Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Student Spotlight: Daniel Barabasi

Posted on July 14, 2015 in Research, Students, Uncategorized
Daniel Barabasi at our EU day celebration.

Daniel Barabasi at our EU day celebration.

Daniel Barabasi (’17) received a Break Travel and Research Grant for Sophomores and Juniors for his research in Transylvania, Romania.  Daniel is currently an honors student working on a degree in neuroscience and behavior in the College of Science.  What does neuroscience and behavior have to do with Europe?  Quite a bit.  It involves the study of human behavior and how it can be applied to other fields such as medicine, law, or education.  Daniel, who reviewed literature on poverty and development, also interviewed leaders and government entities working on child welfare and child protection services.  We hope to see more College of Science students take this kind of initiative!  Read on to learn about his experience:

            My initial contact at the Sapientia University of Miercurea Ciuc, Dean István Kósa, referred me to the leading village policy researcher and professor at the institution, Andrea Sólyom. Dr. Sólyom took it upon herself to not only guide my search for literature on poverty and development in Transylvania, she also arranged meeting with the leading organizations and government entities in the area.

            Though I had specified early on that I was interested in the broader picture, my previous experience with the Dévai Szent Ferenc Alapítvány led Dr. Sólyom to focus the meetings on child protection and development services, which turned out to be very rewarding in hindsight. Due to this slight miscommunication, the research I was able to accomplish spread itself into two parts: first, actual literature in the first leg of the trip, which was sent to me by Dr. Sólyom as background information and second, interviews with various members of the aforementioned organizations.

            I was provided with various articles, both scholarly and general audience, on the topics of child protection services and employment, as well as various surveys on the issues deemed to be important for families living in the region. Strong progress had been made in these areas after Romania joined the European Union in 2007, however this bolstering effect seems to have declined since 2012, when the last of the optimistic general audience articles that I examined was written. In the past years, Harghita County, the capital of which is Miercurea Ciuc, has seen declining wages, despite rising costs of living. Nevertheless, the surveys show more families concerned with the future of the “Szekler Land” and the Transylvanian Hungarians than the economic stability of the country. Nevertheless, in a question focused on family life, it becomes clear that the greatest concern seems to be for the welfare of one’s children, with the income of the family coming second.

            In the interview portion of my research, I was continually reminded of the regional interest in the upbringing of progeny. My first meeting was with Zoltan Elekes, who was the head of the county branch for child protection, and gave deep insight in the development of current systems set in place. Coming out of the Soviet Union, Romania had large governmental orphanages with anywhere from tens to hundreds of children at a time. When Romania petitioned to join the European Union, among many other accommodations, it had to update its child protection services. The teeming homes were dismantled, being replaced by “adoptive families,” who took in one or a few children at a time to their own homes in exchange for modest stipends and payment. This was especially important for children under the age of three, who could legally not be in larger homes, where a guardian would be responsible full-time for eight to ten orphans. Recent efforts have been focused on making the adoption process more fluid and offering stronger incentives for guardians.

            Zoltan Elekes and Dr. Sólyom also connected me with representatives from two NGOs involved with child protection in the area. The first, The Csibész Foundation, provides an alumni network for adults leaving the governmental child protection services. Houses run by The Csibész Foundation develop the independence and work ethic of these adults, giving them marketable skills and job opportunities, if possible. The Dévai Szent Ferenc Foundation, mentioned previously, works with underprivileged children, providing them with food, shelter, and a community focused on their wellbeing and education. Parents and guardians still have custody over their children, and most children are returned to them during breaks from school. One of the greatest struggles for this foundation is accrediting their homes, as Romania recently erased the dated standards of accreditation, but never when through the trouble of establishing new ones.

