Join CES in 2015!

Admission for 2015/2016 academic year! Only 2 days left! 

We continue introducing  MA programmes offered at the Centre for European Studies.

Today – Double Degree Programmes at the Centre for European Studies!

European Studies/European and Global Governance (Double Degree Programme with the University of Kent)

This programme is designed to provide an advanced understanding of the EU within a global context to those wishing to specialise on European affairs and prepare for a career in the EU policy-making sphere or as a specialist on Europe in the rest of the world.

Pauline B1Pauline (France):

The MA in European Studies and European and Global Governance is a great chance to study at two different universities in two different European countries. Through this program and the year I spend in Krakow and Canterbury, I had the opportunity to experience Europe from two perspectives, which were in many regards very different (old versus new member-state/Western versus East-Central European), but at the same time very complementary. Studying at CES was a very enriching experience both academically and personally. Not only was CES’s international and intercultural environment academically challenging, it was also mind-opening and gave me the opportunity to exchange and debate with people with various background and from many different places in the world. I would recommend this program with no hesitation to anyone interested in European and Global affairs!

Learn more about MA in European and Global Governance! 

The International Masters in Economy, State and Society (IMESS) 

The International Masters in Economy, State and Society (IMESS) is a two-year double degree Masters programme, taught in English and offered by a consortium of leading European universities headed by the University College London.

IMESS incorporates advanced training in methodology and research with specialized study tracks:

  • Politics and Security
  • Economics and Business
  • Nation, History and Society.

Ana BAna (Croatia):

As part of my Erasmus Mundus programme, I was given the opportunity to choose my second year university. Having the previous Erasmus experience in Poland, I had no doubts of where I was going to spend my year. And I definitely did not make a mistake. A mixture of a cozy, homey atmosphere, professional and extremely friendly staff and a crowd of well educated and fun internationals was a winning combination for a year that ended up being too short for everything I wanted to go. Apart from benefiting in an academic way, I had the best possible send-off from student life and a permanent memory of a wonderful year of friends and knowledge.

Learn more about IMESS Programme! 

International Masters in Russian, Central and East European Studies (IMRCEES)

IMRCEES is coordinated by the University of Glasgow, offers a two-year double degree masters programme which combines a year of study in Glasgow (UK) with a year of study overseas at one of five double degree partner universities, including the Centre for European Studies, Jagiellonian University.

Katarina BKatarina (Croatia):

I spend the second year of my Erasmus Mundus Programme attending the European Studies track at CES. I chose this programme/track as I wanted to gain in-depth knowledge on the EU affairs. In addition, I have studied in Poland before, so I was sure that I was making the best decision as to the country of destination for my second year. In my opinion, the value of this programme is the fact that the study of the EU affairs is done from the perspective of the Central and East European Countries. In this way, I would argue, I benefited by having a different perspective to the area of European studies.

 

Artem BArtem (Ukraine):

I chose to study at CES, and particularly within its Central and Eastern European study track, as my research interest lays in the field of democratisation and, especially, its external factors (such as the EU’s influence). Thus, I was interested to look on the post-Soviet transitions through Western perspective, and study highly valuable experience of political and economic transformations in Central European states along with the role European integration played in their successful transitions to democracy.

Studying at CES has equipped me with knowledge of the institutional foundations of the EU and the main strategies and approaches of its foreign policy. Therefore, it has substantially complemented my research on Ukraine’s democratic transition and its foreign policy, providing me with the opportunity to see a full picture of ‘external-internal factors’ interplay in Ukraine’s long-lasting political transformation.

Learn more about IMRCESS Programme!

Double Degree Programme with the University of Strasbourg

Two-year Double Degree Programme which combines one year at the Institute of European Studies JU and the second year at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques at the University of Strasbourg. Students spend one year at the Jagiellonian Universirty in Krakow and their second year of at the  Institut d’Etudes Politiques at the University of Strasbourg.

romain BRomain  (France) I have chosen the CES in order to meet Poland and to learn about an area that unfortunately keeps on being too much unknown in Europe. Studying there gave me the opportunity to find Europe in all its dimensions and to broaden my mind by debating and sharing opinions from all around the world. CES is an experiment that does not narrow you to a specialisation but gives you the keys to open the doors of perceptions.

LanaLana (France):

I choose Strasbourg Programme because I wanted to broaden and enrich my knowledge of Eastern Europe. While studying at the Centre for European Studies I benefited from the professors’ support and rich knowledge- but, above all, I will always be thankful for the intense and top-quality Polish lessons.

Learn more about Double Degree Programme with the University of Strasbourg

Join CES in 2015! Visit CES webpage to learn more about our programmes. 

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Join CES in 2015!

Admission for 2015/2016 academic year! Only 3 days left! 

