Stepping Out to Meet the World

March 28th, 2013 in News

Reprinted from BU Arts & Sciences by Jeremy Schwab

Boston University has always had one eye turned outward, one inward. From the outset, the school defined itself as an urban institution, building connections with Boston residents, neighborhoods, and organizations. Over the years, BU also developed a reputation for depth and breadth of research, and academic rigor. The school’s 99 study abroad programs and membership in the Association of American Universities are testaments to its success in reaching outward while strengthening its core.

The College of Arts & Sciences has been a driving force in these efforts. So it is no surprise that, as BU pioneers a new type of international educational collaborative, a CAS professor is leading the charge. For the past four years, Professor of International Relations Vivien Schmidt has been building relationships for BU with universities around the world as part of the Global Erasmus Mundi (GEM) program. Funded by the European Union Commission and led by the Free University of Brussels, GEM is an initiative to fund international PhD programs focused on the EU.

With GEM funding, BU and nine other universities have launched a double doctoral degree-granting consortium on “Globalisation, the EU, and Multilateralism.” It is the only initiative that GEM has funded that is entirely focused on the social sciences, and BU is the only U.S. partner in the consortium. Other partners hail from Japan, China, England, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, and Mexico. In February, BU was elevated from associate to full partner status (non-degree granting) in GEM.

“This kind of joint degree program is the wave of the future,” says Schmidt, who is also director of the Center for the Study of Europe. “What you increasingly are seeing among major research universities is recognition that one of the ways to further develop is through global partnerships.”

The Globalization doctoral program enables admitted students to earn PhD degrees from two of the partner universities, spending a year at each followed by a third year at an institution of their choice. The program covers many disciplines: history, political science, economics, and sociology as well as law, business, and philosophy. Students earn their PhD in specific areas of study. Meta topics include: governing a global economy, managing global financial crises, and advancing national and regional governance under the pressures of globalization.

So far, the program has helped two BU students to do a summer program in Beijing, and brought a GEM PhD student to study at the CAS-based Center for the Study of Europe and the BU Law School, with another student slated to visit in 2013-14. But full partner status should greatly expand BU students’ opportunities in the program. They will be able to undertake longer programs of study for free at partnering schools while earning their PhD from BU.

BU cannot grant degrees yet through GEM, which limits BU students’ ability to take advantage of the program. Schmidt hopes that eventually BU can become a degree-granting partner. In the meantime, the program has exposed Schmidt and BU to exciting new partnership opportunities. She notes that the University of Geneva visited BU earlier this year to explore further collaborations. BU is also taking part in a program led by the University of Warwick, one of BU’s GEM partners, called GREEN: Global Re-ordering: Evolution through European Networks.

“Now when these universities want to develop further international partners, they will think of us first,” says Schmidt.

Very few U.S. universities undertake multi-national collaborations like this. Most opt for bi-lateral collaborations with just one university overseas. Once again, BU and CAS are keeping one eye turned toward the world, as higher education evolves to become more international and interconnected.

The EU Inside Out: A Panel Discussion with Žygimantas Pavilionis, Ambassador of Lithuania to the US, and Olexander Motsyk, Ambassador of Ukraine to the US

March 26th, 2013 in Event Highlights

On March 19, the Center for the Study of Europe and the Center for Finance, Law, and Policy welcomed Žygimantas Pavilionis, Ambassador of Lithuania to the US, and Olexander Motsyk, Ambassador of Ukraine to the US, to a snowy Boston for the second event in a series of conversations with European Ambassadors taking place as part of a European Commission Delegation sponsored initiative entitled “The EU Inside Out.” For more information on the project, please see the write up of our March 5 event. Cornel Ban, Assistant Professor of International Relations at Boston University, introduced the Ambassadors, and Alan Berger, retired editorial writer for international affairs at the Boston Globe moderated the discussion.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Motsyk, described Ukraine as a “young state” but an “old nation,” referring to the medieval state of Kievan Rus’, an integral part of Europe. Acknowledging the ups and downs his country has undergone since regaining its independence 21 years ago, he asserted unequivocally Ukraine’s aspirations to join the European Union. It is the first strategic priority of the current government of Ukraine, to which end, he said, it has implemented a number of systemic reforms to transform Ukraine into a prosperous, democratic state. In addition to new budget, tax, criminal, and procedural codes, an agreement on association and free trade with the EU has been completed and awaits ratification during the summit in Vilnius in November.