            The interviews, with the background of literature I was provided with, provided me a clearer understanding of the ongoing poverty levels and frustrations in a supposedly developed country. Hearing about the hurdles present for both government-run and civil organizations in developing futures for underprivileged and orphaned children has pushed me to shed light on the inefficiency of the Romanian government in addressing these measures, while at the same time developing measures by which Notre Dame students or Americans in general can volunteer or assist in the progress that Transylvania needs. The Nanovic Institute for European Studies has provided me with a strong framework for following through with the promises I have made to myself and the individuals and groups I met while abroad, and I hope to work side-by-side with the Institute in addressing the issues I encountered throughout the course of this project.

Student Spotlight: Ryan Schools

Posted on January 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

Schools, Ryan 14-15 (3)What can an engineer learn by traveling to Europe? Ryan Schools (’17), a Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering major, thought that he had a lot to learn from Icelandic models of sustainability and renewable energy, and he was right! As humanity strives to untangle and address global environmental change, Ryan recognized that doing so requires experiencing and learning from other cultural and national models of sustainable practice and industry. We agreed, and gave him a Break Travel and Research Grant for Sophomores and Juniors to travel to Reykjavik, Iceland. He recently wrote to us about his experience, and sent us some stunning photos!

It’s not often that one is faced with the opportunity to travel to the actual ends of the Earth in the name of research, adventure, and personal growth, but that’s exactly the kind of circumstance I was presented with over this past winter break. Thanks in part to the support of Notre Dame’s Nanovic Institute for European Studies, I was able to travel to remote Iceland for 8 days as a part of the “Global Renewable Energy Educational Network”, otherwise known as the GREEN Program. The GREEN Program is an award-winning, experiential education and professional development program that strives to provide student leaders from around the world with an immersive and comprehensive look at the cutting edge of global sustainable practice and industry—a goal which tends to necessitate travel to some of the most unique destinations in the world.

Schools, Ryan 14-15 (6)The GREEN Program in Iceland partners with the innovative Reykjavik University School of Energy as well as leading Icelandic energy companies to deliver world-class education on renewable energy, first-hand. Whether it’s taking classes taught by actual Reykjavik University professors, touring some of Iceland’s state-of-the-art hydro and geothermal power plants, or even chatting with one of the humble Icelandic farmers that are pushing the envelope on sustainable agricultural practice, the GREEN program truly offers something for everyone and provides a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience a way-of-life seemingly born of the future. The program also prides itself on a strong commitment to adventure, cultural immersion, and unconventional education, and thus includes opportunities to participate in a series of unforgettable and “uniquely Icelandic” activities ranging from glacier hiking to hot spring swimming.

I first became interested in the GREEN program because it represented a way to pursue my interests in the energy sector while also experiencing a part of the world that faces challenges very different from our own. As a chemical engineering major interested not only in the intersection of novel technologies with responsible and sustainable practice, but also in the idea of adventuring to the far corners of the world, GREEN was a perfect fit for me, and it lended itself wonderfully to the spirit of the Nanovic Institute’s break research and travel grants.

Schools, Ryan 14-15 (5)One of the major components of the GREEN Program is a “green” capstone project that sees participants form teams to develop an idea or model incorporating the lessons learned throughout the program into a final presentation given at Reykjavik University. Knowing from the beginning that the capstone project would make up the majority of the research and application-based thinking I would do during my time in Iceland, I thought a lot before the trip began about how I might be able to shape the project to address some of my most fundamental questions about sustainability. Beyond simple thoughts I had about how geothermal power plants work or how the Icelandic public feels about hydrogen cars, I was interested more than anything else in exploring the factors that contribute to making renewable technologies feasible and preferable over other types of conventional solutions. In effect, I wanted to take from Iceland a better knowledge of how its renewable success story might be extended to other sites around the world, and of how that story might need to be adjusted and even overturned to meet the unique constraints and issues of those locales.