We start with introducing our 2 years MA programmes at the Centre for European Studies.

The MA in European Studies is designed to provide students with advanced and interdisciplinary knowledge of contemporary European affairs. It is composed of high-level postgraduate courses taught in English.  Students create their own cirriculum to adjust it ot their field of interest.

Students follow one of five related study tracks:

  • EU Studies
  • Central and Eastern European Studies Specialisation
  • European Studies – Central and Eastern European Studies: Research Track
  • Studies in the Holocaust and Totalitarian Systems
  • The Europeanisation and Governance

We have asked our current students and CES alumni to share their experience studying at the Centre for European Studies:

EU Studies track is focused on learning about EU’s decision-making processes, foreign and security policy, political and economic relations between the EU and candidate countries, international organisations and the world. It encloses a Central European perspective about the European integration process.

Kasia BKasia (US):

 I choose European Studies because I wanted to expand my basic knowledge of European history and politics and to be able to understand contemporary European culture and society and its continuing impact upon today’s world. It’s the whole package: Krakow, the CES program, and all the fantastic students and faculty. It’s all relevant and encouraged me to broaden my cultural and intellectual horizons.

 headshot4Adrian (Switzerland):

The Centre for European Studies at the Jagiellonian Unviersity in Kraków is an excellent institution to learn more about the European Union. The teaching staff is very skilled and the topics and subjects being taught are very diverse. I also had the opportunity to learn Polish. I had a wonderful time, living and studying in one of the most beautiful cities in Poland and spending time with students from all over the world. I chose European studies because it includes sociology, politics and history.I learned a lot about the various aspects and institutions of the European Union which helps me to understand how this supranational entity works.

 

Central and Eastern European Studies specialisation provides students with a unique academic skill set, which helps identify the situated characteristics of the region, and its relationship to the European Union.

Heloisa BHeloisa (Italy):

CES MA program was to me a unique many-sided experience: high-quality  academia and theoretical knowledge got together with first-hand  experience and lots of additional activities. CES life does in fact take  place in its little nice institute, with very good study-facilities  (remarkably, both lounge room and student lab are open 24h/7!) and often  flows into Cracow’s cafes and pubs afterwards;) I am grateful for my  professors’ passion in lecturing and even more for the care+commitment  demonstrated by CES’ staff: this was the key to the warm and joyful  atmosphere I experienced. There is no doubt I spent 2 years of intense studying… with great people in a wonderful place;)

Nevena BNevena (Serbia):wanted to learn more about Central Europe by studying in a Central European city. I have considerably expanded my understanding of cultural, political and societal features of Central and Eastern European region. This programme has provided me with in-depth knowledge about the process of the Eastern enlargement of the European Union. I had an opportunity to get in touch with scholars and students who have similar interests. Besides academic development, studying at CES enables a unique all-inclusive experience for personal growth. People come to study at CES from a wide range of countries. This mixture of nationalities and cultures makes the atmosphere at CES vibrant, enriching and fulfilling. Thanks to that, students have exclusive opportunity to broaden their horizons, discover similarities and differences between cultures and break stereotypes.

MA in European Studies – Central and Eastern European Studies: Research Track provides students with wide knowledge about Central and Eastern Europe matters from social, economical, political and cultural perspective combined with practical courses. Students will have an opportunity to take an internship in one of our partner institutions.  The courses are lead by the Jagiellonian University and ARENA Centre for European Studies University of Oslo scholars as well as experts from the private and public sectors.

Alex BAlex (US):

I chose the Research Track here at CES because I was attracted to the practical focus of the curriculum and the opportunity to do one or more internships. Within the first few weeks of my first semester I had already secured an internship at a magazine that focuses on Central and Eastern European affairs. This is proving to be a valuable experience, as it complements my coursework and gives me an opportunity to apply what I learn in the classroom to the real world. I’d recommend the Research Track to anyone applying to CES.

Studies in the Holocaust and Totalitarian Systems is designed for students who consider specialized knowledge about the Holocaust and totalitarianisms to be beneficial for the development of a civic society. This specialty outlines the genesis of national and religious conflicts in the contemporary world, the mechanisms used to create the structure of a totalitarian or authoritarian state, and racism and anti-Semitism present in modern-day European society.

Nino BNino  (Georgia):

You need to learn and understand what stands behind terrifying parts of human history  in order to be able to prevent history from repeating itself again.  It gives a better opportunity to understand and grasp processes that are happening in contemporary world. CES gives an opportunity to learn, get a better understanding and make your own input into a formation of a society that is aware of damaging effects of anti-Semitism, racism, discrimination and take real actions in order to combat them.

