1 June 2005
René Oosterlinck was appointed Director of External Relations by the ESA Council in December 2004. He takes up duty today.
Of Belgian nationality, married and with four children, René Oosterlinck, 61, was awarded an engineering degree from the Higher State Technical Institute for Nuclear Industries of Brussels, Belgium in 1966. In 1969 he obtained a degree in civil engineering from the university of Leuven, Belgium and in 1977 he obtained a degree in law from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.
Besides Dutch, his mother tongue, he speaks French, English and German fluently and has good knowledge of Spanish and Italian. Chinese and Japanese complete the picture of his interest in foreign languages.
René Oosterlinck started his career in 1969 as a teacher of physics and maths in Zaire (now Congo). Two years later he became a patent examiner at the International Patent Office in The Hague.
In 1979 he joined ESA, where he held the post of head of the international property, transfer of technology and information policy office until 1984, when he became Head of the Personnel and Site Services Department.
After a period heading the Legal Affairs Department (1998-1999), he became Head of the Navigation Department, where he was in charge of the Galileo and EGNOS programmes. Since 2004 he is lecturing Space Law at the University of Ghent in Belgium.
Mr. Oosterlinck will now be in charge of a Directorate that comprises three Departments: International Relations, Corporate Communication and Education.
“The Directorate of External Relations is ESA’s window on the outside world” said Mr Oosterlinck. “it is through International Relations that we interface with other organisations and agencies such as NASA in the USA and Roscosmos in Russia, but also with Japan, India and China and non-member states in Europe which show interest in sharing our activities. Through Corporate Communication we address decision-makers, the media and the general public, while the Education Department, formally established at the Agency only a few years ago, reaches out to youngsters and their teachers”.
“Presenting the multifaceted reality of ESA to the external world and fostering true international cooperation is a real challenge, which I feel ready to take up because I truly believe that Europe in space is a reality we can be proud of and, with the help of my colleagues in the Directorate, I will do my utmost to make our activities more visible and to explore new avenues to improve the good relations we already have with our international partners” added Mr Oosterlinck.
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