Schools, Ryan 14-15 (7)Despite being somewhat limited by time and resources, each and every group on my GREEN program produced a capstone that targeted a meaningful and significant issue and proposed an innovative plan to move toward its solution. To use my own group’s capstone as an example, my groupmates and I chose to work with the relatively underappreciated problem surrounding lithium-ion battery recycling. Right now, there are approximately 2 billion lithium-ion batteries discarded every year by consumers of phones, computers, electric vehicles, and other devices around the world, and that number will only continue to grow in the coming years. Due to the expenses surrounding the delicate process of actually breaking down and recycling these batteries, it turns out there is virtually zero infrastructure currently available for their efficient and safe disposal, which leaves the vast majority of them to pile up in the hands of consumers, electronics retailers, and, regrettably, landfills.

In an attempt to remedy this problem or to at least control it before it grows to become an even more pressing environmental threat, our group produced a business model for a series of automated and versatile lithium-ion battery recycling centers that could feasibly overcome the current economic barriers to the U.S. market in the very near future. Bringing together knowledge on the finances and other nuances of renewable technologies, operations, and systems that we learned about through GREEN with my own, original intention to spread Icelandic-inspired sustainable solutions, the project was a huge success, and, to me, represented the culmination of what the GREEN program is all about: recognizing that the world really can be changed despite the status quo.

Schools, Ryan 14-15Overall, my experience in Iceland with GREEN was nothing short of unbelievable from start to finish. Not only was I given access to brilliant minds, world-class operations, and unforgettable excursions, but I was able to learn more about myself, my passions, and the world around me while working toward a very real piece of the renewable solution. Even beyond the academics of GREEN, the program truly encompassed so much more than words can describe. Participants in GREEN come from all kinds of backgrounds, cultures, and upbringings, but are intrinsically united by their curiosity and their care for our planet and society. As such, in only 8 short days, I was bestowed with 42 amazing new friends who compose a network reaching to the far corners of the world, and who all share in my hopes and passions for a greener tomorrow. All of these things—the memories, the experiences, the knowledge, the accomplishments, the friends, and more—I owe to the Nanovic Institute and to Notre Dame, and for that I’d like to say “þakka þér.”

Gen X and 1989 in Poland

Posted on November 20, 2014 in Events, Partners, Social and Political Geographies

On Tuesday, November 11, 2014, Alicja Kusiak-Brownstein (Visiting Faculty) joined A. James McAdams (Director, Nanovic Institute), David Cortright (Kroc Institute), and Sebastian Rosato (Political Science) for a panel discussion commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall. Her reflections are reprinted here below.

After being invited to the panel “The Berlin Wall 25 Years On: Its Meaning, Then and Now,” I asked my friends in Poland, who in 1989 were in their late teens and early twenties: how do you remember the fall of the wall?

Though from a far distance, their memories resonate with Prof. A. James McAdams’ observation that the Berlin Wall did not fall so much as it opened. They also embody the point made by Prof. David Cortright that civil society had the leading role in the transformations of the late 1980s. Moreover, those memories, though indirectly, reveal one important quality of the political changes epitomized by the fall of the Berlin Wall: its peacefulness. That quality is too often played down. The fall of the Berlin Wall was certainly a spectacular media event seen around the world. Yet the fall of the wall was just one of a series of events that helped to bring down communism in Eastern Europe over a three-year period. This peaceful dismantling of the communist regimes spared us the trauma caused by military violence, one that could have lasted for generations.

One of my immediate observations, however, was how much the place where one stands defines the point of view, or in other words, how different the fall of the Berlin Wall is remembered by the Poles who at the time lived in the West, and those of us who lived in the East. The West was astounded at the collapse of the wall. Justyna, in 1989 an undergraduate student at University of California in San Diego, said she was astonished to see the reports about the Berlin Wall in the newspapers. “I was very surprised that it is happening now… simply, one beautiful day communism collapsed, and that’s that.” Hania, who worked in a photography studio in Suresne, in the western suburbs of Paris, said she was petrified when she first heard the news. While the French radio constantly played the reports from Berlin, her little shop turned into a discussion club, where clients and employees had heated debates about what that event would bring to Germany, Europe, and the world.

