EU Day 2017

Learn about EU Day and the keynote delivered by David O'Sullivan, Ambassador of the EU to the U.S. on the 15th Annual EU Day on March 15.

Master of Arts in European Union Studies

The European Union Center at the University of Illinois offers the only Master of Arts in European Union Studies (MAEUS) program in the Western Hemisphere. Learn more here.

Language Shapes Opinion Towards Gender Equality

Dr. Margit Tavits discussed langauge and gender as a part of the EUC Faculty Lecture Series.

Conversations on Europe

Watch the collection of online roundtable discussions on different EU issues sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh.

Transatlantic Relationships after US Elections

Watch the EUC Sponsored Roundtable on Transatlantic Relations after the 2016 US Election with Moderator Niala Boodhoo

Videos of Previous Lectures

Missed an EUC-hosted lecture? Our blog's video tag has archived previous EUC-sponsored lectures.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Panel Discussion Blog: New Leaders of Transatlantic Relations: Future Prospects

By Adalric Tuten

When Donald Trump won the US presidential election, how did the European Union (EU) member states react? Has Donald Trump’s victory encouraged populist politics within the EU? What has Donald Trump’s presidency meant for US, EU, and Russia relations? Where does Brexit fit into this recent drama in American and EU electoral politics?

To address these and related questions, the European Union Center (EUC) of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) held its Opening Roundtable and Fall Reception on August 29, titled New Leaders of Transatlantic Relations: Future Prospects.

The Roundtable featured 3 prominent UIUC faculty members: Dr. Scott Althaus, Professor of Political Science and Director of UIUC’s Cline Center for Democracy; Dr. Zsuzsa Gille, Professor of Sociology and Director of Global Studies at UIUC; and, Dr. Kostas Kourtikakis, Teaching Associate Professor of Political Science. Dr. Neil Vander Most, Visiting Coordinator of Academic Programs at the EUC and specialist on EU immigration and radical right parties in the EU, moderated the panel discussion.

The moderator’s initial talking point centered on the recent and dramatic election outcomes in the US and the EU and what these outcomes mean for relations between the US and the EU. From this talking point, the panel addressed many critical themes, including: the impact of the Trump presidency on US-EU-Russia relations; the rise of nationalistic or populist politics in both the EU and the US; the impact of populist politics on the media; concern about the future of US power in the world; and the consequences of Brexit for EU-US relations and the future of populist politics in the EU.

Highlights of the discussion are many, and EU Blog readers are encouraged to view the video of the panel discussion posted along with this blog.


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Thursday, May 18, 2017

VIRTUAL BRIEFING: "TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS AFTER THE FIRST 100 DAYS"

By AnnaMarie Bliss
On May 3, 2017, the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh and the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence at Florida International University held a videoconference discussion entitled "Transatlantic Relations after the first 100 days" to discuss EU/U.S. relations following the beginning of the Trump Administration. Panelists included Alasdair Young (Professor of International Affairs, Co-Director for the Center for European and Transatlantic Studies, The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Tech), Kathleen McInnis (International Security Analyst, Congressional Research Service), and Michael H. Smith (Professor in European Politics, University of Warwick). Markus ThielAssoc. Prof. & Director, Jean Monnet EU Center of Excellence, Florida International University, acted as the moderator.

The European Union Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign co-sponsored the event, hosting a viewing and discussion space on campus.

Event abstract:
The referendum on Brexit and the new foreign policy priorities of American President Donald Trump hold the potential for significantly altering EU-US relations over the next few years. What are the prospects for a multi-lateral trade agreement? Have new security concerns changed traditional defense priorities? How does the current state of the Transatlantic relationship compare to other episodes in its history? What can American businesses and professionals expect moving forward?

A video recording of the event can be viewed here:





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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Atlantic Expedition - Rediscovering Germany and reinventing the transatlantic partnership

All of the Atlantic Expedition fellows gathered at Eurogate,
an independent shipping terminal in Hamburg,
on the first day of expedition
By Eric Swenson

Eric Swenson is the director of external relations at MacMurray College.  He submitted his article, "Empires of Innovation" to the Atlantic Expedition Fellowship Program through the Atlantische Initiative, and was accepted as one of the Expedition's Fellows.  He became aware of the opportunity through the European Union Center 

When I graduated from UIUC in 2015, I chose to celebrate by taking my family for a meal at a German restaurant, Bayern Stube, in Gibson City, Illinois. As we settled in, I explained what the dishes were and offered my recommendations. My grandmother in particular needed quite a bit of coaxing to make a decision, and the reason wasn’t lost on me. My grandmother survived the Blitz.

