The “Institut Interdisciplinaire pour les Relations entre l’Union Européenne, l’Amérique Latine et les Caraïbes – IRELAC” (Interdisciplinary Institute for the Relations between the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean) is a non-profit research organization under Belgian law open to universities, research organizations and individual experts in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. It gathers around 30 active members and a broader network of more than 20 universities, with more than 35 years of experience. Its members form a complementary interdisciplinary team and network of experts in analysing the academic relations and cooperation between the European Union and the Latin American and Caribbean regions as well as providing an experimented expertise and analytic capacity on socio-economic and policy-oriented issues, especially on the macroeconomic development of the region and each country, the processes of regional integration, local development, social inclusion and gender equality, focusing on the interplay of economic, political, social and environmental issues. Although it is an independent association, IRELAC is based at the ICHEC Brussels Management School.
IRELAC organizes researches and seminars related to these issues and addresses an audience of post-graduate students, researchers, international officials from the European Union Institutions (European Commission, European Parliament and European Externa Action Service), from the UN (ECLAC, IMF, WB, WTO), from Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as diplomats and national experts from both regions.
IRELAC has been associated with the “Egmont – Royal Institute for International Relations” since 2014, the think-tank of the Belgian Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It also has several specific cooperation agreements with specialized institutes in France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Rumania, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Venezuela.
IRELAC usually works as an expert in consulting projects with the EU, the UN, the EU-LAC Foundation (Hamburg), the Belgian Ministries, the Conference of Italian Rector (CRUI) and some CELAC member states.
IRELAC has been actively involved in the preparation of the EU-CELAC Academic Summit since the beginning in 2012 and was the main organizer and sponsor of the Brussels Academic Summit in June 2015 (gathering 500 academics and 220 universities from 48 countries). IRELAC also organized other events preparing the bi-regional Summits.
IRELAC is a member of the European networks CEISAL (the European Council of Social Research on Latin America), REDIAL (European Network of Information and Documentation on Latin America), the global network LASA (Latin American Studies Association) and the International Congress of Americanists (ICA).
IRELAC worked and is still working with the European Commission.
From 2011 to 2014, to the Project “Conocimiento, Inclusión, Desarrollo – CID” as member of a consortium coordinated by the Fondazione CRUI – Conference of Rectors of Italian Universities. From 2012 to 2016 to the project NETCERMAT – EU-LA NETWORK IN CERAMIC MATERIALS WITH ENVIRONMENTAL AND INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS, in which IRELAC was in charge of the impact assessment of nanotechnologies, Under the coordination of the University of Barcelona.
Presently (2016-2019) IRELAC is coordinator of a Jean Monnet Network dedicated to the issues of “Crisis – Equity – Democracy”, under an ERASMUS+ project gathering five academic high level partners (see on https://monnet-crisis-network.eu/partners/).