A FLAS Fellow's Semester Abroad in Amman

Audrey Dombro, an agricultural and consumer economics student and 2019-20 FLAS fellow, reflects upon her experience studying in Jordan.

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.

Reading Contagion through Boccaccio's Decameron

Dr. Eleonora Stoppino discusses the moments of social and ethical breakdown described by Boccaccio, as well as the potential for reconstruction after the plague.

Conversations on Europe

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

COVID-19 and Liberal Democracy in Hungary

Dr. Zsuzsa Gille responds to the "Enabling Act," passed by the Hungarian Parliament on March 30, 2020.

Videos of Previous Lectures

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Europe’s Illusory Economic Advantage, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Wall Street Capitalism

by Dan Koev

In the book Europe’s Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age, author Steven Hill argues for the superiority of the European economic, institutional and political structure over that of the United States as a model for sustainable prosperity in the 21st century. Hill argues that the US economy is characterized by “Wall Street capitalism” which tends to produce economic instability, income inequality, lackluster quality of life and long-term unsustainability. In contrast, European “social capitalism” is characterized by sustainable growth, stability and a high quality of life. While I agree that the US should be open to borrowing economic policies which have proven successful in Europe, I find the evidence for a systemic European economic advantage to be lacking.

According to Hill, the deregulated nature of the US economy makes it volatile and recession-prone, while European states are protected from such shocks due to their robust regulatory framework and social support structure. Let us accept the questionable premise that economic deregulation causes recessions and examine the economic track record of the US and the EU over time. Between 1996 and 2010, the EU-15 averaged 1.6% annual GDP growth, while US GDP grew at 2.4%. At the height of the Great Recession in 2009, the US unemployment rate rose to just over 10%, a statistic reminiscent of France, Germany or Spain during good economic times. It may be true that Europeans enjoy greater job security during recessions, but it is precisely this job security that routinely prevents young, educated citizens from entering the workforce. The US economic model has allowed it to reach a per capita GDP (PPP) of $47,084, roughly one-and-a-half times that of the EU average. There is no evidence to suggest that the European economic model is more conducive to facilitating economic growth over time. The US model may produce sharp recessions, but these recessions are balanced by an overall trend of robust economic growth.

But what about quality of life? The US may produce more wealth, but Europeans enjoy far more in terms of social benefits, as the state provides financial assistance ensuring a high standard of living from the cradle to the grave. What it doesn’t provide directly by itself, it mandates employers to offer, either through regulation or through enforcing policies such as co-determination. Businesses, we are told, are more than happy to subject themselves to such intrusion, because it’s a level playing field and everyone is subject to the same rules. While it’s true that Europeans enjoy a greater amount of welfare benefits, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and Europeans pay for these benefits through higher taxation and higher consumer prices. Further, the trend we’ve recently observed in Europe—especially following the financial crisis of ’08-‘09—is toward a reduction, not an increase in welfare spending. Most European states are coming to grips with reality and reigning in spending, while others are imperiling the very future of the EU by failing to do so. Why should the US increase social spending when momentum is clearly going in the opposite direction? And while European businesses may accept regulation due to the level playing field at the national or even European level, it is unquestionable that these regulatory shackles put them at a disadvantage in the global economy. This problem will only be exacerbated as developing nations acquire the human capital and expertise which will enable them to produce the very goods Europeans currently excel at manufacturing.

On the balance, the question of which economic model will prove more viable in the 21st century seems very much up in the air. While the US can certainly borrow some tested and proven ideas from Europe, it is difficult to make the case that Europe enjoys any kind of systemic advantage in this arena.

Dan Koev is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science and an EU Center FLAS fellow. His research interests have a regional focus in Europe and include ethnic politics, Euroskepticism and human rights. He is currently working on his dissertation which deals with ethnic political mobilization in Europe.

Organizing an Academic Event on the European Union: Why and How to Do It

by Andrew Weeks

European Union Studies is low in profile yet towering in potential. It should be a breakthrough field of the highest relevance. Drawing on my own experience organizing a week of events devoted to the European Union at Illinois State University (Sept. 12-15), I will summarize some obstacles and avenues to this objective.