The memories from the Polish side show less surprise. Andrzej’s first thoughts were clear and patriotic: “Damn it! It’s gonna be a great symbol of the fall of the communism. Germans took over us, the Poles, again!” Indeed, in 1989 Poland was in the avant-garde of the political changes in Eastern Block. Following the wave of strikes in 1988, communism had been dismantling peacefully, in conference rooms, through open and the closed-door negotiations. In the spring 1989, the Round Table Talks between the communist government, the anti-communist opposition, and with observers from the Catholic and the Lutheran churches, agreed to carry out the first semi-free election. Held in June 1989, the election brought the overwhelming victory of the Solidarity movement. By November 9, when the demolition of the Berlin Wall began, Poland already had its new government, containing the members of the opposition and the communist political establishment, with Tadeusz Mazowiecki, one of the Solidarity leaders, as Prime Minister.

Some young people took the great political changes as a flow of life. When the news reached Małgosia in her hometown, Białystok, she was preparing for finals in high school: “I was buried with books, notebooks, tired, sleepy, beleaguered by my Polish language teacher. Then, my mother entered the room and said: ‘Małgosia, did you hear that? The Berlin Wall just fell.’ I answered: It’s about time, isn’t it? I had a feeling that this fall of the wall is like… after dinner, mustard.” Doszka, then a student at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, remembers a visit of West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl: “While his bus was passing by Planty Park, he waved to ‘the natives’. And then… he suddenly left.” The fall of the Berlin Wall prompted Chancellor Kohl to interrupt his visit in Poland for one day, November 10, yet in the following day he resumed it.

Other youngsters felt euphoria mixed with anxiety. Nearly all of us remember that “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd was being played everywhere. Ola recalls: “I thought: It’s wonderful! The world is changing in front of me. Everything is possible!” In 1990 she traveled with friends from Warsaw to Berlin to the concert “The Wall – Live in Berlin” by Roger Waters and guests, a performance of Pink Floyd’s legendary album. They traveled with no restrictions. Kasia remarked: “I was aware that the world around me was changing, but I was also worrying whether its was happening for real, or whether somebody will soon call it off and everything will be as it always was.” Iza, who when I asked, just happened to be going through archives of photographs and short films from 1989 in Poznań, said: “I am struck by one thing in these images – the faces of ordinary people. Happy faces. So uncommon now.”

For most of us, the Fall of the Berlin Wall was just another, though spectacular, TV event in the time that Padraic Kenney has called “the Carnival of the Revolution.” The Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia in November-December 1989 was awakening memories of the Warsaw Pact’s invasion during the Prague Spring of 1968. Many of us recall the anxiety around the events in the Baltic States. In August 1989 approximately two million people formed a human chain for a distance of nearly 420 miles, across the territories of Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian Soviet Republics. That peaceful demonstration, known as the Baltic Way, followed the Estonian declaration of sovereignty in 1988. The outcome of the events in the Baltic States was the ultimate test of whether the change was for real, or whether the Soviet Union was going to wake us up with kalashnikovs. It did not. The subsequent “parade of sovereignties,” when all other Soviet republics declared their independence, led to a peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Yet, many of us remember also the bloody collapse of the regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu in Romania, instigated by protests in Timișoara, in December 1989. The images from the execution of the Ceaușescus came as a reminder that there are other ways in which political systems collapse. In the following year the wars in Yugoslavia began, getting news big coverage in Eastern Europe. For eight years, daily footages were pushing in front of our eyes images of the horrors of the civil war: mass murders, mass rapes, ethnic cleansing, waves of refugees, and the destruction of the cultural heritage. When the Berlin Wall was falling and millions of people peacefully called for political change all over Eastern Europe, few of us imagined that soon we would see reports of genocide.

