The so called ‘democratic deficit’ across the European Union is much discussed and remains in focus despite reforms to improve the status and powers of the European Parliament in relation to the other two pillars of the European Commission and the Council of Ministers. A further set of suggested reforms would be to create a synchronised political day of Europe-wide voting. Applications are invited for a handful of mobility grants to be supported by the Europaeum and by the Graduate Institute in Geneva, to take part in an exploratory workshop on September 24th-26th in Geneva, focussing on the development of a ‘wholly European agenda’. The event is organised in partnership with the European University Institute and the Hirschman Centre on Democracy at the Graduate Institute. The three-day workshop will explore the potential impact on the European ideological landscape; the impact of the rise of populist movements; and new ways of democratic engagement. Europaeum graduates working in relevant fields are invited to apply in the usual fashion with a CV, at least on reference and a motivation letter, to attend three days of talks, panels, and debates. Students will need to find their own travel, but all other costs will be covered. Please see the poster here and the programme here.
Universities have come under increasing pressures in recent times from many directions. Together they can be seen as challenging one of the standard principles of university academic life – namely academic freedom. This will form the central theme of the international conference to be linked to our 25th anniversary weekend. Academic Freedom: New Times, New Challenges, will involve a number of keynote speakers who will discuss the growing range of pressures that universities today increasingly face. Universities in Turkey, in Poland and indeed in Hungary are probably in the front rank facing government pressures. Universities are also having to confront the new student-led pressure to create ‘safe spaces’ without extremist speakers. Cuts in public expenditure linked to increasing demands for vocational and other ‘priority’ forms of education form yet another threat to University autonomy. Finally, the search for new contracts from business and industry, can also lead university to adjust their research priorities and goals. Participants and speakers will include rectors and deputy rectors from all 12 Europaeum partners as well as 50 select Europaeum alumni. A keynote talk will take place on the evening of Friday, September 29th, with further sessions and discussions to continue in the Nissan Theatre at St Antony’s College, Oxford, on the Saturday. The anniversary weekend will also include meetings of a newly set up Executive Committee, chaired by Dr Andrew Graham, the annual Europaeum Academic Council, also chaired by Dr Graham, and Board of Trustees, chaired by Dr Pierre Keller, followed by the 25th anniversary dinner in Balliol College, Oxford, hosted by Lord Patten.
The Europaeum is reviving its research workshop programme with an event to be hosted in Oxford in November exploring how effective current policy initiatives are at tackling gender inequalities. Specialist researchers from academe, public bodies such as Oxfam, and from think tanks, will meet to look at current thinking – taking as a starting point recommendations outlined in recent World Bank and IMF reports – and to set up a new Europaeum Research Project Group. The workshop is being led by Professor Devaki Jain from Delhi, Professor Anthony Heath of Nuffield College, Oxford, and Dr Paul Flather of Mansfield College, and is supported by a special Ford Foundation India grant. The event will be hosted on November, 3rd-4th, and as usual, the group is by invitation only. However, interested Europaeum academics are encouraged to contact the office. More details will follow.
Our next colloquium – the 15th in our series – will explore differing forms of Classical reception in modern culture, literature, music, language and art – with a particular focus on the 20th and 21st centuries. Papers could explore how ancient atomism influenced Marxism, or how classical imagery can be found in Fascist and Nazi propaganda, or the use of classical paradigms in Liberal democracies, or, generally, how classical culture has so shaped Europe’s complex identities. Tacitus’s most famous quote: “Ubi solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant (“They make a desert and call it peace”) is interesting in how its meaning has shifted from topography to become a well-known pacifist slogan from Vietnam to the Iraqi wars. The event will be co-hosted with the Classics Faculty at Bologna University, on November 23rd-25th in Bologna and Ravenna, and the senior academic director will be Professor Francesco Citti, professor of classics there. Applications are invited from Europaeum graduates – who are encouraged to suggest possible short papers, but this is not compulsory for participation. Please see the poster here.
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