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Public Affairs is about the way in which all kinds of organisations engage in lobbying and in securing a good reputation with policy makers. In the world of policy making, organisations and groups with a specific interest try to influence decisions to their favour. They may try to get an issue on the agenda, or prevent it if this threatens their interest. How do they do this, what strategies they use, and with what effects? How can we understand the myriad of business corporations, professional associations, NGOs, citizen groups and increasingly also public organisations that gets involved in lobbying? How do policymakers respond to claims made by interest groups? What about the transparency of lobbying, and the implications for democratic representation?

This workshop introduces you to the world of public affairs, in which not only lobbying is relevant but also the reputation of organisations as they are more and more held publicly accountable for their behavior. How can you study the lobbying game, and how do organisations learn about strategy and reputation building? Do they work together, or do they act alone? In this sense, Public Affairs, which traditionally focused on lobbying policy makers, is becoming further entwined with Public Relations, which is more concerned with building a good reputational profile as a whole.

Public affairs is conducted not only at the national (or regional, or local) level but also and increasingly in international arenas, such as at the European level. What is the playing field of this activity, what role do the media have in the portrayal of issues on which interest groups lobby and policymakers are expected to take them up? How do policymakers select issues from the enormous volume of problems and claims that are presented to them?

This workshop introduces you to both perspectives: the viewpoint from interest groups that want to influence public policy, and the perspective of policymakers who must deal with all kinds of organized interests and make choices about which of these interests to address and which to ignore.

The workshop will also narrow down on how to make the tools of Public Affairs relevant to the needs of research and education professionals at the national and European level. This would focus on the greater sphere of ‘the Digital Agenda’ and understanding what such a concept means.

Workshop objectives

At an introductory level, this workshop provides you a view on the diversity of organisations engaged in interest representation, their strategies and tactics, and the effects of their activities on policy decisions and their public reputation.

The aim of the workshop is to convey an understanding of the playground of lobbying and the actors engaged in it and to show the interdependencies between lobbyists and policymakers.

The final objective of the workshop is to enable the participants to develop a strategy in Public Affairs for their own institutions.

Workshop Schedule

The workshop will be conducted in an interactive format. The workshop will start with an opening round, at which the participants will have the chance to voice their expectations of the workshop, which will be reviewed again at the end.

 First, we will take a view at Public Affairs and Lobbying from a more business-oriented perspective. Purpose of this presentation is to spark new ideas and to motivate to think outside the box.

 Thereafter, selected GÉANT NRENS will present their strategies in Public Affairs. We will explain and discuss basic concepts of Public Affairs. The objective of this part of the workshop is to provide an overview of the wide spectrum of possible PA strategies for NRENS in Europe.





Day 1 (April 8th)

12:30 - 13:00

Welcome & Intro

Léonie Schäfer (DFN), Hendrik Ike (GÉANT)

13:00 - 14:30

Session I – Public Affairs and Communication in the Digital Age

( Presentation  & Discussion )

Public Affairs and communication at the Digital Age_Mechthild_Buelow.pdf

Invited Presenter:

Mechthild Bülow, Owner of

Mechthild Bülow Public Affairs, Berlin

Mechthild Buelow_CV_English.pdf

14:30 - 15:00

Coffee Break

15:00 - 16:30

Martin Bech (DeiC), Ilse Koning (SURF)

16:30 - 17:00

Session III – Public Affairs Basics

Public Affairs Basics_Hendrik_Ike.pptx.pdf

Hendrik Ike (GÉANT)

17:00 - 17:30

Working Groups & Round-Up Day 1


19:00 - Open End

Working Dinner





Day 2 (April 9th)



08:45 - 09:00

Welcome Day 2

09:00 - 10:00

Session IV – The Perspective of the Policy Maker 

Lobbying from the politicians perspective_Edit Herczog.pdf

Edit Herczog (GÉANT)

10:00 – 10:30

Session V – Task Presentation: A (fictional)  Scenario for Public Affairs

Léonie Schäfer (DFN), Hendrik Ike (GÉANT)

10:30 – 10:45

Coffee Break

10:45 – 12:00

Session VI – Working Groups


12:00 – 13:00


13:00 - 15:30

Session VII - Working Groups


15:00 – 16:00

Session VIII – Use Case Presentations (20min per Working Group)


16:00 - 16:30

Round-Up Day 2 & Conclusions

Preparatory tasks for participants

  • Get info about the Digital Agenda of your country
  • Assess in how far your NREN is in-line with the Digital Agenda
  • Get info about lobbying activities in your country
  • Which lobbying associations are powerful? How do they work?

Interesting Reading

Target Group

Participants from Emerging NRENs or NRENs in the process of transformation. Management Level.

Logistics / Venue

DFN-Verein e. V.
Geschäftsstelle Berlin
Alexanderplatz 1
7th floor
10178 Berlin

How to get into the building...

GPS co-ordinates (WGS84): 
N 52° 31,27134´ E013° 24,76554´

Arrival by city transport:

For Berlin public transport please use tariff group AB single tickets. They are valid for two hours on all forms of city transport and all regional railways in Berlin. Within this time limit you can change between transport as often as you like. Tickets can be obtained on trams and buses or at the stations from ticket machines.  Single tickets bought at any station in Berlin must be validated before getting on transport.

Arrival by car:

The historic Berolina building is located in Alexanderplatz. Use of public transport is recommended because of limited parking in the area.

Arrival by plane at ...

... Airport Tegel (travel time is 36 - 45 minutes)

... Airport Schönefeld (travel time is 30 - 42 minutes)

Arrival by train at ...

... Central Station Berlin (travel time is 5 - 9 minutes)

... Station Alexanderplatz (a two-minute-walk)

... Station Ostbahnhof (travel time is 3 - 4 minutes)

... Station Zoologischer Garten (travel time is 12 minutes)


Recommended hotels: 

Park Inn Hotel in Berlin (this hotel is right next to the DFN offices)

Alternatively have a look at the following list of hotels, which are all in walking distance to the DFN Offices and Alexanderplatz:

Hotel Motel One - Alexanderplatz

Hotel Motel One – Hackescher Markt

Hotel Indigo

B&B Hotels Berlin Alexanderplatz

Hotel Hackescher Markt (No-chain hotel. Just one stop (2min) away from Alexanderplatz by S-Bahn)

H4 Hotel Alexanderplatz

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