Why is the EU relevant to Americans?  George Will wrote in a recent Newsweek editorial that, “A specter is haunting America, the specter of Europe.”1 The EU combines 27 nation states in a single political entity with a population of nearly half a billion citizens, the world’s largest economy,2 an impressive human rights record despite some challenges and setbacks,3 and social institutions that differ from ours. EU countries typically offer their citizens universal health care. Families enjoy maternity and paternity leave we lack.4 Labor unions exercise rights American unions are at risk of losing,5 even while the largest European member state economies outperform ours,6 not least in ecology and sustainability.7 Europeans work less, earn comparably,8 and therefore live better. European students receive a university education which is affordable and often free.9 Same-sex unions have been widely introduced.10 Beyond the borders of the EU in countries aspiring to membership, human rights are a precondition. This has arguably done more to spread democracy than all recent military interventions combined.11 

Two decades ago the EU heartland of Germany embarked after reunification on a public reconstruction policy reminiscent of our Depression-era New Deal. By our lights, this qualified debt-laden Germany as the sick man of Europe. Now German unemployment is at a twenty-year low while ours remains high.12 When a right-wing party wins a national election in Europe, this captures more attention than when the same member nation is pulled back toward moderation by its conformity to EU norms, as in Austria a decade ago. The euro crisis or the rise of right-wing parties drowns subdued reports of a German and French economic revival surpassing ours.13 European alarms are widely credited, European successes widely ignored. Since public works, welfare, and health care are more readily accepted in the EU than here, their opponents are haunted by the prospect of Europeanization, as if EU citizens lived under an oppressive regime. Mitch McConnell warned against it during the recent health care debate.14 He might have added, there is no popular will to abolish universal health care in Europe. One can disagree about the desirability of the European welfare state. Knowing nothing about it amounts to collective denial.

Approaching the EU from this vantage raises objections and obstacles. Are we being Eurocentric? Isn’t Europe moribund? Aren’t we politicizing? Eurocentrism is a sin of which Americans are innocent to a fault. Our real bias is our Americacentrism. Is the EU facing ruin? Those who know this for sure should be earning a fortune shortselling EU countries’ bonds. We do not. As for politics, any focus, whether on religion or evolution, on welfare or business, is no less political. The fact that the EU may (or may not) be headed for the rocks heightens its interest. We are after all in the same boat. As for the question—why Europe rather than Canada, Chile, or China?—our answer is, why not all of the above?

We do feel that a chemist who believes in some new line of drugs should not be soliciting money from companies likely to benefit from their manufacture. By the same token, we chose not to seek sponsorship from the EU for an event presenting its merits. Events which do rely on this sort of funding can be dreary and poorly attended, effective mainly in securing and justifying the funding itself. We began by approaching departments and colleges at our university for bits of funding. Our diplomatic speakers spoke without honorarium. We piggy-backed with the University of Illinois EU Center, which invited Steven Hill (author of Europe’s Promise) to speak in Urbana and paid his air fare from San Francisco. Thomas Geoghegan (author of Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?), drove down from Chicago. Going to departments even for modest sums, commits them to the success of the program. To anyone starting down this path, I would suggest beginning with student clubs and the instructors of large courses in those departments. One should ask students to attend or take an independent study, and instructors to incorporate the events into syllabi or offer credit for participation. The approach of “build it and they will come” will not work. Few students are pining away for a symposium on the EU.

Even while assuring student attendance, the organizers can also challenge expectations. We circulated a flier with the schedule printed alongside contrasting aspects of the EU and USA—“low tuition versus high tuition; universal health care versus health care limited and under attack; low military expenditures versus high expenditures and pro-war sentiments,” etc.—our last contrast was between secular, agnostic Europe and America’s public piety (and social squalor). We asked: “What do these differences mean?  Opinions range from historian Niall Ferguson’s view that Europeans have lost their work ethic along with their religious faith and military backbone, to the view that a more progressive United States of Europe is likely to dominate the 21st century.” In order to encourage attendance, I was interviewed on radio and for the student newspaper. I kept lists of former students and those I spoke with and sent out reminders when the events took place. Instead of holding a party afterward, my wife and I invited supporting faculty and administrators, as well as representatives of student organizations, on the weekend prior to EU Week to talk with us about ideas and issues. We encouraged students to attend and bring others. 