Motsyk went on to describe the other strategic priorities of his government, namely, its strategic partnerships with the United States and with Russia. Ukraine, he said, enjoys good relations with the United States, among the first countries to recognize Ukraine’s independence. He reminded listeners that in the early 90s Ukraine gave up the third biggest nuclear arsenal in the world and said that in addition to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, Ukraine is cooperating with the US on several other fronts, fighting against international terrorism, cyber terrorism, organized crime, human and drug trafficking, etc., as well as participating in US and NATO led peacekeeping operations around the world. In addition, he said, Ukraine is an important economic partner to the US and a major player in the world food market – the world’s largest exporter of sunflower oil and of barley, for example – producing twice as much agricultural product as it can consume. With Russia, with whom Ukraine shares so much in terms of culture, history, and tradition (to say nothing of familial and linguistic ties), Motsyk said his country seeks relations on the basis of equality and mutual interest. He explained that it will be easier to proceed in negotiations with the EU having good relations with Russia.

Taking the lead from his colleague and friend, Ambassador Motsyk, Ambassador Pavilionis described his own country’s deep European roots, its tumultuous history, and its emergence in recent years as one of the more successful economies in Europe. He noted his country’s ties to the United States, where large numbers of Lithuanians have immigrated over the years, as well as to the European Union, which Lithuania joined in 2004 and whose Presidency it assumes in July. He expressed his deep solidarity with Ukraine, with whom Lithuania shares much of recent history and whose EU cause he supports enthusiastically. Sympathetic to Urkaine’s struggles, he described Lithuania’s transition to a free market economy in terms of “getting rid of Soviet cancers, corruption, and state aid,” noting that after signing its own association agreement with the European Union in 1995, Lithuania’s GDP increased by a factor of 6. Perhaps the most important point that Ambassador Pavilionis made was in reference to Ukraine’s pending agreement with the EU, where he argued for the importance – in cases of corruption, in particular – to personally target and punish individuals, not whole countries. Ukraine’s 50 million citizens deserve to be a part of Europe, he asserted, whatever the foibles of that country’s leaders. In conclusion, he expressed his eagerness for a comprehensive trade agreement between the European Union and the United States. Dismantling the remaining barriers, he argued, will benefit citizens on both sides of the Atlantic, and will help the EU and the US to withstand pressures from emerging global powers.

A lively discussion ensured during which the Ambassadors addressed questions on issues including the purported “loss of local democratic powers” in Cyprus, where Russian deposits were recently confiscated; Ukraine’s disputes with Russia over the price it pays for Russian gas and the geopolitical (and environmental) consequences of shale development in Ukraine and Lithuania; the conditions Ukraine must meet if the aforementioned association agreement is to move forward and diminishing trust of Ukraine in light of recent reports from EU observers; and finally, to Ukraine’s NATO membership. In their responses to the various questions, both Ambassadors stressed the need for standards (in Cyprus, for example), and again, in cases of wrongdoing, the need to punish individuals and not whole countries. They stressed the strategic importance of energy independence for both countries, and the need to balance security, economic and environmental concerns. The Ambassadors regard for one another was evident, underscoring the importance of “friendship,” for relationships based on “mutual understanding” and not only “strategic importance.”

Approximately 70 people braved the weather last Tuesday to meet Ambassador Motsyk and Ambassador Pavilionis in person. If you didn’t make it, you can catch the discussion on BUniverse.

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European Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland

March 26th, 2013 in Opportunities

The Institute of European Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, is currently recruiting students for the next academic year 2013-14. We write to you to explore the possibility of promoting our international programmes amongst your students, whom we feel would be potentially interested in our academic offer.

The Institute offers 6 English-language MA programmes, each offering a unique specialisation, 3 of which are prestigious Erasmus Mundus Courses run in a rich network of consortia in Europe and abroad, 1 that is a double-degree programme with a respected British university, 1 joint-degree with a focus on the Visegrad region, and 1 two-year Masters of European Studies run entirely in Krakow, which has the longest-standing reputation as a programme of excellence amongst international students at the Jagiellonian.

[More information]

Master in EU Studies Online

March 18th, 2013 in Opportunities

The European Online Academy grants professionals the opportunity to deepen and expand their knowledge of the EU integration process, while pursing their careers, through a combination of e-learning and intensive face-to-face learning sessions (mainly during weekends in Berlin, Brussels, Istanbul, Rome and Budapest).