I witnessed a profound transformation. A woman who refused even to speak to my grandfather’s German descended cousins when she first came to America ate authentic German food, served by a German family, and she loved it!

Yet her experience is ancient history. I certainly do not remember the devastation of world war, but today their legacy remains the foundation of our Western society through the institutions and partnerships built by nations determined to change. Today, the transatlantic partnership is as important as ever, but it faces unprecedented challenges.

Statue of King John of Saxony outside
the Semperoper opera house in Dresden
In response, Atlantische Initiative, a non-partisan, non-profit, and independent organization founded in Berlin, has established the Atlantic Expedition fellowship program, and I have had the pleasure of participating as a fellow since December. Designed to accommodate young professionals (35 and under) from diverse backgrounds, it aims to gather future leaders to modernize the transatlantic agenda through collaboratively developing policy recommendations and by engaging government, business, and civic leaders in the US and Germany.

I learned about this great opportunity through the European Union Center at UIUC, and I was accepted into the program after successfully submitting an article for publication for the application process. I joined the technology and innovation working group, and all 30 fellows spent the next several weeks preparing policy memos within their disciplines. Then the real fun started! At the end of February, we gathered in Germany to begin a weeklong tour, visiting Hamburg, Dresden, and Berlin, where we presented our ideas to these German leaders.

The trip was beyond exceptional! Certainly, the opportunity to challenge and debate experts was incredibly rewarding and broadened my perspective. But perhaps the best part was the truly exceptional fellows in the program. Not only are they knowledgeable and talented within their fields, but they are also thoughtful, dynamic, and engaging. By the end of the trip, I had substantially broadened my network and built new friendships. We are now finalizing our group memos, and on April 9th, a final joint memo will be released.
Me Presenting policy recommendations around trade
on tech innovation to the Chief of the State Chancellery
and State Minister, Dr. Fritz Jaeckel, in Dresden

But the Atlantic Expedition program doesn’t end here. This fall, a second expedition will travel to Chicago and Houston, and I cannot recommend the opportunity highly enough! The folks at Atlantische Initiative have put together an incredible program, and they’re seeking people of all backgrounds. Do not be discouraged if your area of expertise lies outside the typical transatlantic dialogue. Your ideas add value!

For the transatlantic partnership to grow and thrive, we need to embrace change and seek new ideas. This trip showed me the vastness of the challenge, but I remain optimistic. I saw real change happen when my grandmother sat down at a German table. The challenge for us is no greater than hers. And the people at Atlantische Initiative have given me a place to begin.

Below are more photos of Eric Swenson's trip. All photos in this article courtesy of Eric Swenson:

The Church of Our Lady in Dresden, which
burned during the bombing of Dresden
Interior View of the Church of Our Lady
in Dresden showing the stone altar and carvings


Rachel Hoff, Director of Defense Analysis at the American Action forum, presents defense recommendations at the Bundestag on the last day of the expedition


View of the Elbphilharmonic concert hall in Hamburg during a boat tour of Europe's second largest port


Hamburg's historic warehouse district along the waterfront


The Hamburg Waterfront


Atlantic Expedition fellows gathered to discuss the feedback received during presentations and to organize changes to the memo

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

EUC Graduate Research Associate Recognized with Awards for Leadership and Volunteer Service


The European Union Center would like to congratulate EUC Graduate Research Associate Alexandra van Doren for being named as the winner of the 2017 Graduate Student Leadership Award and for being recognized as the 2017 Graduate Student Volunteer of the Year.

The Graduate Student Leadership Award is presented by the University of Illinois Graduate College.  It is used to recognize the work and service of graduate students, especially leadership towards projects that have a positive impact at the University of Illinois and the Urbana-Champaign community.   The Office of Volunteer Programs presents various awards in recognition of individual and group volunteer efforts in the community.  

Alexandra is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative and World literatures.  Her research is focused on genocide and human rights, particularly the Holocaust.  She serves as a Graduate Research Associate at the EUC and has the responsibility of Associate Editor for the EUC Paper Series.

Alexandra has been recognized for her work towards creating a refugee welcome center.  Influenced by the Syrian refugee crisis of 2015, Alexandra founded the non-profit Three Spinners in January 2016.   This organization serves refugees in the Urbana-Champaign community by providing access to resources they need to start new lives here.  The organization is currently in the process of working towards establishing a Refugee Resettlement Program with other community organizations in Urbana-Champaign.

The EUC would like to congratulate Alexandra for her hard work and would like to extend best wishes to Three Spinners as the organization continues to make progress!
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