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.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Immigrant and Minority Children in Public Schools: A European and American comparative discussion

By Rachel Johannigmeier

On November 14,  I had the opportunity to join in on a discussion about education with my community.  Letitia Zwickert, a Fulbright-Schuman Scholar and K-12 educator, visited the Champaign Public Library sponsored by the European Union Center and the Center for Global Studies along with the support of Illinois Humanities and the Illinois Speaks grant.  During the event, Zwickert presented the research she conducted from January to June of 2016 on education in Belgium, Luxembourg, and France and how it specifically impacts migrant children and their families. Then she opened the floor to lively audience discussion and questions.  

The development of her research began in 2014 when Zwickert wrote a proposal to study minority languages and the best pedagogical practices in different locations; from there, she wanted to use that information to compare the information and use those to improve on teaching practices in different areas.  She noted that she did not know if it would be possible to actually conduct her research, but with support from the European Union Center and the Center for Global Studies, she was able to successfully receive a Fulbright grant, and became the first K-12 educator who also was named a Fulbright-Schuman Fellow.

In her research, she found that each of the countries she researched had different approaches to their education system; she was careful to present a full picture of the education systems, rather than presenting only negatives or positives about each system. She also discussed how the political and social landscape of the communities had an impact on what she observed. For example, her arrival in France was preceded by the Paris Attacks in December, and it shaped the discussions she had with government officials.  During her research, she also visited Germany and Sweden, and she used her experiences there as comparisons to the information she collected in her research in Belgium, Luxembourg, and France.

She then provided the audience with advice she had developed based on her experience.  When approaching education, especially with regards to immigrant and minority children, she recommended the following:

  • Respect the mother tongue
  • Support all types of health (physical, emotional, and mental)
  • Connect with others with the use of pastimes and activities
  • Providing transitional academic support
  • Reach and connect with the family
After exploring her pieces of advice, she opened the floor to questions, and the audience was actively engaged in conversation.  This type of dialogue is what Zwickert wanted, as she noted that this event was meant to focus on discussion about education, and her research served as a point of discussion.  

In the end, Zwickert left the audience with a reflection on her research and the discussion.  The components of her research are a global issue, and not just a local issue.  We can consider our local viewpoint as a point of comparison, but we also should consider a global mindset as a point.  It is important that we understand and care about people and take on a global mindset so we do not label people as "other." 


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Transatlantic Relations in the Aftermath of U.S. Elections (video)

By Carlo Di Giulio

The roundtable taking place at the Illini Union Thursday, November 10 was hosted by the European Union Center of Excellence at the University of Illinois, following one of the most controversial campaigns in recent years. After an unprecedented, reciprocal exchange of accusations and allegations between the candidates of the two major parties, the President Electe Donald Trump emerged as the winner despite unfavorable polls until the very morning of the election day.

The three speakers, with the outstanding moderation of Mrs. Niala Boodhoo, were called to discuss the aftermath of the US elections and the consequences on Europe and the rest of the world. Valerie Rouxel-Laxton, Head of Economic and Financial Affairs Section at the Delegation of the EU to the US, reassured the audience on future commitment of the EU in discussing with the President Elect about the future of Transatlantic relations. In spite of bitter tones during his campaign and discouraging comments on free trade deals and the US role in NATO, Mr. Trump has not compromised the relations between the two blocks, and the US is still highly regarded in Europe by EU Institutions and citizens as a model of democracy and perhaps the most important partner in the international arena.

Professor Kourtikakis and Professor Gelbman dived deep into the technical details of the elections, sharing with the audience their expertise as political scientists. The early results of the polls, proved wrong later on November 8 after the results, as well as the possible consequences in international relations after Mr. Trump will take office at the White House.  More anecdotal notes on questions and reactions from their students in class were only a few points touched upon by the speakers.

The following reception was a pleasant opportunity for members of the audience to engage in further discussion, and approach the speakers to ask questions and exchange opinions.

The world has been waiting for the results of the 2016 US elections for months. Since the very beginning of the 2016 campaign, the two candidates have fostered curiosity, perplexities, and debate in the US and all around the world. The role of the US in the international arena is prominent for its economic and military power. As is typical with election results, almost a half of the electorate in the US celebrated a victory, while the other half was surprised with disappointment. Similar reactions were registered among US allies and partners. Yet, institutions are ready to welcome the President Elect when he takes office in January, regardless of his political affiliation and strategy to keep working for maintaining fruitful and solid relations.

To view the video of the roundtable, please visit Media Space to watch.

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