CES has changed my life and shifted a lot my views on the outside world. It gave me a possibility for a new start in my life. A big part of CES experience is people you meet, experiences you get together outside of a classroom and great memories you have for the rest of your life!  

The Europeanisation and Governance stream aims to provide in-depth knowledge of the processes of Europeanisation and democratisation in Central and Eastern Europe, to build understanding of integration mechanisms and the structure and functions of European Union institutions.

Justin BJustin (US):

The Europeanization and Governance in CEE specialization allowed for  a more precise study of the aspect of European Studies that interested  me most, i.e. a comparative approach to governance in the CEE region and  the effects of the European Union on those governments, particularly  with regard to changes in identity and identity construction, while  maintaining an interdisciplinary approach to the study.

The specialization gave me the opportunity to focus on particular  cases tailored around my interests and provided theoretical constructs  and methods that are able to be applied more generally in the field.

 

Join CES in 2015! Visit CES webpage to learn more about our programmes. 

 Book Review of “Naked among the Wolves” by Apitz ,Bruno

Apitz, Bruno. Nackt unter Wölfen. Aufbau Verlag. Berlin, 2012.

The novel Nackt unter Wölfen or Naked among the Wolves, as the title can be translated into English, is a highly precious piece of the remembrance culture and the accounting of the past in post-war Germany; especially concerning the perpetration of communists and Poles by the Nazi regime. It has a fictional timeline and characters but still, the book based on a true story and written by an author, who was himself confined in Buchenwald Concentration Camp for approximately eight years. It is a story about a little Polish child, which was almost miraculously hidden in the camp by communist prisoners organized in a underground organization called the International Camp Committee. During Apitz’ imprisonment, there was indeed a child hidden by communist prisoners in the Buchenwald Camp. His name is Stefan Jerzy Zweig and he is today living in Israel. Apitz was one of the people knowing of him and he said to himself that if he ever comes out the of the camp alive, he would write down the story of the “Buchenwaldkind” (Buchenwald-child).

The setting of the novel is Buchenwald Concentration Camp, which was set up in 1937 and was initially constructed to separate “Volksfremde” from the “Volksgemeinschaft”, which meant concretely the imprisonment of political opponents (especially communists), Jews, Sinti and Roma, homosexuals and Jehovah’s witnesses. Quickly the camp developed, however, into the largest labour camp within the original territory of the “Deutsches Reich”, in which up to 250.000 people from all across Europe had to work under cruel conditions for the German armament industry. Approximately 56.000 people lost their lives in the context of the camp.

The story of the novel is the one of a child coming to Buchenwald on a transport from Auschwitz Concentration Camp in a piece of luggage, carried and protected by an adult prisoner. He managed to keep it hidden from the SS and to have it taken by inmates, who were organized in the International Camp Committee, a resistance movement within Buchenwald Concentration Camp. They refused to hand over the child to the SS because they knew that they would kill it instantly; but doing so, they put their own lives and the lives of many others at risk. The fact that it were communist prisoners hiding the child was very useful to the later state of the GDR. There, the novel was used as a school book for anti-fascist propaganda.

In depicting the story of the “Buchenwaldkind”, the author succeeded in a highly interesting manner. When reading books about concentration camps, the reader immediately imagines suffering, extermination and human trauma in a very violent way – in other words – a very emotional approach to it. Apitz, however, describes his experiences, encased in the story of the child and its protectors, to be extremely rational and non-emotional. To him, rationality was used to exterminate people, especially through bureaucracy, discipline and order.

Everything in the camp, from food-distribution to murdering, only took place through a highly elaborated system of bureaucracy, in which every detail was rigorously documented. To keep this system working, the Nazis used prisoners for menial labour, for example in the “Effektenkammer”, where they had to categorize all the confiscated belongings of other prisoners and then send them to the “Reich”. In the story, the prisoners were able, through working in this bureaucratic system, to figure out how it operates and therefore, were able to use the “blind spots” in the system for the protection of the child. They were always one step ahead of the SS guards – which of course did not save them from arbitrary and extremely violent abuse.

This is also exactly the point where the main moral question of the novel is hidden: What is more important? Saving one innocent child or keeping the lives of many save to a greater extend? Of course, no prisoner is ever save in a concentration camp. But hiding a child from the SS guards definitely puts many lives at great risk and threatened even the existence of the International Camp Committee, because it was on the edge of falling apart over the issue of hiding or delivering the child to the SS. Apitz answer to this moral ambiguity is clear: Every life is precious and has to be protected even at the greatest risk.

The novel ends with the liberation of the camp by the allied forces. The former prisoners were able to protect the child until the end, but only at the expense of the lives of several conspirators. What Apitz clearly left out in his story was the fact that there were in total 903 children and young adults liberated alongside the “Buchenwaldkind”. On the one side, there is no hint of them in the book, but on the other side, Apitz does not claim utterly truth in his fictional story because it is in fact rather an individual story than a historical textbook. So, there is no harm done in neglecting historical discrepancies considering the book.

