Wednesday, July 27, 2011

EUC Awarded Two Prestigious Grants from the European Union

European Union Center at University of Illinois Awarded Two Prestigious Grants from the European Union

Champaign, IL, July 28, 2011—The European Union awarded the University of Illinois’ European Union Center (http://www.euc.illinois.edu) two prestigious grants: the EU Center of Excellence research and teaching grant, and the Jean Monnet Module for course development. Led by A. Bryan Endres, Matt Rosenstein and Sebnem Ozkan, the EU Center organized an interdisciplinary network of University of Illinois faculty and research centers to expand research, outreach and course development related to EU Studies across the UI campus.

Every three years, the Delegation of the European Union to the United States holds an open competition in which universities compete for a financial award intended to enhance European Union studies. Centers must demonstrate high quality teaching, research, and regional outreach programs on EU and EU-U.S. topics, and propose novel and ambitious enhancements to existing programs.

For the 2011-2014 award period, the EU Center at UI will use the 300,000 euro (approximately $430,000) grant to build on its already substantial profile by developing research and teaching initiatives in three thematic areas. “Adapting Policy to Environmental Challenges,” led by George Czapar (Director, Center for Watershed Science at the Illinois State Water Survey), and supported by professors Harry Dankowicz (Mechanical Science and Engineering), John Abelson (Materials Science and Engineering), Julie Cidell (Geography), and David Bullock (Agricultural and Consumer Economics), approaches environmental policy challenges from a variety of perspectives. “Embracing Change: Languages, Cultures and Identities,” led by Anna Stenport (Assistant Professor, Germanic Languages and Literatures), seeks to understand educational, linguistic, and cultural issues of the EU through the lens of the new member states of the east, the Mediterranean region (including Turkey and North Africa), and the Nordic and Baltic regions. Assisting Stenport will be professors Richard Tempest (Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center), Nancy Benson (Journalism), Yasemin Yildiz (Germanic Languages and Literature), and Elizabeth Lowe (Director, Center for Translation Studies). Finally, “The Practice of Politics and Policy in the EU,” led by William Bernhard (Professor, Political Science), and supported by professors Richard Tempest, Konstantinos Kourtikakis (Political Science), John Dencker (Labor and Employment Relations), and Ruth Aguilera (Business Administration), explores the nuances of politics, policy and the business environment within the context of the evolving EU.

In a global competition, the EU Center at UI was one of only two US universities to receive a Jean Monnet grant from the European Commission, and the only domestic university to garner a European Module award. The Jean Monnet Programme is part of the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Programme and aims to stimulate teaching, research and reflection on European integration in higher education institutions worldwide.

The 21,000 euro (approximately $30,000) award will fund a new project hosted by the European Union Center and led by Professor Maria Todorova (History), entitled, “Europe and the Mediterranean: Transnational Spaces and Integration.” Interdisciplinary in nature, the project features a new, team-taught course aimed at advanced undergraduate and graduate students, which will present the cultural, economic, and migratory networks linking Europe and the Mediterranean region as interdependent spaces. The project is expected to reach broader audiences as well, by hosting a public website and posting webcasts of lectures, which will be accessible to lifelong learners and secondary school teachers globally.

The project will be coordinated by A. Bryan Endres (Director, European Union Center and Associate Professor of Agricultural Law) and will be carried out by a diverse team of three faculty members, who will alternate as lead instructors of the course. Emanuel Rota, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, will lend his expertise in the history of Europeanist movements. Konstantinos Kourtikakis, Visiting Lecturer, Political Science, brings his extensive knowledge of EU administrative networks. Hadi Esfahani, Professor of Economics, comes to the project as an expert on Middle East and North African economic and business development and the role of politics and governance in fiscal, trade, and regulatory policy formation.

In addition to the course, the project will facilitate a lecture series on Europe and the Mediterranean; sessions on Europe and the Mediterranean at the Center’s annual Working Conference for Regional College Faculty; and a Summer Curriculum Development Workshop entitled “The Timeless Mediterranean and the New EU: Transnational Spaces and Integration.” A link to the project’s public website, and more information about these events, will be provided on the EU Center website (http://www.euc.illinois.edu).

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