Executive Education

European Capitals

The Hertie School (Berlin), the SciencesPo School of Public Affairs (Paris), the LUISS School of Government (Rome) in cooperation with the Policy Institute at King´s College (London) are introducing an intensive learning experience for public policy and management executives in three European capital cities.

Initiated and supported by leading personalities of administration and academia, this programme offers a deep understanding of policy and management processes in each capital. Comprising three 3- to 4-day modules in Rome, Berlin and Paris, the programme will contribute to building a network among participants heading for future leadership positions.


The future of the European project seems uncertain due to conflicting roles played by national governments, the European Union, and other transnational bodies. All scenarios at hand, however, have one important feature in common: the increasing interconnectedness of national Administrations, both directly across member states as well as indirectly through the numerous transnational institutions, agencies and organisations in Brussels, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, and all over Europe.

Curiously, it is also this very aspect of European integration that is often overlooked by existing executive education programmes in public management and policy studies: the growing extent and intensity of cross-border ties between national administrations and branches of government in several member states.

National public administrations need a better understanding on how to move forward within the European multi-level governance architecture. This requires sensitivity towards the models and cultures of different national public administrations in Europe.

If the European project is to grow horizontally rather than hierarchically in terms of governance, public administrations and agencies, member states will increasingly be called upon to create effective cross-border ties at policy and operational levels.

In response to this need, European CAPITALS will provide

  • an inside view into the machineries of government in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy,
  • analyses of frontier policy issues relevant to governments across Europe from national, intergovernmental and supranational points of view, and
  • first-hand insights as well as training and peer-learning opportunities in relation to best practices in leadership and management in European administrations.

European CAPITALS is a high-level executive programme which will contribute to building a network among participants heading for future leadership positions. It is designed for (among others):

  • National civil servants and other government officials who aspire DG-level positions
  • Civil servants from European Institutions who aspire DG-level positions
  • Senior diplomats from EU member states as well as from other countries
  • Executives from private organizations, business associations, and NGOs


The Hertie School (Berlin), Sciences Po Paris, and LUISS (Rome) aim to educate a new generation of policy-makers and public managers by offering a European public policy and management programme called European Capitals. This programme is intended for executives and high potentials who aspire to become effective, outward-oriented and visionary leaders. It is designed to help them learn from other countries’ policy and management experience and to address the main challenges they are facing.

Despite their long-standing participation in the EU and the fact that all are parliamentary democracies, France, Germany and Italy display strong differences as far as the functioning of government is concerned. Participation in EU-level coordination is limited to a thin layer of internationalized civil servants whereas the bulk of government bodies remain immersed in legal, institutional and intellectual contexts that remain deeply national.

Leadership and management processes also differ quite substantially. In consequence, the vast majority of top-level civil servants lack familiarity with the policy conversation and even more with the policy culture of the neighbouring countries. This results in excessive isolation and a lack of cross-country fertilisation, as well as in obstacles to European coordination.

This has become more of a concern recently, as policy preparation and coordination within the EU has become more intergovernmental. European government bodies cannot anymore limit themselves to being knowledgeable on the way “Brussels” and the EU institutions work and they cannot rely solely on initiatives from the EU. Current and future leaders need first-hand experience of how other countries work and modernise.

Government executives therefore need to be prepared for dealing with their counterparts in Paris, Berlin, Rome and other member states.
The programme contributes to building a pan-European network of future leaders by:

  • Sharing the best public management practices and providing evidence-based policy reforms from the participating countries 
  • Focusing on frontier issues and the emerging challenges all public and private organizations have to deal with, but still struggle to address;
  • Building on the skills of the participants to turn the programme into a cross-country management and policy lab.

Programme design

The three country modules to be held in Paris, Berlin and Rome will offer practical relevance and state-of-the-art curriculum design including

  • Expertise: high quality seminars by academics employing various interactive learning formats;
  • Dialogue: meetings with leading experts from government, business, and civil society;
  • Insights: visits to relevant institutions to gain first-hand insights into their inner workings;
  • Public Events: invitation to take part in public discourses and engage with distinguished speakers;
  • Peer-learning: participants are co-producers of knowledge, co-designers of the process, and co-creators of the outcome.

Given the high degree of interaction among the group, each module will also provide room for
discussion, group work and reflections.



European Capitals is an executive programme that contributes to building a network among participants bound for future leadership positions. The programme is designed for:

  • National civil servants and other government officials who aspire to DG level positions;
  • Civil servants from European institutions and international organisations;
  • Senior diplomats and civil servants from EU member states as well as from other countries, preferably from Eastern partnership countries;
  • Executives from private organisations, business associations, and NGOs.


The second edition of the European Capitals programme will take place in Paris, Rome and Berlin throughout 2019/2020.

Rome 18-21 September 2019 (incl. modules on UK policy and current challenges)

Berlin 21-23 November 2019

Paris 13-15 February 2020 (tbc)*

The European Capitals programme is a one-year, ten-days intensive learning experience taught in Rome, Berlin and Paris by eminent figures from academia, government, public and private organisations. It relies on the active involvement of the participants and builds on the wealth of their skills and experience.

*The Paris schedule may be slightly adjusted


Course Fee

€ 6,900 (excluding travel arrangements)*

*Full and partial scholarships are available for excellent candidates from Eastern and Southern European countries.



Please apply by 31 July via our online application module application.hertie-school.org.

When registering, please select “European Capitals” under study programme and upload following documents:

  • Your CV in PDF format
  • A motivation letter in PDF format (max. one page), and
  • Provide a link to a two-minute video explaining who you are and why you are the ideal candidate to be selected (for scholarship participants only). 

Admission is subject to availability. Please note that three students will be selected to receive a scholarship covering their tuition fee plus accommodation.  






Academia and experts included in the programme are among others:

Prof. Dr. Henrik Enderlein (Germany), President and Professor of Political Economy at the Hertie School

Prof. Sergio Fabbrini (Italy), Director of the Luiss School of Government and Professor of Political Science and International Relations at LUISS Guido Carli

Prof. Jean Pisani-Ferry (France), Commissioner-general of France Stratégie, Professor at the Hertie School, Founding Director of Bruegel

Prof. Dr. Jobst Fiedler (Germany), Senior Fellow in Residence, Convenor, Prof. em. of Public and Financial Management at the Hertie School

Ms. Anne-Marie Idrac (France), Chairperson of the Board, Sciences Po School of Public Affairs, chairperson, Toulouse Airport, former minister, former CEO of SNCF

Prof. Bernardo Mattarella (Italy), Head of Legislative Affairs, Italian Ministry of Public Administration and Professor at LUISS School of Government


For further information regarding the European CAPITALS program please contact:

CAPITALS is supported by the Mercator Foundation.