EU Awards Two Grants to EU Center

The EU Center at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana has received two prestigious grants from the European Union, the Getting to Know Europe grant and the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence grant.

Teach-In: European Refugee Crisis

On September 22nd, a teach-in about the recent refugee crisis in Europe was held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Read about it here.

European Parliament Oversight

The European Union Center co-sponsored a presentation given by Prof. Nuria Esther Font Borrás from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Read more about it here

Back to School at What Cost?

Watch the online roundtable discussion sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh.

A Minute with Richard Tempest

Read the Illinois News Bureau Online's interview with EU-affialiated faculty member Richard Tempest.

Videos of Previous Lectures

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

Monday, January 25, 2016

Virtual Roundtable: The Rise of the Right: Comparing the American and European Political Landscapes (VIDEO)

On January 19, 2016, a virtual roundtable discussion was sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh.  The author, Raphaela Berding is a MAEUS student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  

Why do right wing parties in many European countries experience such a high voter intake? Does the hostile feeling against Brussels and its dictations grow? And is what is happening in the EU a reflection to what happens in the US? 

Those were some of the questions that Ronald Linden, Director of the European Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh, asked to the panel of experts that was participating in the videoconference “Rise of the Right: Survey the American and European Political Landscapes.”

The list of panelists for this conversation included:

Lenka Bustikova, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Arizona State University; Jae-Jae Spoon, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of North Texas; Benjamin Haddad, Research Fellow, Hudson Instittute; and Helga Druxes, Proferssor of German, Williams College. Moderated by Ronald Linden, Director of the European Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh  Each semester, the European Union Center co-sponsors the Dialogue on Europe videoconference series organized by the University of Pittsburgh.

The next videoconference (“Whose Legacy? Museums and National Heritage Debates”) will be held on February 16. Go to our calendar to see the schedule for the next virtual roundtable.  For past virtual roundtables, you can visit our blog or the University of Pittsburgh's Youtube page.

Watch the video of the roundtable here or watch it on Youtube.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Video-The Climate for Climage Change Negotiations

On December 11, 2015, the Jean Monnet European Union Centre of Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh held a roundtable discussion entitled "The Climate for Climate Change Negotiations." Panelists included Michaël Aklin, Assistant Professor, Political Science (University of Pittsburgh), Wil Burns, Co-Executive Director, Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment (American University), Thomas Pellerin-Carlin, Research Fellow, European Energy Policy (Jacques Delors Institute), and Leah Stokes, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science (University of California, Santa Barbara). The moderator for this panel was Ron Linden.

From the description of the roundtable discussion;
The UN Climate Change Conference (COP 21 / CMP 11) in Paris November 30-December 11, 2015 sought to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2⁰C. This will not be an easy goal to reach, as many scientists say the gases already emitted into the atmosphere will inevitably lead to a 2 degree increase. Therefore, the largest emitters (the U.S. and China) must commit to both significant reductions and subsidizing developing countries’ commitment to sustainable energy sources. Expectations are high on all sides – with optimists and pessimists alike touting this as our last chance to avert catastrophe. This session of the European Studies Center's Conversations on Europe series of virtual roundtables assembles a panel of experts to provide their views of what was accomplished and what was lost in the negotiations. Were the dire prognostications reasonable? What are the next steps?
A video of the roundtable discussion can be viewed below or on Youtube.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Performing a Herculean Feat

Stefanos Katsikas, director of the Program in Modern Greek Studies,
said support for the program has come from around the world.
This article originally appeared on the College of Liberal Arts and Science website.  The article was written by Dave Evensen.

Small but vibrant Program in Modern Greek Studies at Illinois is set to expand

Financial gifts and renewed commitments of $420,000 will allow the Program in Modern Greek Studies at Illinois to offer more culture courses, develop a new academic minor and online courses, and increase international visibility and impact to improve cross-cultural understanding between the U.S. and Greece.

The additional support comes at an exciting time for the program, which has doubled student enrollments during this academic year alone and has been growing quickly in size and visibility since its establishment in 2008. In recognition of this achievement, strong endorsements for the program have come from prestigious scholars and university administrators from around the world.

Supporters of the program include the Hellenic Studies Support Network of Chicago, which pledged $180,000 over three years; the Onassis Foundation, based in Greece, which has committed $60,000 over three years; and the Houston Family Foundation, which has committed $60,000 over three years. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois has renewed its support of the program by committing $120,000 over three years for language instruction.

Additionally, the program is now included in the Onassis Foundation (USA) University Seminars Program, under which eminent scholars from the U.S. and abroad are sponsored by the Foundation to offer lectures, seminars and courses on a broad range of topics related to Hellenic civilization at selected university campuses in North and South America.