The Master in EU Studies Online, a two year program, offers the perfect blend of theoretical and practical knowledge of the EU. Participants will gain a working knowledge of recent developments in the European integration process. They will also gain the skills to negotiate within an international context, to draft reports, to plan and manage international projects, and to present their ideas in a transnational legal dimension.

To specialise in a core subject (Political Science, Economics and EU law), participants may continue with a second year of the Master program. The general approach, during the second year, to understand issues and task is interdisciplinary. Once a participant has submitted and defended his/her Master thesis, they will receive a Master in EU Studies Online and a degree qualification “Chargé de mission en organisations européennes et internationales.” This qualification is recognised in France as a Master level degree.

Deadline for the online application is September 5, 2013. A limited number of scholarships are awarded to eligible candidates to cover part of their tuition.

For further information, please write to Project Manager Aline Palige directly.

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Parliamentary Internships in Ukraine

March 18th, 2013 in Opportunities

For the first time in the Ukrainian history its Parliament – Verkhovna Rada – has opened its doors to the North American students to undertake parliamentary (credited) traineeships in selected committees, in the parliament’s administration, and in participating offices of the Members of Parliament. The program will take place between May 20 and June 28, 2013.

This 6-week program that will host up to 15 participants has been developed together by Global Education Leadership and Ukraine-based partners – the Interns League in Kyiv and the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) in Lviv. UCU will offer credits for the academic work that the students will be required to do as part of their traineeship.

The participants will also choose among different levels of Ukrainian language classes, join a 4-day academic and cultural program in Lviv and will experience cultural life of the Ukrainiancapital, Kyiv.

The application deadline is April 1, 2013.

In addition to showing a strong interest in the region perspective applicants are required to understand and communicate in Ukrainian language (preferably) – Russian language is also accepted. [More about the program]

Please address any questions to Valeriia Sobakar, CEO, Interns’ League, Ukraine.

The EU Inside Out: A Panel Discussion with João Vale de Almeida, EU Ambassador to the US, and Michael Collins, Irish Ambassador to the US

March 12th, 2013 in Event Highlights

On Tuesday, March 5, the Center for the Study of Europe, in collaboration with the Center for Finance, Law, and Policy at Boston University, launched a series of conversations with European Ambassadors entitled “The EU Inside Out.” João Vale de Almeida, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United States, and Michael Collins, Irish Ambassador to the United States, participated in the inaugural event, which was moderated by Alan Berger, retired editorial writer for international affairs at the Boston Globe.

The series takes place as part of a larger project, funded by a grant from the European Commission Delegation in Washington, exploring the prospects for democratic politics in Europe against the backdrop of the profound transformations taking place on the continent in response to the global financial meltdown and ensuing crisis in the Eurozone. The exploration proceeds from two vantage points: from the “center,” through the conversations with the ambassadors, and from the “edges,” through a parallel series of conversations with European artists and writers, intellectuals and activists. Our focus, as the idiom in the project title implies, is on the transformations occurring in the “constitution” of the European Union and its citizenry.

Our goal in the conversations with European Ambassadors is to address the theme of democratic politics under conditions of globalization from an “inside” point of view. We believe that centering the conversations around global challenges, which by their nature do not yield to nation state solutions (whether economic crisis, transnational terrorism, or global warming), highlights the value of the European Union as a model for transnational cooperation, regional integration, and cultural coexistence. Questions to be pursued include what the EU is becoming, how its policies and institutions are evolving, how its role as international actor is enhanced (or not) in response to new global challenges, and why, under conditions of globalization, its relationship with the United States remains more important than ever.

The “EU Inside Out” series reprises an earlier series, entitled “Getting to Know the EU,” which took place at Boston University in 2007, featuring conversations with the Polish, German, French, Danish, Dutch, Austrian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Greek Ambassadors.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

In his opening remarks, Ambassador João Vale de Almeida expressed his pleasure at seeing our European Commission grant being put to good use, in particular, through our involvement of “people from the cultural world” into the discussion of Europe’s future. In terms of transatlantic relations, he emphasized the importance of looking beyond the political and economic issues which divide us and to consider what we have in common, not only in terms of our heritage and our values, but what we want to do in the world. Our negotiations, he said, should be driven by our goals for the future, namely, strengthening and deepening the Transatlantic partnership on all fronts, from foreign policy and security to finance and economics. He expressed his strong support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as a way of increasing our capacity to jointly influence the global economy. Finally, he stressed the need to work together in confronting climate change, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, cyber security, energy security, food security, and other global challenges.

