This past November, the European Commission awarded Tech a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence award. This award is a three-year award of $125,000. Tech was one of the fourteen schools worldwide and the only university in the United States to be presented with the award.
Assistant Professor Alasdair Young, a recipient of his own Jean Monnet award, is the director of the award at Tech.
“Jean Monnet is one of the founding fathers of the European Union,” Young said, describing the history of the award. “The EU established a program for funding academic excellence on the study of different aspects of European integration, and they named them after Jean Monnet.”
At a school that is primarily focused on engineering and science, Young addressed the question of how this award would affect the school. Firstly, the award highlights the quality of the faculty that Tech’s School of International Affairs is comprised of.
“It is recognition by the European Union of quality of the depth and breadth of the expertise we have on European Affairs at Tech,” Young said. “It also enables us to do a number of activities that raise the profile of Tech, both locally and internationally in terms of doing cutting edge research to do with pressing issues in European and Transatlantic relations.”
He also mentioned how the award would benefit students by saying the award “is also helping us to do some consolidation of better promotion of opportunities for students to study issues to do with the European Union here
Some of the opportunities involve being able to research with fellow professors in the Nunn School of International Affairs. Young mentioned how there are currently two students working closely with professors to publish a paper. Another opportunity that the award helps provide is the school re-offering a certificate in European Studies.
While the program offers many opportunities for Tech to grow, this university was selected for this “exclusive and prestigious award” out of many schools that had applied. In addition to having an elite faculty well-versed in European Affairs, Professor Young mentioned other factors that made Tech a viable candidate for the award. For example, Tech is incredibly engaged with the local community.
“We have very good ties with the European Consulate here in Atlanta. We’ve done a number of events with them and involving them. That local impact and outreach is important,” Young said.
Besides location, Tech also has excellent resources to keep such an award. As part of the program, Tech must host events and symposiums to help increase awareness of European Affairs and
The program is focusing on three major areas of study including Triangular Diplomacy with Russia, the EU and United States; The Transatlantic Trade; and Protection of Personal Data.
These events are open to the public and will take place all throughout the duration of the program. The first event is in a joint program with Emory where Timothy Crane, a professor from Yale, will be speaking about the Ukraine crisis.
While the program is in its early stages, Professor Young believes that the program will have positive impacts on the Tech community as a whole, and hopes students will benefit from the various European Union Tech-held events in the near future.