1989 was the year of high spirits. The level of activism among young people was very high. It seemed like we were all involved in something—amateur theater, amateur press, music, politics, religious and self-education groups, free travel without money, fraternization, “the first joint and getting high!” University students, who were still very much radicalized, called for impromptu gatherings, and did not miss any opportunity to protest on the streets, challenging the infamous armed troops of the militia—until then a symbol of the brutality of the communist regime. The armed militia for its part actively tried to avoid clashes with students. In Polish cities “the walls” were falling on every street.

The Berlin Wall outlasted its fall, transformed into gravel, and went on a world tour. In the autumn of 1990, Hania travelled from France to Poland, through Berlin. She went to the wall, chipped off, as she said, “one of the last remnants from the Berlin Wall,” and brought it to Poznań. She said she could not do otherwise: “I remember when my father and I travelled to East Berlin to buy the photography accessories. My father had a little photo-studio in Zbąszyń. Before crossing the border with Poland, we were parking our Syrena [a car] in the woods, disabling the engine of the car, and hiding the photography paper, films, etc., as it was illegal to carry them across the border. While in Berlin, my father was always taking me by the Berlin Wall, saying: ‘Remember my child, behind this wall is freedom.’ Soon after, her piece of the wall reached my hands.

In the spring of 1990 university history students in Poznań began occupying, and eventually took over, the big and hideous residence of the communist party, located in the city center. They did it to chase communists away, and to solve the permanent housing problems of their own department, squeezed in one building with all possible modern languages and literatures. This was the building where I began my history studies.

In 1991 the spirit at the university was still anarchic. After a class on the theory of history, instead of going home, we stayed and talked with our lecturer, and with whoever wished to enter our seminar room. We were smoking like chimneys, drinking beer and strong tea, and discussing our present and our future—that is history in the making. Once, a young artist entered the room, listened for a while, then grabbed something from his pocket and said: “Would you like to hold a piece of the Berlin Wall… for a while?” That piece of wall, Hania’s piece, with smudges of paint, circulated from hand to hand. We did not treat it as a relic. We knew that we could do with it anything we wanted, including throwing it through the window. And that was the Berlin Wall. Now dispersed, circulating in a million fragments throughout the world. The feeling of great opportunities and the open world was overwhelming and palpable. Yet, as history taught us, it did not last long.

Let me put that one piece of the Wall in context: children grow up fast in a time of political or social turmoil. While holding that piece of the wall, I was thinking about the moment Martial Law was declared in Poland, in 1981. It was the response of the communist regime to the Solidarity movement. The night before the declaration of Martial Law, my mother and I stood by the window in a dark room of our apartment house, by the road which connected Poznań—the biggest city in western Poland—with the largest Polish and Soviet military bases. Though all the windows in the apartments around us were dark, we knew that all the residents are up, and were doing the same as we did: counting the tanks and military vehicles passing under our windows. I remember after my mother reached one hundred, she burst in tears. Yet, more important than the number of the tanks, was whether they had the red star on them. If they did, it meant that Poland had been invaded. If not, there was still a chance that we could avoid a civil war by negotiations. So, holding a piece of the Berlin Wall eight years after that traumatic event, which I still can vividly see, it seemed somehow surreal.

That evening, this piece of the wall opened up the memory bag for others as well. My experience appeared to be modest compared with that of my older companions. Gwidon, our teacher, as an undergraduate got involved in printing and distributing dissident flyers. Dragged by the militia from the dorm, he remained in prison for half a year. He was beaten during interrogation, though as he always admitted, “not severely,” and eventually released for lack of evidence. Other friends shared their anecdotes about confrontations with the armed militia, mostly recounting physical and moral wounds, bruises, and proudly explaining how they avoided being raped. The tone was not heroic, but picaresque. After all – we were young. And what stands out most from the memories evoked by the fall of the Berlin Wall was the euphoria of freedom and of youth. From the perspective of personal and collective memory, the grand politics appear as nothing more than a colorful background to those things that my friends and I identify as the most important for us, then: love, friendship, activism, exploring the world, and ourselves in the world.