If Ambassador de Almeida focussed his remarks on the transatlantic relationship, Ambassador Michael Collins, while noting the “unique” relationship between Ireland and the US (and Ireland and Boston in particular), focussed his remarks on the importance of the European Union, whose presidency he is representing, and on Ireland’s EU membership. By way of underscoring Ireland’s EU credentials, he described the enormous transformation his country has undergone since it joined the EU in 1973. Despite the setbacks of recent years, he said that Ireland sees itself unambiguously “in the heart of Europe. He reassured listeners that Ireland has turned a corner and is emerging from the crisis stronger and more competitive. In fact, Collins stated, by this time next year, Ireland is expected to be one of the strongest growing economies in Europe. Even through the crisis, Ireland has retained a strong export market (this year, it will export 106% of its GDP), and continues to be attractive target for US investment. Collins summarized by reiterating that Ireland’s EU membership, despite the “existential crisis” of recent years, remains, overwhelmingly, cause for celebration. He expressed his country’s “deep commitment to remain part of continually emerging phenomenon that is Europe, for itself and also for role it can play in global politics as well.”

Taking up the notion of “existential crisis,” Alan Berger opened the discussion by asking to what extent the demand for austerity from some members is creating pressures on that put the notion of political union in question. Ambassador de Almeida responded by addressing the nature of Europe’s crisis, which he defined as an opportunity to reassess, take stock, and start again. The integration process, he said, wrought enormous changes, including loss of national sovereignty, loss of national currencies, and public opinion has not always kept pace. The financial crisis of 2007-2008 exposed a number of vulnerabilities in the Euro-area, and political reverberations have been pronounced. However, de Almedia emphasized, Europe has reacted to the crisis in ways that have strengthened the political union, introducing structural reforms and mechanisms to prevent a reoccurrence. Defending current policies, he said that despite the difficulties in some societies, Europe is doing what is necessary to return to growth, to regain its fiscal footing, and to increase competitiveness. Ambassador Michael Collins, addressing the austerity question in context of Ireland’s experience, explained that in 2010, Ireland did not have many choices – it had been shut out of the bond market. The challenge in Ireland, he said, has been to maintain social cohesion.

Next Berger asked whether, as George Soros and others have maintained, the crisis was inevitable. Ambassador de Almeida said in response that the integration process has been incremental by definition – there was never a “blue print” or a “road map.” When the Euro was launched, it was on the basis of what was possible at that time, but it was always understood, he said, that it would have to evolve. Ambassador Collins, blaming a confluence of circumstances following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, said that he did not think the crisis was inevitable, and moreover, that it did not have to unfold in such a catastrophic way.

Subsequent questions addressed the middle East peace initiative, misuse of structural funds, diverging attitudes toward other cultures, enlargement plans, in particular, with regard to the Balkan countries, and also Turkey, and finally, whether, in retrospect, Ireland would have been better off defaulting. View the entire conversation on BUniverse.

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European Conference at Harvard: Europe 2.0 Taking the Next Step

March 8th, 2013 in Event Highlights

The Center for the Study of Europe at Boston University, together with the Center for European Studies at Harvard, the European Affairs Society at the Fletcher School, and the MIT European Career Fair, co-sponsored last week’s European Conference at Harvard: Europe 2.0 Taking the Next Step. The aim of the conference, which was jointly organized by the European Clubs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and at Harvard Business School, was to provide a forum to discuss Europe with the business, economic and political leaders of today and tomorrow, to discuss solutions and visions for Europe for the next 20 years, and to spark interest in key European topics more broadly. In mounting the conference, the organizers were arguing for Europe’s continued economic and political relevance.

The two-day event brought together over 30 international speakers including Pierre Vimont, Secretary-General of the European External Action Service and former French Ambassador to the US; Guy Verhofstadt, Former Prime Minister of Belgium (1999-2008) and President of the Liberal and Democratic Alliance in the European Parliament; Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of the EU Delegation to the United Nations; Rafael del Pino, Chairman of Ferrovial; Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action; and several others. Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Trade Policy, gave the opening speech, arguing in favor of a transatlantic trade agreement.

