Academics and practitioners working on European foreign policy deal with the same or similar issues in their daily work. Yet they often inhabit parallel universes. Interaction is normally circumscribed, mutual criticism abounds, and the use of coded discourse – on both sides – shrinks the space for meaningful dialogue. My experience as pen-holder of the EU Global Strategy, on behalf of HRVP Federica Mogherini, taught me what a missed opportunity such dialogue of the deaf entails. As an academic and think tanker in ‘normal life’ who was given the tremendous opportunity by the HRVP to draft the EUGS and coordinate the work on its implementation, I learnt a lot about what these different worlds can contribute to one another to the service of their common interest: European foreign policy.