It’s time for women to get in the picture! Yes! The board mandate of three amazing women is about to end at the next AGM (General Assembly). We are honored that they invested their wisdom, senior expertise and enthusiasm to the benefit of Alumni Europae. Welcome to one of them: Prof. Dr. Camille Taper Schüller. Picture shows Prof. Dr. Camille Taper Schüller (left), discussing ‘Women Entrepreneurship across Cultures’, at the Bozar, for the occasion of the Irish Embassy’s celebration of Saint Brigid’s Day 2020.

Thank you, Prof. Dr. Camille Taper Schüller, for answering our „Faces behind Alumni Europae Questionnaire“. 

Your mandate as Board Member of Alumni Europae ASBL ends with the next AGM (General Assembly). We are honoured that you invested your wisdom, senior expertise and enthusiasm for the benefit of Alumni Europae.

Thank you also for your time and for sharing your thoughts with us:

Which European School are you from?

I attended the European School of Brussels II (Woluwe) from 1997 to 2008.

Which apprenticeship or studies did you decide to do after school?

First, I attended the Architecture School of La Cambre as part of the ULB for 1 year. I then reoriented my studies towards a Bachelor’s in Business Administration at the HUB, then I completed 2 Master’s Degrees: an MBA and a Master’s in Financial Management, followed by a PhD in Business Management with a focus on Socio-Cultural Anthropology and particular attention to the European School Culture, at the United International Business School (UIBS) in Brussels. Throughout my studies, I also completed a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) degree, and obtained a Financial Trading Certificate and a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) certificate.

What is your feeling when you hear many languages around you?

I have always felt most comfortable in multi-cultural and multi-lingual settings, and this is probably due to my time at the European School. Back at school, I was a social butterfly, my friends being in multiple different language sections, Portuguese, Italian, French, English, German, Swedish, Finish, and Dutch. But I don’t think this is the exception, rather the rule(!), and I assume that most of our AE members have had a similar experience!

How do you respond to the career tip "stay as you are"?

First and foremost, I agree to this saying whether for your professional or for your own personal life. You would not be able to keep up an “act” when you are working day-in and day-out on the daily activities. In my experience, pretending to be someone you are not never works for long, and doesn’t bring you happiness. You must be happy with yourself, and therefore must be true to yourself.  

Are you rather "everybody's darling" or "a person with clear ideas and their own profile"? Why?

Honestly, when I was a teenager, I used to try to be “everybody’s darling” as you say, and I think this may have shaped me a bit into who I am today; But I realised that I wasn’t being true to myself, and I took greater pleasure and happiness from being my own person, with my own clear ideals, values, and integrity, by giving that up. Trying to be liked by everybody made me have hundreds of acquaintances, but very few true friends, and I ended up losing myself. Since I gave up trying to be liked by everybody, I have developed truer and longer-lasting friendships than ever before.  

“Europe” - which is the first thought that comes to mind?

In one phrase: “United diversity”. Europe is an amalgamation of united diversity, stronger together, building on best practices and synergies. I know this sounds cliché, but I would gladly give up my two (Irish and Belgian) passports for a single European Passport, and I dream of the European Union becoming one federal state!

What was the most important “lesson learnt” from your time at a European School?

Acceptance, tolerance and inclusion. These are the values that the European School instilled in me; not necessarily through the taught curricula, but through the social interactions with my peers. Simply from being in an environment that brought together so many nationalities, these values were innate to most (if not all) European School students. 

Do you think it was an advantage to grow up and learn at a European School?

Of course it was an incredible advantage for me. Again, although the curriculum is a well-developed and sturdy one, the advantage for me was mostly thanks to the environment, the other students, and the multi-culturalism of the whole setting!

Your favourite author?

I think this is a changing answer, which depends on my stage in life, depends on the book that I am currently reading. I have loved Stieg Larsson and Camilla Lackberg for their crime thrillers, George R. R. Martin and J. R. R. Tolkein for their fantasy, Daniel Kahneman and Hans Rosling for their psychology, Anna Gavalda and Eric Emmanuel Schmitt for their fiction, Veronica Roth for her young adult fictions, Roald Dahl for his children’s stories, … and I’ll stop there, knowing full well that I am missing many great authors. 

Nevertheless, if I would have to choose a single best author, overall it would have to be Frank Herbert. He is one of the pioneering forefathers of the science fiction genre, and his works have inspired many other dearly loved universes such as Star Trek, The Chronicles of Riddick, Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and Futurama, to name but a few.

If you were to write a book - what would be its title? What would be its story?

Oh wow, that’s a hard one! I think that if I were to write a book, it would not be a biography of my life, as many do; it would be a story about the imagination, the fantastical, the dreams. It would be about a utopic world which works in perfect harmony. Its title would probably be something along the lines of “The United States of Europe”. 

Your strategy when it comes to turbulences?

Take a deep breath, step back, and assess the situation from a rational perspective. I am an eternal optimist who always sees the silver linings in any negative situation, nevertheless, emotions do sometimes get in the way, and I find it is best to try my best to be objective, and rationalise the situation. I never react too fast, and always think things through. 

Preferred quote, aphorism?

Better be safe than sorry / Better have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. 

Would you prefer a “good lunch in a lousy hotel” or a “lousy lunch in a good hotel”?

Definitely a good lunch in a lousy hotel! I care more about the flavours than the surroundings!

If you could spend 1 Mil Euros for a project - which one would it be?

That’s a secret that I won’t share with you just yet! I don’t have a million euros, but I aspire and strive to nevertheless develop my personal project which will create greater happiness than any amount of money – although getting some profit from it is definitely not out of the question! 

--------------------Thank you!