Belgian Youth Diplomacy is an Educational Belgian Youth Organization with an International Outlook and aims at providing young citizens the knowledge and skills needed to both understand and act on the globalized world which surrounds us. In other words, our main goal is to empower young people.

Belgian Youth Diplomacy offers the possibility to its members to meet with professionals in a variety of fields (business, culture, politics, diplomacy etc.) and network among peers.

Join us and get access to high-level debates, informal meetings with leaders of today & tomorrow, conferences, study-trips and much more!

Meet the board

Jasper Maesen – President

Jasper is part of the board since 2016 as Fundraiser Officer and has been recently been elected to BYD’s President. Thanks to his engagement, he helped the organisation to negotiate a partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

As an undergraduate in law, Jasper loves to immerse himself in law and politics by reading accurate books related to law and policy-making. His recent readings were the latest book written by Guy Verhofstadt and Barack Obama, to high profile politicians that represents his role model.

As a young and ambitious citizen Jasper takes regularly part in informative discussion via seminars, conferences or talks and debates.

Being eager to learn and curious, Jasper believes that BYD gives him the necessary tools and networking to enlarge his knowledge in state law and international law.
His aim for the academic year 2017-2018 is to help the board to organise big size conference with high profile speaker guests.

Jessica Simoes – Treasurer

Jessica graduated in September 2017 at the Institute for European Studies – ULB. She studied international and European studies with main focus on law. Currently, she is working for the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG Home, European Commission).

In 2014, she started as a Liaison officer for BYD to finally 2 years later to be elected as President in 2016. Since September, she is the new Vice-president/treasurer. Growing up in a multilingual country, Luxembourg – Schengen area, she was exposed to the European values since childhood. Jessica immersed herself in the world of diplomacy and politics by taking part in various organisations. She was part of Eyes on Europe, a student magazine that focus on EU politics in three different languages (French, English and German). Being interested in EU and its policy-making process, Jessica took part in different Model United Nation (MUN) and Model European Union (MEU) simulations.

With a new Board and being committed to her work, Jessica wishes to raise awareness among young people concerning international affairs and diplomacy. Most importantly, she wishes to help the new dynamic board in working efficiently by helping out with structure, logistic and communication.

Treasurer [at] bydiplomacy.com

Alexis Leenders – Secretary General

Alexis is the Secretary-General of Belgian Youth Diplomacy. In this position, he supports the overall functioning of the Board, follows up on Board member’s tasks and assures communication with external partners and with members.

Alexis has a Master’s degree in International Politics from Ghent University and an LL.M. degree in International Security from VU Amsterdam, where he studied the intersection between international law, politics and security issues. In The Netherlands, he interned at the Belgian Embassy in The Hague. Above all, he is an engaged individual who was president of a student association, involved in the student council and in several other youth projects.

He also has a dog called James, which deserves a special mention.

Gilles Van Assche – Head of the fundraising team

Gilles is currently studying Law at the University of Ghent. As a fundraiser he is in charged to fin the necessary financial resources for BYD’s activities. After being an editorial board member of Ghent Law Review during the academic year 2016-2017, Gilles was looking for new challenges.. He joined Belgian Youth Diplomacy because he wants to improve his negotiating and public speaking skills. As a European law enthusiast, he expects that making part of BYD will help him to get an insight in the working of the European institutions and international field.

Gilles is also member of the Faculty Committee for Internationalisation at the University of Ghent, which is responsible for the integration of the faculty education programs in international networks.

Always looking for new opportunities and eager to meeting interesting people, Gilles will do his utmost to provide BYD with financial funds and support.

Nicolas Gosselin – Legal Advisor

Nicolas is enrolled in his Master’s degree in Law at Ghent University where he focuses on Financial Crime, Tax Law and Corporate Law. He gained a fair amount of experience in the corporate world, due to his past internship at Orange Belgium (Regulatory Affairs) and his attendancy at a Legal Clinic in Corporate Law at his university.

He fulfills the role of Legal Advice Officer within BYD where he uses his knowledge in law to write Legal Risk Assessments and guide BYD to become a nonprofit organization by writing the statutes and internal regulations. As a Member of the Board, he provides his insights into the daily management and represents BYD at events and seminars.

Stijn Paulissen – Head of events team

Stijn Paulissen is a third–year undergraduate at the university of Ghent at the Faculty of law. His main focus is on international public rights and human rights. He has been involved in several projects concerning international cooperation. He is co-founder of GhentMUN and an active member of VVN Youth Gent.

His main interests are travelling, reading and international politics. By looking for new experiences, Stijn hopes to enlarge his knowledge every day. Joining Belgian Youth Diplomacy as a new member has been an amazing experience for him so far. Thanks to BYD, Stijn can interacts with professionals, meet people with international background, work in a multicultural environment, share and work towards a common projects. All these practices are a great way of developing knowledge about the international community and self-development.

As an Event Officer Stijn makes sure the events are up to date and include the latest political issues. Next to networking and contacting professionals, his role implies planning and managing every facet of the events.

Kaltoum Nebbou – Events team

Kaltoum is currently studying political sciences at Université Libre de Bruxelles. Opened to the world, she desires to learn and discover more on the laws and strings that govern the political sphere. Profoundly engaged and attracted by the Middle East politics, she would like to focus on the diplomatic ties between Europe and the said region. Kaltoum is an active person; she is involved in several organisations like Amnesty International or the ULB’s Student Administration because she truly wants to help get things moving!

As an Event Officer, she will use her network and will stay up to date in order to set up events related to the international’s agenda. To be a part of BYD’s Event team is an opportunity for her to deepen her knowledge, enlarge her network and be at the heart of the diplomatic world; a world she admires and she wants to work for.

Nicola Giannotta – Webmaster

Nicola is BYD’s new Webmaster and Communication Officer. He is currently studying Analysis and Programming at the EPFC – Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

Before starting his Bachelor, Nicola worked as a young self-employed in sales during two years. However, after two years he sold his company to pursue his truly dream; traveling around the world. He went to Australia and Thailand with his backpack for 6 months. In exchange for little money, Nicola helped in different farm as a fruit-packer or volunteering in Help Exchange for green farms. After these enriching experiences, Nicola came back to start his studies in communication.  The main reason why Nicola got involve in BYD is because he is deeply interested in various political topics, mainly on topics related to environment. Being deeply affected by the climate change, Nicola went to Iceland helping out with the national reforestation planning to fight against the effects of global warming.

As an open-minded and curious person, Nicola loves to immerse in new cultures. He is eager to learn more about the world that surrounds us; in that spirit he is already looking forward for his next travel. He wishes to help BYD in order to promote the empowering of young people. He truly believes that the young generation can change our actual way of living for a better and more reasonable world.