All five presentations were remarkably well attended. An event which took place within a regular weekly forum recorded the highest attendance ever for that forum. First came presentations on the historical profile of the EU by the French Consul General Graham Paul and Prof. Emanuel Rota of the University of Illinois, then a vivid presentation on “Green Europe” by the Danish deputy ambassador Anne Mette Vestergaard. Hill and Geoghegan engaged students and the public with various social and economic aspects of the EU. Students remained after an evening film to discuss its issues. In the time allowed for discussion, critical questions generated a debate on the pros and cons of the European way. Our pro-EU theses focused and raised the level of argument for and against.            

Since our objective was not simply to bring the events off but to disseminate knowledge and raise critical awareness, we podcast all five presentations and, in cooperation with the University of Illinois European Union Center, made them the basis of a state-wide high school essay contest. Students anywhere in the country have been encouraged (via electronic discussion groups) to enter the contest. This is how we cast the seeds of thought. We are waiting to see what they yield.

Andrew Weeks is a professor of German in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Illinois State University. Prior to joining the faculty of Illinois State, he earned a Ph.D. in comparative German literature from the University of Illinois and held teaching positions at the University of Illinois and Middlebury College, Vermont. In 2002, he was a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship for teaching and research at the University of Marburg (Germany). He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Szeged (Hungary) and at the University of Graz (Austria).

1 George F. Will, “The Liberal Agenda Backfires,” Newsweek (1-24-11): 16. (back)

2 See Wikipedia, “Economy of the EU”: The economy of the EU generates a GDP of over €12,279 billion ($16,228 billion in 2010) according to the IMF, making it the world’s largest economy in the world (5-12-11). (back)

3 See Steven Hill, Europe’s Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age (Berkeley: U. of California Press, 2010), p. 215, “With its successful track record in transforming former military dictatorschips in Spain, Portugal, Turkey, and former communist countries … Europe has taken its principles of engagement and integration and begun applying them to the rest of the world.  Contrary to the Bush-Cheney doctrine of unilateralism and aggressive  bluster , Europe has practiced a patient multilateralism….” (back)

4 Hill notes, “In Europe, paid parental leave from work for both mothers and fathers is the norm, whether following childbirth or to care for a sick child.  But the U.S. is one of only 5 countries out of 173 that do not guarantee some form of paid maternity leave…” (p. 75). (back)

5 See Thomas Geoghegan, “Consider the Germans,” Harper’s Magazine (March 2010), “since 2003, it’s not China but Germany…that has either led the world in export sales or at least been tied for first.  Even as we in the US fall more deeply into the clutches of our foreign creditors - China foremost among them - Germany has create[d] a high-wage, unionized economy without shipping all its jobs abroad or creating …any trade deficit at all.” (back)
6 See Mark Leonard, Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century (New York: Public Affairs, 2005), p. 71-72, “For the individual worker in Europe, wages have grown more than for his or her counterpart in the United States – even during the miracle decade of the 1990s.  GDP per head has risen at almost the same level..but Americans have had to work longer hours and take shorter holidays to keep up with their European counterparts.” (back)

7 Hill: “In March 2007, the heads of all 27 EU nations met and, led by German chancellor Angela Merkel…agreed to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent and to make renewable energy sources 20 percent of the E.U.’s energy mix by 2020 (up from a 6.5 percent share, which was already twice that of the United States” (p. 158). (back)

8 To say that Europeans earn “comparably” is admittedly a very loose measure, considering that average incomes on either side of the Atlantic fall between extremes of high and low and vary from country to country in Europe.  The point is that Europeans and Americans both have overwhelmingly middle-class societies in which most people can afford cars, refrigerators, and residences that are better than subsistence-level.  In America this requires many more days of work and much less vacation time per year.  See Hill, p. 68. (back)

