Center for European Studies Receives Three Grants to Bolster Study of the European Union

The Center for European Studies hosted a panel discussion on the refugee crisis in October 2015.
The Center for European Studies hosted a panel discussion on the refugee crisis in October 2015.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for European Studies (CES) was awarded two three-year grants from the European Union (EU) Commission and a special grant from the European Union Delegation to the United States. All awards begin in the 2015-2016 academic year.

The Jean Monnet Center of Excellence grant from the EU Commission will make the Center of European Studies a hub of research, teaching, events and digital activities on European Union studies for students, faculty, researchers and the general public. The theme for the center of excellence award is “The EU: Its People, Policies and Politics.”

The Center for European Studies will host seven conferences over the course of the grant and use funds to sponsor lecture series, UNC faculty travel to Europeanist conferences and partner institutions. Through its special designation as a Jean Monnet Center of Excellence, the CES will also offer a new course entitled “EU Today,” team-taught by UNC faculty and a new EU visiting scholar.

“We are grateful for this support from the European Union Commission and the EU Delegation to the U.S.,” says John Stephens, director of the Center for European Studies and Gerhard E. Lenski Jr. Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology. “It will allow us to continue to support both academic and outreach programming focused on the EU and Europe, furthering our mission of fostering a community of Europeanists among faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students and community members.

Milada Vachudova, chair of the curriculum of global studies and associate professor of political science, is the new Jean Monnet Chair, also an award granted by the European Union Commission to the Center for European Studies. As one of the most prominent scholars in the study of EU enlargement, Vachudova will use funds to support her teaching and research on EU studies. She will offer a sequence of courses in EU studies in order for students to explore European integration, security and the politics of Eastern Europe, for example.

“It is a great honor to be named a Jean Monnet Chair of EU studies. I am delighted about many ways that the chair will enhance my teaching on the European Union and create new opportunities for UNC students to engage with the challenges facing European integration today, while also helping me deepen my own research on political change in EU member states and candidates,” says Vachudova.

In addition to the three-year grants, the center received a Getting to Know Europe grant from the European Union Delegation to the United States. The outreach grant will expand the number of events and activities the Center for European Studies will offer.

Events such as the TransAtlantic Masters Friday Lecture Series, the CES Spring Lecture Series and the NC German Seminar Series, for example, attract large numbers of faculty and graduate students, but the center also reaches beyond Carolina to the local community to create more interest in contemporary European studies in the area. To achieve this, the center has planned many events open to the public and will have a week-long celebration on campus, “Europe Week at Carolina” from April 18-26, 2016. This week will feature a film festival, academic talks, photo exhibition, a food truck rodeo and more.

More on the Center for European Studies is available on their website.