Second Annual Europe Week at Carolina Highlights Current Discourse and Contemporary Culture

April 26, 2017

German Embassy Deputy in Chief and Minister Boris Ruge speaks on the future of the EU-US relationship on March 30. Photo courtesy of CES.

The Center for European Studies (CES) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill hosted its second annual Europe Week from March 27 to April 12. The event series included talks on the European Union’s future, the rise of populism, immigration and future prospects for cooperation between the EU and the United States. Students and faculty from across the University joined community members for lively debates on politics, culture and identity in Europe and the EU.

“The center’s mission is to support dialogue on issues facing Europe and the European Union amongst various audiences,” said Katie Shanahan Lindner, CES executive director. “Europe Week is a wonderful way for us to connect the campus and community and foster discussion.”

Europe Week commenced with a lecture on the fate of the European Union from political science professors Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks and continued with University of Siena professor Paul Corner’s talk on factors spurring the rise of populism in contemporary Europe.

U.S. and international students gathered to meet German Embassy deputy chief and minister Boris Ruge, a UNC alumnus who presented a case for continued partnership between the EU and the United States. Panthéon-Sorbonne University and Yale Law School professor Patrick Weil delivered his lecture, “Can Europeans Elect a Trump?” and participated in a panel organized by UNC political science professor Rahsaan Maxwell on the future prospects for immigrant integration in Europe.

Europe Week 2017 also brought film screenings and a photography exhibition to the FedEx Global Education Center. The “Food, Fotos and Film” reception on April 5 gave student photographers the opportunity to speak about the stories behind their images of Europe, which spanned the continent from the Turkish neighborhood of Latakia, Cyprus, to a Brexit protest in London, England.

Political Science Professors Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks speak on the future of the EU on March 27.

Political Science Professors Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks speak on the future of the EU on March 27. Photo courtesy of CES.

Computer science major Mailiis Law spoke about her photo of a local artist gathering mushrooms in Estonia, entitled “Following Anu.” “Once I saw my photo at the exhibition, I realized exactly how empowering sharing photographs can be. Hearing other’s stories and sharing my own, I became more motivated to find ways to capture my experience once again this summer abroad with UNC Global,” Mailiis reflected, looking forward to her planned trip to Korea with the UNC Class of 1938 Fellowship Program. “I was proud and honored to give a glimpse of an old Estonian tradition.”

A screening of the classic Italian film Cinema Paradiso followed the exhibition reception. Amy Chambless, lecturer in Italian in the Department of Romance Studies, provided an introduction, with discussion afterwards led by doctoral student Alessia Martini and postdoctoral fellow for the public humanities Rachel Schaevitz.

In contrast to the historical and cultural themes highlighted in Cinema Paradiso, the 2016 documentary Fire at Sea offered a striking view of parallel lives in Lampedusa, an Italian island through which thousands of migrants have passed en route from the African continent to the European Union. Geography professor John Pickles introduced the film, juxtaposing maps of refugee and migrant flows in the Mediterranean with commentary on the European response to the crisis.

For more details on the individual events, visit europe.unc.edu/europeweek.

Europe Week was sponsored by the UNC Center for European Studies, the Contemporary European Studies (EURO) Major and the TransAtlantic Masters Program. It was made possible by grants from the European Union and the U.S. Department of Education.

Additional support was provided by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Washington, D.C.; and at UNC from UNC Global; College of Arts and Sciences; African Studies Center; Center for Global Initiatives; Center for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies; Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations; Curriculum in Global Studies; Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures; Department of Romance Studies; and the Program in the Humanities.