9 Hill: “In most parts of Europe, university tuition remains free or nearly free.”  Britain is closer to the United States; but a recent hike caused violent protest.  In Germany, some states began charging as much as $650 a year in tuition; however, there is now a push, at least partly successful, to abolish tuition.  “But in the US the average annual tuition for a 4-year university in 2007-8 was $ 23,712 for private college $ 6,185 for a public college.  As a result of soaring costs, U.S. students graduate on average with $ 20,000 in debt,” a figure that more than doubled since 1995” (p. 84); for figures on tuition costs in EU countries see: http://www.studyineurope.eu/tuition-fees. (back)

10 According to Wikipedia, “Same-Sex Marriages are legal in Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, and Spain.  Civil unions and registered partnerships are legal in Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.  They are a subject of debate in Italy, Greece, the Baltic Republics, and several former East Bloc countries.  (back)

11 See Leonard, pp. 5, 109. (back)

12 Jack Ewing, “Germany’s Low Unemployment Rate Stokes Inflation Fears,” New York Times, April 29, 2011, B4, “German unemployment fell to its lowest level in two decades in April….”; David Leonhardt, “The German Example,” New York Times, June 8, 2011, B1. (back)

13 See Paul Geitner, “Germany and France Bolster the European Economy,” and Floyd Norris, “A Jobs Recovery Is Happening Faster for Some Countries than for Others,” New York Times, Business, Saturday, May 14, 2011, B3. (back)

14 See online, Real Clear Politics, Health Reform Makes US More Like Europe - Thank Goodness,” by Richard Cohen, “Mitch McConnell is right. The Republican Senate leader, a man whose vision is to deny others theirs, told The New York Times that President Obama's health care proposal was part of an attempt to ‘turn us into a Western European country,’ which, the good Lord willing, is what will now happen.  I, for one, could use a dash of Germany, where there are something like 200 private health insurance plans and where everyone is covered and no one goes broke on account of bad health.” (back)


Monday, September 26, 2011

From Social Dynamics to Individual Support for the EU

On September 23, EUC visiting scholar Elizabeth Radziszewski delivered a lecture entitled "From Social Dynamics to Individual Support for the EU" as part of the EUC's Fall Lecture Series. You can watch her full lecture below or by clicking here.

Dr. Elizabeth Radziszewski is a visiting scholar at the European Union Center during 2011-2012. Previously, she was an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Yeshiva University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 2007. In addition to her research on public support for European integration, she also specializes in international conflict and civil wars. Her work on the EU has been supported by funding from the European Union Center at the University of Illinois, Council for European Studies, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation among others. She has published in International Interactions and in Political Research Quarterly and is currently working on two book manuscripts, one about public support for European integration and another about the impact of private military companies on civil war dynamics.


Does harmonization eventually lead to harmony? or Is the freedom of goods any good?

by Alexandra Pölzlbauer

In 2003, the European Union was “threatening to sue a fruit-grower and local landlord at Duernstein in Austria for selling his home-made apricot jam under the label of ‘marmalade’”. It did not entirely match the European Union’s definition of the ingredients that are allowed in marmalade. A controversial debate on Austria’s relationship with the European Union ensued, leading to a set of Austrian German linguistic exemptions guaranteed by the Community. As Greece and Denmark had already applied for their own exemptions in 2001, Austria wanted to preserve its traditional, culturally coined terms in the field of food and nutrition—one of many examples where people express concern with increased harmonization strategies due to the freedom of goods.

The European agreement on the free movement of goods simply means “what is good enough for consumers in one Member State is good enough for consumers across the Community” (Bernd van der Meulen and Menno van der Velde, Food Safety Law in the European Union: An Introduction, The Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers, 2004/2006, 137). But can it be this simple? Following up and asking all European experts on free trade, does it have to be this simple in order to guarantee fruitful exchange of goods?