“The program is extremely grateful to our supporters whose generosity allows us to continue our mission to disseminate Hellenic education and culture on campus, in Illinois, and beyond,” said Dr. Stefanos Katsikas, director of the Program in Modern Greek Studies. “We will also keep developing cross-cultural connections with Hellenism that transform the lives of our students.”

The new support allows the program to move toward its goal of obtaining a major endowment to establish a Center for Hellenic Studies, which, if realized, would be the first such center in the Midwest. In conjunction with a new center, the program could offer new study abroad opportunities along with a new major and graduate program in Modern Greek Studies. The center would also serve as a resource for citizens of Greece, Cyprus and the U.S. to share expertise and improve cross-cultural understanding.

The Program in Modern Greek Studies currently offers courses in Modern Greek language at all levels, and collaborates with departments across campus to provide students with over 40 courses annually on the language and culture of Hellenism.

The program has also been active in outreach, having hosted more than 85 events both on and off campus since 2008, including conferences, lectures, musical performances, film screenings and two Greek Film Festivals, and a study abroad course to Cyprus.

“The Houston Family Foundation is very pleased to provide financial support to the new Greek program in addition to our ongoing scholarship program,” said Dennis Houston (BS, ’74, chemical engineering), former chairman and president of ExxonMobil Sales and Supply LLC.

“We are excited about the potential for the new Program in Modern Greek Studies at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign,” he added. “The new program will provide valuable education and experiences to many students as they study Hellenism. Every business woman and man should ‘Become Greek Educated’ by understanding Greek culture and what it teaches.”

More details about the Program for Modern Greek Studies can be found on its new website at

Monday, December 14, 2015

Meet Michael Nelson, Kungstenen Scholar 2014

This article written by Helene Komlos Grill originally appeared on the Stockholm University website and was last updated on December 11.  More information about scholarship opportunities similar to Michael Nelson's are available on Stockholm University's website.   To learn more about MAEUS students, such as Michael Nelson, please visit our webpage on the European Union Center website.

We talked to Michael Nelson, an M.A. student in European Union Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who currently studies at Stockholm University thanks to the Kungstenen Scholarship awarded to him in 2014. 

I am doing a Master's in International and Comparative Education. I chose this program because I was always interested in education but never had the chance to formally study it. After getting some work experience related to international education through jobs at the University of Illinois and an internship in Belgium, I thought I had developed a foundation of practical knowledge that could be complimented by academic study.

 Since I envision myself working in higher education administration, I thought I would focus my Master's studies around the topic of educational leadership and management. In some ways I did, but I ultimately decided to research the impact of the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine on local university students for my Master's thesis. I think that goes to show that your research interests will change and evolve as you work with your classmates and professors on a wide variety of topics.

 High proficiency of English in Sweden 
It fascinates me that I have been able to do a Master's degree program taught in English in a non-native English speaking country. Prospective American students should know that the level of proficiency of English in Sweden is almost at a native level. I have written several course papers here, and I really feel that I have such an advantage over some other students because I am a native English speaker. Still, my writing skills in English have improved due to the high expectations of my professors. I've observed that professors here expect even more from students' written assignments than American professors, so I have still been able to further develop my critical reasoning and writing skills. 

Challenging and rewarding academics 

Studying at Stockholm University has been a wonderful experience. As one of the top 100 universities in the world, the academics here are challenging and rewarding. I feel well-prepared for my future, whether I apply for jobs or to doctoral studies. It has been exciting to learn some Swedish, but everyone can speak English here, making it an easy adjustment for American students. I've been able to experience Swedish culture, ranging from daily fika breaks to ice skating at Kungsträdgården. 

A pleasant place to live 
Stockholm is a really pleasant place to live. I notice it most with my health, as here I definitely spend more time outside getting fresh air, and get more exercise from walking around and exploring. This is an international city full of people from different backgrounds, so I constantly meet new people with interesting stories to share. That also means there is a wide variety of tasty food! Finally, there is always something going on here, like concerts from every popular singer or band you could ever want to see. 

Making friends from around the world 
One last thought: I will really cherish the friendships I've made in Stockholm. I imagined that I would make a lot of Swedish friends, but I never knew that actually I would be making friends from around the world. Already, I have travelled to new friends' home countries because of the relationships I've made in Stockholm (not to mention all of the cheap flights and ferries available from Stockholm to other countries). I feel confident that my friendships made here will be lifelong. Tusen tack for this amazing experience!