Meet Monika The cosmopolitan communicator from Cologne


Library Life — published 27/03/18

Monika is one of those quick-minded people, who immediately know what they want. Luckily for us what she wanted was The Library Ixelles. We asked Monika a few questions about her professional life, projects and city preferences.

 

Monika, you are a journalist by trade, but what areas do you work with now?

As a journalist and reporter I worked mostly on issues of development cooperation, EU development policies, global sustainability, environment, energy and climate, EU-Africa relations, human and social rights, gender, trade/fair trade and the like. I have reported for newspapers and radio – from numerous countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In Brussels, I work mostly as a moderator of public panel debates – also with a strong focus on global sustainable development. Apart from that, I offer tailor-made media, presentation and communication trainings as well as support for strategic communication for individuals as well as for organisations and institutions, including the EU commission, namely the DG Development, DevCo.

Still, at the moment I am also looking for new areas of work – and I would like to incorporate more cultural and intercultural topics into my activities.

 

You travel between Brussels and Cologne for work. Is the professional and social vibe different between these two cities and what do you like best about each city?

That’s a tricky question, since Cologne is my hometown and I am surely a bit biased when it comes to judging it. But, yes, the vibe is different in both cities – with Brussels being much more cosmopolitan and also offering more interesting professional opportunities. Cologne, on the other hand, has a strong tradition of its own – e.g. it has one of the biggest Carnival in the world, believe me – and that is something I also like about this town. At the same time most of the people in Cologne are quite open-minded and welcoming to foreigners. There is some kind of « easy-going », « live and let live » attitude.

Nevertheless, despite the ties that I still have with Cologne and my friends over there, I took the decision to spend more time in Brussels and focus on activities over here. This is also due to the fact that I feel very much at home in Ixelles and the beautiful neighborhood around Chatelain, where I live.

 

What brought you to The Library and has coworking had any impact on your work?

I happened to see an ad of The Library on Facebook a few weeks ago, after having been searching for a co-working place here in Brussels for quite some time without finding the right place. What I liked very much was that one could try-out The Library for a day. I chose The Library in Ixelles, because it is close to my house – and I must say I was convinced right from the start. The beauty of the building, the warm « acceuil » and the concept of this « office hotel » with its splendid Danish touch seemed very pleasant to me. The fact that I ran into one of Anne-Sofie’s special lunch offers the very first day might have also contributed to my quick decision to become a Library member. Now, after roughly four weeks of membership, I already feel very much at home in Rue de l’Aurore. Co-Working here for me means to get out of isolation, that freelancers and independent consultants often suffer from. It also means to make new and inspiring contacts – especially because The Library brings people from different professions together. People that most probably would not meet elsewhere. So, working and thinking « out of the box » is really made possible here.