Why do I think this series of memory postcards is important to remember? Because, no matter how historians, politicians, or social scientists evaluate the Revolution of 1989, its most important characteristic was that, for the most part, it was peaceful. It came as a result of negotiation. Had it been otherwise, the memories I just recalled would be very different. There is great value in a peaceful resolution of political conflicts. In the case of East Europeans in 1989, it saved our youth and many lives. Thanks to the peaceful, though noisy, fall of the Berlin Wall, we do not remember it as clearly, as we remember our own most colorful and noisy years.

I would like to thank Justyna Beinek, Małgorzata Fidelis, Andrzej Kałwa, Dobrochna Kałwa, Marzena Lizurej, Izabella Main, Anna Muller, Aleksandra Sekuła, Izabela Skórzyńska, Katarzyna Stańczak-Wiślicz, Błażej Warkocki, Hanna Zaworonko-Olejniczak, for sharing with me their memories.

Minors in European Studies: Class of 2014

Posted on May 21, 2014 in Students, Uncategorized
Director A. James McAdams with the graduating class of minors in European studies. Copyright University of Notre Dame, 2014.

Director A. James McAdams with the graduating class of minors in European studies. Copyright University of Notre Dame, 2014.

On Friday, May 16th, students graduating with a minor in European studies gathered with family and academic advisors for the Nanovic Institute’s recognition breakfast. Students shared stories about their research journey for their capstone essay, a requirement to complete the minor, and received a personalized certificate to mark the occasion.

From left to right:
Melissa Medina, Marianinna Villavicencio, Paul Menke, A. James McAdams (director), Christine Gorman, Colleen Haller, and Marielle Hampe. (Not pictured: Kelsey Cullinan and Maria Fahs)

 

Director A. James McAdams presents Marielle Hampe with the 2014 Wegs Prize for best capstone essay.

Director A. James McAdams presents Marielle Hampe with the 2014 Wegs Prize for best capstone essay.

The J. Robert Wegs Prize for Best Minor in European Studies Capstone Essay is awarded annually to the minor in European Studies who authors the best essay written in fulfillment of the capstone essay requirements for the minor. This prize carries a $250 award. The prize is named in memory of J. Robert Wegs (1937-2010), founding Director of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies who served until 2002. One of his contributions to the Nanovic Institute was the development of the Minor in European Studies.

 

This year, the Wegs Prize was presented to English major Marielle Hampe for her capstone essay.  She was advised by Matthew Capdevielle, director of the University Writing Center.

 

Congratulations to all of our students and best wishes from the Nanovic Institute!

Student Spotlight: Sarah Martin

Posted on February 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

Martin, Sarah 13-14Sarah Martin is an MFA candidate in Art, Art History, and Design, with a concentration in visual communication design.  The Nanovic Institute awarded Sarah a Graduate Professional Development Grant to attend the 2nd Global Conference: The Graphic Novel, sponsored by Inter-Disciplinary.Net’s At the Interface hub.  Sarah recently wrote about her experience:

Thanks to support from the Nanovic Institute, I was able to present my paper, “Bad Things Happen: Navigating Graphic Narratives, Fairytales, and Morals in New Spaces” at the 2nd Global Conference: The Graphic Novel, sponsored by Inter-Disciplinary.Net’s At the Interface hub. This international conference took place at Oxford, England between September 21-25, 2013, and my research was presented during the session entitled “Graphic Novels in the 21st Century.” I received invaluable feedback on my research from Oxford and Cambridge scholars, in addition to international academics like Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, renowned creator of experimental digital hypercomics and web comics pioneer. The feedback was incredibly positive, and I am now fortunate to have made useful connections with writers and artists around the world. I networked with graphic narrative practitioners and researchers who are equally interested in European fairytale and myth-making for children. I was invited to submit my work to other international conferences that discuss the issue of contemporary graphic narratives as well. From this professional development opportunity, my paper will be published in a peer-reviewed e-book, plus it has the opportunity to be published in hardback later this year.