For my part, I cannot completely share Meulen & Velde’s enthusiasm for the so-called “principle of mutual recognition”, which according to them, constitutes a “giant leap forwards in European law”. However, I do, indeed, fully agree with “Cassis de Dijon” being an extraordinary symbol of the “European understanding of ‘free movement of goods’” (Meulen & Velde, 138). When the German chain of supermarkets Rewe wanted to import Cassis de Dijon, a French fruit liqueur, the German authorities refused to authorize the import. The alcohol content of Cassis de Dijon, containing 20% alcohol instead of at least 25%, was too low. After an evaluation according to the so-called rule of reason, Brussels denied Germany the right to refuse the import of Cassis de Dijon. Consequently, this case became the famous example for the principle of mutual recognition, which basically says that products being good enough for one member state also have to be good enough for every other member state.

The high interdependence in European food law shows a higher developmental stage in common European frameworks that facilitate trade. Naturally, it also poses enormous challenges for national-specific customer expectations, regional traditions and cultural images.

But let’s go back to the concept of freedom that forms the base of this principle and the resulting laws. Provocatively asking: who are the “reasonably intelligent, responsible and capable” consumers whom the European lawyers expect to make “informed choices”? Where do they live? Some of them in Europe, hopefully. But what about children, teenagers, young adults, or mentally disturbed customers who might need a bit of protection in the huge and wild forests of giant supermarkets and grocery stores?

To cut a long story short, it has long been a European problem to rashly imitate American role models. Exaggerated harmonization and an obsession with consumers’ freedom might be one of these mistakes.  Eventually, it leads us back to the old question of how much freedom does an individual nation need on a supranational level. In every case, it is not only economic reasons we should carefully reflect on, but also possible social and societal implications. As Steven Hill puts it, “old Europe actually is very young” and despite all of the similarities in the emergence of the United States of America and the European Union, the geographical, cultural and, most of all, chronological differences are not to be overlooked. Call me a skeptical, freedom-hating, authoritarian Austrian wishing back the glorious old days of the Habsburg empire, but seriously, I doubt the effectiveness of where European food laws are heading towards today.

The EU has to find new and innovative ways of guaranteeing transparency and harmonization without threatening or simply neglecting the countries’ individual patterns. As the US and the EU differ on a grand scale, one should not forget that the EU countries differ too. Nevertheless, these differences are a source of great potential if they are treated seriously. Only then can the movement of goods actually be any good.

Alexandra Pölzlbauer is currently a Ph.D. student/teaching assistant at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL. Before earning an MA from the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2011, she completed a “Magisterstudium” (German studies, German as a foreign language, English studies, and History) in Vienna. Among other institutions, Alexandra Pölzlbauer has studied and taught at the Lomonossov University in Moscow, at the University of Burjatia in Ulan-Ude, in the Austria-Illinois Exchange Program, at the University of Business and Economics in Vienna, and in the International Summer Program of the University of Vienna in Salzburg. Her academic interests include migration, multiculturalism and cultural identities in globalized worlds, Austrian and German literature after 1945, as well as creative writing. She has written articles and presented scholarly papers focusing on multilingualism, hybridity and migration literature.


Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

by Alexandra Pölzlbauer

Work It Harder Make It Better
Do It Faster, Makes Us Stronger
More Than Ever Hour After
Our Work Is Never Over

In 2001, the French duo Daft Punk released an excellent single titled “Harder Better Faster Stronger” that summarizes the essence of today’s Zeitgeist very well. However, the assumption that harder, faster, and stronger necessarily imply better might be an American invention. Unfortunately, Europe likes to follow these patterns only too willingly.

When Steven Hill praises the European way in his new book Europe’s Promise as hope in an insecure age, one is reminded of the adage “the grass is always greener on the other side”. Although there is definitely a lot of truth in this saying, I agree with most of Hill’s arguments. Among the eight aspects he evaluates as European manifestations of the continent’s influence and power, “real family values” and “better health care” caught my attention. Not that “economic strength”, “competitive business”, “readying for global warming”, “robust democracy”, “multiheaded hydra”, or “innovative foreign policy” matter less, but I am convinced that nearly everything boils down to developing and guaranteeing working conditions for reasonably satisfied and most of all healthy workers. Referring back to my musical example, harder, better, faster, stronger are adjectives that have to be carefully reflected upon in this context; especially their relationships with one another.

