Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Welcome Message from the EU Center, August 2014

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As classes get under way this week to start the academic year, the European Union Center welcomes
new and returning faculty, staff, and students to the University of Illinois campus.

We are very pleased to share the good news that the EUC succeeded in renewing, through a highly competitive grant process, its designation as one of ten EU Centers of Excellence in the United States. The one-year grant of €95,000 administered to the EUC by the EU Delegation to the US in Washington, DC will enable a host of new interdisciplinary initiatives in EU studies research, course development, and public engagement. You can read more on our blog about the new EU Center of Excellence grant and the participating faculty and activities that it will support.

Over the summer, the EUC also submitted a comprehensive proposal to the US Department of Education Title VI program, as we seek to renew our designation as a National Resource Center. We anticipate hearing results of the competition in September. If funded, the grant could bring in up to $2.5 million over the next four years to support additional research, teaching, and outreach projects as well as Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships for graduate and undergraduate students.

As usual the EUC will use some of the funding from our EUCE and Title VI grants to invite new competitive proposals from UI faculty and students, as well as off-campus scholars and educators. The EUC has just released a Call for Grant Applications for research, conference travel, and other activities focused on expansion of knowledge and engagement with the EU. Deadlines for the first sets of competitions are coming up in September. We encourage you to check out the details and get your applications started. 

Even as the EUC continues its efforts to renew and maintain its traditional flows of grant funds and to distribute these resources to partnering units and affiliates, we are always seeking to grow our financial base in ways that will support the UI and EUC missions and the interests of our faculty and students. To that end, we welcome inquiries about possible collaboration on new grant opportunities and can provide various types of support for applications to sponsors outside the university. We welcome your ideas and interest in such cooperation, and invite you to contact us at EUC to discuss opportunities you may wish to pursue.

Together with our highly energetic faculty, the EUC staff has been busy planning an exciting array of lectures, conferences, movies, and more for the academic year. The Center will be hosting lectures on Fridays at noon. Marquee talks like the EUCE Directors Lecture Series, Larry Neal Prize for EU Scholarship lecture, and Scholars-in-Residence speaker series are planned for this fall. We welcome suggestions—and self-nominations—for speakers to deliver Friday noon lectures, so please let us know your ideas. The Center’s programming this year will also feature special interactions with the European diplomatic corps through EU Day and similar events, and our annual Regional Faculty Working Conference in EU Studies in Chicago in January. Look for updates in forthcoming e-Weekly issues and on the EU Center web site, and make your plans to participate.

A standing goal of the EU Center is to foster cooperation with institutions in Europe and with scholars that share interests in EU studies, and one of the ways we do that is by inviting applications to our Scholars-in-Residence program. We are excited to announce the following visiting scholars to EUC, who will be coming at various stages during the academic year: Bart Rokicki (University of Warsaw); Patricia Minacori (Université Paris Diderot); Renata Dombrovski (University of Rijeka, Croatia); and Michelle Frasher (Fulbright-Schuman Scholar). We will share additional information about each of these distinguished scholars and post profiles of their background and interests on our web site soon. Please join us in welcoming them to the UI and Urbana-Champaign. We will announce the next competition for EUC visiting scholars for 2015-16 residency in the spring, and as always we encourage inquiries and applications both from prospective visitors and their collaborators here at the UI.

Many of you already keep up with the Center and the latest EU news through our Facebook page, EUC Blog, and Twitter feed. Our e-weekly newsletter will continue to highlight selected contributions to these social media. We also invite you to join our LinkedIn group, which allows EUC affiliates to stay connected and keep up with each other’s professional developments, and to follow us on Pinterest

As we look ahead to the upcoming year, the Center will continue to serve as a hub for research, teaching, and public engagement on the EU and transatlantic relations. We plan to spend this year focusing on developing new curricular and academic programs, including prospects for new degree majors and minors in EU studies at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, and enhancing the footprint of Illinois at European partner universities. A key goal is to cooperate with other units on campus that share our interests in expanding the range of opportunities for students interested in the EU, so we look forward to engaging in dialogue about ways to achieve those objectives. Please feel welcome to share your ideas with us about how we can best serve that mission. In the mean time, we wish all of the EU Center’s many friends a productive and stimulating year to come!

- Anna Stenport, Director
- Matt Rosenstein, Senior Associate Director
- Sebnem Ozkan, Outreach Coordinator


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