Because of this opportunity, I gained experience chairing a session at a conference, which was a completely new undertaking. For the session entitled “Adaptation and the Graphic Novel,” I introduced speakers, panels, and presenters, while also chairing the question session and mediating the clock.  Also, I now have a comfortable understanding of the way international conferences work in terms of academic ethos and panel discussions. For example, I had the extreme fortune of attending a conference that was very open-minded and idea-friendly. Plus, I was also able to build on my summer research in Nepal by attending and participating in sessions like, “Graphic Myths and visions of the future,” “Other cultures, other voices, other words,” and “Cultural appropriations, east to west and globalization.”

In my down time I researched the academic environment of Oxford. I visited the Ashmolean Art Museum and Exeter Hall, the home of other great myth-makers such as J.R.R. Tolkien and Lewis Carroll. The history of fairytale and story-telling is rich in Oxford, England, as every building has a deep and sometimes magical history. I was able to briefly research old English fairytale in archaic books and collections at the Ashmolean, while also viewing an installation of a camera obscura – a traditional device once used for renaissance drawing. 

Without support from the Nanovic Institute, I would not have been able to cover the costs associated with airfare, conference registration, room and board, and domestic travel. I am therefore writing to thank you for your support at a critical time in my professional development.

Nanovision in October

Posted on October 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

A brief survey.

Patterns of Integration

Greece needs another 31b from the EFSF. The Eurogroup will confer about this next Wednesday. Prospects for growth around Europe are hard to see when, to take just one example, Ford Europe cuts 5,700 jobs in UK and Belgium.

Social & Political Geographies

The Flemish Independence Party (NVA) has made significant gains in local elections. We wonder about their resemblance to Catalan independents, whose talk of secession has made headlines recently in Spain.

The Movement of Peoples

While the Grand Palais in Paris exhibits a visual history of Bohemes (gypsies), the current French Minister for the Interior denies telling Parisian police officers to show “zero tolerance” of Roma in his neighborhood. In Marseille, meanwhile, French citizens burn Roma camps to the ground.

Religion and Secularization

A Synod for the New Evangelization has convened at the Vatican to discuss secularization in Europe and elsewhere.

Full Court Press in Europe

Posted on September 13, 2012 in Patterns of Integration, Uncategorized

Now that August vacations are over in Europe, the European Movement  is back in the game, pressing hard for economic and political unification, making headlines. Here are some of the recent statements:

European Central Bank – Mario Draghi announces a plan to buy short-term sovereign debt with no “ex ante” limit but under certain “conditions.”

German Constitutional Court – Issued a provisional ruling (full ruling TBA) that clears the way for Germany to ratify, with conditions, a permanent bank bailout fund for the eurozone: the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

Klaus Regling – As the head of the EFSF and the likely head of the ESM (which would eventually replace it), stated that “the euro is irreversible” and that “resolutions proposed by the European Commission can be adopted even against a majority of euro area countries [which] reduces the possibility of political interference significantly.”

Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, in his State of the (E)Union Address 2012, offered what he called a “Decisive Deal for Europe” which “requires the completion of a deep and genuine economic union, based on a political union.”

A full-court press in short against Europe’s centrifugal tendencies, such as … a third Greek bailout.

NI Visiting Scholar Appointed Rector

Posted on May 14, 2012 in Partners

We are very pleased to learn that one of our former Visiting Scholars, Fr. prof. Antoni Debinski (2009), has been appointed Rector of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin. In this position (analogous to President and Provost), Fr. Debinski succeeds Rev. prof. Stanislaw Wilk, who had been Rector of the university since 2004. Our warmest congratulations to Fr. Debinski, and our sincere best wishes and prayers to him and the university.