While economists offer different ways of measuring workforce productivity and different ways of interpreting respective statistics, we are living it: harder, faster and stronger is what society expects of its workers. In my own experience and observation, Americans seem to work harder, maybe faster and definitely longer hours than their European colleagues. During my first few weeks in the US it became clear that people are forced to work and function differently within these systems and very often quantity comes before quality. Let’s take the university system as an example. In Europe, I had to read maybe between 50 and 100 pages per week for one seminar at the university level. In the US, I have to read between 150 and 300 pages per week for one course. After desperately struggling with all of these readings and constantly wondering why, regardless of how hard I tried, I could not keep up with the working pace, I finally found out. No one actually does all of the readings. Or at least not in the way Europeans seem to. Extensive instead of intensive reading is the formula, or sometimes not even reading at all. “Elaborate cheating” was what I thought at first because absolutely no one really admitted that they skipped pages and pages every week. Later on, I recognized that it is simply another way of designing tasks and fulfilling tasks. Still, I wonder how much sense it all makes. Besides, it raises another question: how many hours should people work and how many hours are people actually able to work productively?

After Steven Hill delivered his lecture at the European Union Center of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Dutch-German professor of economy Gregor van der Beek reminded him that among other competitive advantages, the US still offers most of the internationally prestigious graduate and research programs. That being said, one wonders which system offers quantitatively and qualitatively more on what level.

I am indeed very concerned with the developments in the US as well as in Europe. While Americans seem to mix up reasonable working hours and conditions with European laziness and even weakness, Europe itself doubts its own working morals and tends to head towards American preferences: quantity instead of quality. Social capitalism needs social ideas and social frameworks for their workers to be productive. Only reasonably satisfied and healthy workers will be efficient and productive in a sustainable way, provided that we are not encouraging the idea of “internationally disposable workers” (Steven Hill, Europe’s Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010, xiii).

Currently, most discussions and especially most implementations lack reflection on these points that I consider as yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s crux. With regard to the European and American workforce, I am convinced that in every case, both communities have to make sure not to confuse quantity with quality. In short, harder, faster, and stronger should not be simply equated with better.

Alexandra Pölzlbauer is currently a Ph.D. student/teaching assistant at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL. Before earning an MA from the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2011, she completed a “Magisterstudium” (German studies, German as a foreign language, English studies, and History) in Vienna. Among other institutions, Alexandra Pölzlbauer has studied and taught at the Lomonossov University in Moscow, at the University of Burjatia in Ulan-Ude, in the Austria-Illinois Exchange Program, at the University of Business and Economics in Vienna, and in the International Summer Program of the University of Vienna in Salzburg. Her academic interests include migration, multiculturalism and cultural identities in globalized worlds, Austrian and German literature after 1945, as well as creative writing. She has written articles and presented scholarly papers focusing on multilingualism, hybridity and migration literature.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Marina and Mare Nostrum: Bringing Mediterranean Music to Central Illinois and the World

One way to indulge in other cultures is through music, and that is precisely what Mare Nostrum offers its listeners.

Mare Nostrum, Latin for ‘Our Sea,’ is a radio show that airs every two weeks on Wednesdays from 8-10pm Central (GMT – 6) on WEFT 90.1FM, a volunteer operated community radio station in Champaign.

The phrase Mare Nostrum was first used by the Romans to refer to the Mediterranean and the countries along its shores that they once ruled to include contemporary Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Albania, Malta, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. So when tuning into Mare Nostrum, a listener can expect to hear the sounds of any of these countries. Mare Nostrum aims to showcase both the common experiences of the Mediterranean people, as well as the unique features of each of these countries.

Covering so many cultures, Mare Nostrum is truly a musically enlightening experience, but what makes it stand out is the host, Marina Terkourafi. Marina is a professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Illinois, Director of the Modern Greek Studies program, and holds faculty affiliate appointments with both the European Union Center and the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern
Studies. She is well informed on the cultures of many of these Mediterranean countries, with Greece holding a special place within her academic interests.

