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Letter from CWES Director Sabine Lang – End of 2020-2021 Academic Year

June 30, 2021

Dear Friends of European Studies, of the Center for West European Studies, and the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence:

We look back on this academic year with mixed emotions. On the one hand, technology enabled us to continue our work at the Center for West European Studies, the European Union Center, and within the European Studies Program without major hiccups. Our joint mission — to advance knowledge about and appreciation for Europe in the Pacific Northwest — guided us through Zoom-based classes, workshops, lectures, and other public events. On the other hand, we wholeheartedly missed meeting you in person as students, audiences, colleagues, and fellow Europeanists. While technology enabled us to draw viewers and listeners for events from all over the U.S., from Europe, and globally, we at the same time experienced the limits of exclusively online-operating intellectual exchanges. And while we want to keep using digital technology to bring our work to a wider public, we very much look forward to hopefully being able to welcome many of you in classrooms and for live events in this coming academic year.

We began the year with a major collaboration to mark the 30th anniversary of German unification. Under the title ‘One Nation – Many Voices,’ we cooperated with the Goethe Pop-Up Seattle and the Department of German Studies to discuss thirty years of German unification. Marianne Birthler, the former Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records Agency, Prof. Joyce Mushaben from Georgetown University, and Prof. Michael Zürn from the Social Science Center Berlin brought their insights and perspectives to this event.

Further highlights from this past year’s activities include two lecture series that engaged with current European debates: The Euro Democracy Forum with four lectures on different aspects of the state of EU Democracy, and a lectures series entitled ‘Talking Gender in the EU’ that focused on challenges to gender equality across Europe. Visiting DAAD Professor Niko Switek of the University of Duisburg/Essen kicked off the EU Democracy series with a discussion on the Potential and Role of Transnational European Party Organizations. Dr. Kristina Weissenbach, also of the University of Duisburg/Essen, followed with a lecture on the Formation and Institutionalization of New Parties in EU Member States, and Dr. Phillip Ayoub of Occidental College concluded the series with a talk on the Impact of the First Pride in Sarajevo. The Talking Gender series included Dr. Laura Dean of Millikin University on Political Ethnography with a Gender Lens in the Latvian Parliament; Dr. Amy Mazur of Washington State University on Gender Parity in France; Dr. Elżbieta Korolczuk of Södertörn University in Stockholm in Sweden on Anti-Gender Politics and Right-Wing Populism in Poland; and Dr. Petra Ahrens of Tampere University in Finland on Gender in the European Parliament. Although these two series are now over for the year, all of the lectures are still available for listening as podcasts on iTunes and SoundCloud through our webpage.

In March, we held the first-ever virtual version of our annual West Coast Model European Union, which is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union through its UW Jean Monnet Center of Excellence grant. Undergraduate students from twelve universities across the U.S. and Canada participated in the event, which is a simulation of a European Council summit negotiation, where undergraduates take on the roles of European Union heads of government and foreign ministers to negotiate solutions to real-world policy and governance problems over the course of two days. We were particularly pleased to welcome Joseph Dunne, Director of the European Parliament Liaison Office in DC, as the keynote speaker for this event. More information about the 2021 West Coast Model EU is available here.

Shortly after the Model EU, the UW Jean Monnet Center of Excellence hosted the annual Western U.S. Graduate Workshop on the European Union, again through the support of the EU’s Erasmus+ Program. Former EU Center Director and Jean Monnet Chair Professor Jim Caporaso chaired the event in collaboration with UW graduate and current University of Colorado professor Joseph Jupille. At the event, advanced graduate students from universities across the U.S. presented their current research for discussion and critique. The workshop also included a Europe Professionals Forum component where participants discussed non-academic careers with former U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus, John Koenig; Goethe Institute Pop Up Seattle Managing Director Arabelle Liepold; and German Honorary Consul for Washington and Montana, Uli Fischer. Like most activities, this year’s Graduate Workshop on the EU took place online, but we look forward to welcoming attending students and scholars back to campus for an in-person workshop in 2022.

We were fortunate to welcome Sarah Lohmann at CWES as Acting Assistant Professor for the years 2021 and 2022. Dr. Lohmann’s current teaching and research focus is on cyber- and energy-security and NATO policy, and she is currently a co-lead for a NATO project, ‘Energy Security in an Era of Hybrid Warfare.’ Dr. Lohmann is simultaneously a Visiting Professor at the U.S. Army War College and she previously served as the Senior Cyber Fellow with the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Lohmann was a key participant in a May panel discussion, ‘How Emerging Technology is Changing International Security,’ which also featured CWES affiliate faculty member Ambassador John Koenig and others.

As we welcome Prof. Lohmann, we are sad to see our DAAD Professor Niko Switek returning to Germany after a three-year visiting professorship at JSIS and the Department of Political Science. With his enthusiasm and energy, he has contributed on so many levels to our mission and he will be greatly missed.

Numerous Jackson School senior students focused on Europe took part in this year’s Task Force capstone course, ‘Making European Citizens — Challenges to Solidarity among EU Member States.’ At the conclusion of this Task Force capstone, students produced a comprehensive and well-argued report as well as recommendations that they presented to our Task Force evaluator Conny Reuter, former Head of the Brussels-based international NGO Solidar. Other students interested in Europe took part in innovative courses on European economic questions, on the future of Euro parties, and on Money, Love, and Marriage in Europe.

I want to emphasize that Europe and European Affairs are as strong as their member states. In this spirit, we would like to say a special thanks to our contributing departments: Scandinavian Studies, French and Italian, Germanics, Spanish and Portuguese, Hellenic Studies, Political Science, History, and Sociology. We hope to continue to bring many more events, talks, conferences, and performances to campus in the next academic year 2021-2022.

Your help is invaluable to us in our mission. I ask you to consider financially supporting the educational and outreach activities of the Center for West European Studies and the European Studies Program with a tax-deductible gift. A gift to the Center for West European Studies will enable us to continue to do exciting programming  and will benefit students and the wider Euro community.

Wishing you all the best as we look forward to an exciting 2021-2022,

 

Sabine Lang

Sabine Lang, PhD

Director, Center for West European Studies

Chair, European Studies Program

Professor, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies

University of Washington

Center for West European Studies

Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
University of Washington
Box 353650
Seattle WA, 98195-3650