Professor Ricardo Garcia Mira on the topic: “Sustainability as a Transversal Feature in all EU policies”. Some of the most important aspects that the professor highlighted were: a) Sustainability is a set of actions contributing to the development of a social and economic system in balance with the nature; b) the workplace is our main place where we spend the most of our time (apart from family time), so we should put it in the middle of the analysis when it comes to living a green lifestyle; c ) social innovation is how can we change the social rules in relationship with each other to be more efficient; d) EU adapts its policies related to sustainability to satisfy current themes and concerns (it has programs for universities, with government representatives and industry representatives to promote sustainable change); e) students are encouraged to participate in Erasmus-type projects to become more responsible and competent, and the new generation of European citizens to be more prepared and to take initiative and sustainable choices, beneficial to the environment.Thanks to our NextStepEU student, Ms. Anca Ioja, for reporting on the event.
More about Professor Ricardo Garcia Mira can be found in the Guest Speaker section.

The 1st KoFEAA lecture was delivered on site, Saturday (22nd of October 2022, starting with 10.30 A.M.), by Professor Seyed Mehdian on the topic: “US as a model for economic and political integration for the EU”. Some of the most important aspects that the professor highlighted were: the role of finance in acting as a glue for economic and political integration (on the US case); the political union as a solution for reducing income disparities; advantages and disadvantages for a common currency for US states; the US model for responsibilities sharing between federal and national authorities; Competitiveness and Free Markets create the most efficient economic system and represent the heart of any economic activity; the Market is very intelligent, it sends signals to market participants to benefit the entire society, etc. Thanks to our NextStepEU student, Ms. Anca Ioja, for reporting on the event.
More about professor Seyed Mehdian can be found in the Guest Speaker section.