If Marina’s expertise in the area of Mediterranean Studies is not enough to entice you to tune in — which you can do live from anywhere in the world via the web—then surely the fact that Mare Nostrum has been continuously on air since October 2009 should. All of Marina’s past playlists can be found here. One thing a listener may take note of is that each show is structured around a common theme, whether it is a genre of music, a historical period, or one country. Champaign -Urbana residents and members of the U of I academic community who are natives of Mediterranean countries are frequent guests on the show, adding an extra element of authenticity to the discussion and the music. In addition to shows dedicated to specific countries, some of the themes covered recently are: music of the islands, music for children, jazz, rock, hip-hop, flamenco, classical, and more. You can find more information about each show's theme and the dates when the show airs on the Mare Nostrum website. Even if you can’t be on the shores of the Mediterranean, you can experience the sounds of the Mediterranean by listening in to Mare Nostrum. Be sure to catch the next airing of Mare Nostrum on September 21, 2011.


Europe or America or China: Which Has the Better Development Model for the 21st Century?

On September 13, author Steven Hill delivered a lecture entitled "Europe or America or China: Which Has the Better Development Model for the 21st Century?" as part of the EUC's Fall Lecture Series. You can watch his full lecture below or by clicking Steven Hill Lecture available here.

Steven Hill is a writer, columnist and political professional based in the United States with two decades of experience in politics. He is a frequent speaker at academic, government, NGO and business events, speaking on a wide range of topics related to politics, economics, climate change, global complexity, geo-strategy and trends. Mr. Hill is the author, most recently, of Europe's Promise: Why the European Way Is the Best Hope for an Insecure Age, published in January 2010. His articles and op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Financial Times, Guardian, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Christian Science Monitor, and many other leading publications in the US and abroad. He writes a monthly column for Social Europe Journal. Mr Hill has appeared on international, national and local radio and television programs, including the BBC, NPR, Pacifica, Sirius, Fox News and others, and he has lectured widely in the United States and Europe. He has extensive experience in political consulting and organizing, including strategic planning, policy analysis, government relations, media outreach, project management, community organizing, event production, and fundraising. He is a co-founder of FairVote and former director of the political reform program at the New America Foundation. Mr. Hill, who is a graduate of Yale University and Western Washington University/Fairhaven College, lives in San Francisco, CA. (full bio)

EU Awards Grants to Top US Universities Selected as EU Centers of Excellence

The European Union Center at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, was designated one of ten EU Centers of Excellence by the European Union Delegation. The full press release is posted below, or you can view it on the EU Delegation's site.

Delegation of the European Union to the United States
September 16, 2011

Universities from around the United States have been selected as European Union Centers of Excellence (EUCE) and will receive grants totaling 3.1 million euros to fund a wide variety of activities and research for the 2011-2014 period.

The network of ten EU Centers of Excellence, housed at major research universities, promotes the study of the European Union and EU-US relations through teaching programs, scholarly research and outreach activities.

"The EU Centers of Excellence play a vital role in highlighting the importance of the transatlantic relationship and help inform students and the public at large about the European Union," said Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, Head of the European Union Delegation to the United States, in announcing the winners of the grant competition. "Since it was launched in 1998, the EU Centers of Excellence program has helped EU studies in US higher education, served as an information resource for a broad audience, and facilitated an informed debate about EU-US relations."

The following universities have been selected as EU Centers of Excellence:

•           University of California (Berkeley)
•           University of Colorado (Boulder)
•           Florida International University and the University of Miami
•           University of Illinois (Champaign)
•           University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill)
•           University of Pittsburgh
•           University of Texas (Austin)
•           University of Washington (Seattle)
•           University of Wisconsin (Madison)
•           WashingtonDC, Consortium (American UniversityGeorge Mason University,
George Washington UniversityGeorgetown University, The Johns Hopkins

The University of North Carolina will serve as Network and Outreach Coordinator, with the goal of promoting cooperation within the network.  The University of North Carolina will also maintain the network website, providing easy access to research and teaching materials produced by the Centers. 

Visit www.euce.org for more information about this program.


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