Vivien Schmidt, Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration and Director of the Center for the Study of Europe, moderated Pierre Vimont’s keynote address “A European Agenda in Foreign Policy.” Pictures of the session, which was introduced by Irish Consul General Michael Lonergan, are below. The second album includes pictures from a dinner reception hosted by Professor Schmidt on the evening preceding the conference.

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Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

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Irish Voices: A Reading and Conversation with Colm Toibin

March 7th, 2013 in Event Highlights

On February 28 the Center for the Study of Europe hosted Irish writer Colm Toibin as part of a semester-long “Irish Voices” series in celebration of Ireland’s EU presidency. The “Irish Voices” series, which will include a visit by Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States and readings by poets Ciarán Carson and Paul Muldoon, is taking place as part of a larger “European Voices” series, funded by a grant to the Center for the Study of Europe from the European Commission Delegation in Washington DC. Colm Toibin’s visit was co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities, the Department of Creative Writing, the literary journal AGNI, and the new Institute for the Study of Irish Culture at Boston University. Meg Tyler, Associate Professor of Humanities and Director of the new Institute, and Michael Lonergan, Consul General of Ireland in Boston, offered welcoming remarks, after which Joe Rezek, Assistant Professor of English, introduced his friend Colm Toibin and moderator Christopher Ricks.

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Toibin read from his 2012 novel The Testament of Mary, a fictionalized account of the life of Jesus told from the perspective of an aging Mary, still grieving and angry over the inexplicable path taken by her son, still haunted by his death, and unable, like the disciples holding her prisoner, to find meaning in it. Between passages, Toibin talked about some of the influences on the work, from the temples of Diana in Ephesus to Tintoretto’s Crucifixion in Venice, as well as some of the challenges in adapting the work for the stage. As for the book’s reception in Ireland, he said he was aware of hitting Ireland while she was down, but curious at the same time at how an artist could intervene in such a situation.

Christopher Ricks expressed admiration for Toibin’s prose as well as his ability to evoke a world readers can appreciate without believing in and then asked whether Toibin feared for his work in “the vicinity of the predatory genius of Fiona Shaw,” prompting a discussion of “self-suppression,” a subject not unfamiliar to the Catholic Toibin, who evoked Eliot’s Gwendolyn Harleth by way of example.

In response to a query about “English” or “Roman” oppression, as evinced by Joyce, Toibin said that growing up he felt neither English nor Roman tyranny. On the contrary, England always represented to him liberty, and it is to the church (namely, Pugin’s cathedral in Enniscorthy) that he owes his connection to beauty. If there was a general sense of oppression in Ireland, it wasn’t, Toibin said, caused by the Church, much less England, but by the Irish people, and perhaps the Irish political parties.

For the full conversation, watch the video on BUniverse.

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2013 Olympia Summer Academy in Peace and Conflict Studies

March 6th, 2013 in Opportunities

The 2013 Olympia Summer Academy actively seeks to recruit promising graduate and research students from around the world, who can benefit from a series of intensive seminars on various aspects of conflict, peace, and IR in today’s world, taught by professors at the cutting edge of academic research internationally. Situated at the birthplace of the Olympic Games in Ancient Olympia, the Academy has been fostering, since the summer of 2002, a world-class network of knowledge that today spreads from Japan in the east to the Americas in the west and includes some of the most respected universities globally. Interested Ph.D. and other graduate students are strongly encouraged to apply.

For more information on the available programs, fees, financial aid and how to apply please visit the Olympia Summer Academy website.

Changing Welfare States with Anton Hemerijck

March 1st, 2013 in Event Highlights

Yesterday afternoon, Anton Hemerijck, Dean at the VU University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Social Sciences, and former director of the Netherlands Council for Government Policy (WRR), joined us for a presentation of his new book, Changing Welfare States. Following an overview of welfare state performance over the last two decades and the differential impacts of the financial crisis of 2008 across Europe, he turned to the challenges of welfare state provision in post-crisis Europe, arguing for a new model of welfare state that is able to equip European citizens and societies to face endogenous social change and growing global competition. Sigrun Olafsottir from BU’s Department of Sociology moderated the discussion.

Anton Hemerijck and Sigrun Olafsdottir, Boston University, February 21, 2013

Anton Hemerijck and Sigrun Olafsdottir, Boston University, February 21, 2013

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