Apitz novel Naked among the Wolves touches the reader by its depiction of morality and the creation of a highly oppressing atmosphere. It is definitely a must-read for everyone who is trying to imagine the everyday lives of prisoners in former concentration camps.

Rebecca Weiß,

Studies in Holocaust and Totalitarian Systems student at the Centre for European Studies

Review of ‘Multinational Federalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina’ by Keil, Soeren

Even though Western Balkans are no longer making the headlines like they did in the 1990s or the beginning of the 2000s, the region still attracts considerable attention among scholars and pundits, mainly from the perspective of its EU membership, but not only. Dr. Soeren Keil’s book ‘Multinational Federalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina’, published in December 2013, presents a great reading on one country of the region, which went from war and instability to the world’s first ‘internationally administered federation’ in fewer than twenty years.

The book is trying to explain the federal model, established in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as an example of a new approach towards federalism in general. Therefore, it could be of interest not only to those studying the Western Balkans, but anyone with a curiosity for the multinational federalism, currently evolving in all parts of the world, including ‘Ethiopia in Africa, Nepal in Asia, Iraq in Middle East, and … Rusia in Europe’. (2013; p.3) Soeren Keil offers a well-developed and detailed insight into a new model of federation, which originated under the influence of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a way of leading the state out of a protracted inter-ethnic conflict. By doing this he pursues two main aims: to analyse the process of building the federal political system in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the adoption of the Dayton Peace Agreement of November 1995 and to offer a theoretical framework for examining similar phenomena in other countries. Taking this into account, the book is structured in such a way that a reader could easily move from a study of one country to an exploration of a complex system of institutional architecture. Such an approach allows for a better understanding of very complex issues the work touches upon. What is federalism, how is it perceived in modern times, what can we learn from the Balkan experience are just a few questions the book answers in a very clear way, making us want to read more on the subject.

 

The opening chapter introduces the debate on multinational federalism and multinational federations, with the following three being devoted exclusively to the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Chapter 2 goes back in history to learn where the roots of BiH’s federal tradition stem from. Chapter 3 defines the Bosnian federation and Chapter 4 focuses on the post-war developments in the country. The conclusion, however, is going beyond the Western Balkan context and provides ideas for a wider comparative paradigm. What is more, a reader does not need to have any prior knowledge of the region or the topic, since the author explains his theoretical framework and methodology in a simple language at the beginning of his work. This means that the book is accessible to a very wide readership.

 

Democracy, federalism and nationalism are the main theoretical concepts, discussed in the book. They provide the background against which the issue of a multinational federal state is explored. By looking at the role of free and fair elections, political and civil rights, horizontal accountability and the separation of powers in today’s environment, Dr. Keil shows that there is no universal path to democracy, and the way, chosen by Bosnia with the help and insistence from external actors, such as the EU and USA, is only one among many available. This work, therefore, could also be of interest to pundits developing strategies for countries setting out on the journey of democratic development. That what makes this book rather unique: it is not just a well-developed theoretical work on the concept of federalism but also a practical guide for those working in politics or public policy, especially in newly-established countries or countries undergoing reforms.

The book presents a good balance of theory and empirical data, which makes it both thought-provoking and informative at the same time. It is definitely an earnest contribution into studying the advantages and disadvantages of federalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as plural societies in general. Its findings could be also valuable for scholars or policy-makers, currently looking for a solution to the Ukrainian crisis. Thanks to the generality of its conclusions, it could be used to fuel the debates regarding the applicability of a federal idea to Ukraine as an attempt to accommodate the needs and requirements of the country’s numerous minorities, the biggest of which is represented by Russians.

All in all, Dr. Keil’s ‘Multinational Federalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina’ is a well-grounded work on federalism, international state-building and democratisation project in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which could be used for analysing other divided societies. He looks at Bosnia and Herzegovina as one case of a number of countries adopting a new model of federalism, which makes the book both a very pleasant and educational read.

Anastasiia Kudlenko,  IMRCEES student

Erasmus Mundus celebrated its 10th Anniversary in Kraków

Being one of the oldest in Europe, the Jagiellonian University of Kraków pays considerable attention to the development of international connections and partnerships with other higher education institutions in Europe and beyond. One of the examples of such cooperation is the UJ’s participation in two university consortia that deliver Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses: EUROCULTURE and International Masters in Russian, Central and East European Studies (IMRCEES). Thus, it was not a coincidence that UJ had the honour to  host  the 8th General Assembly of the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association (EMA) on the on 6th – 7th of June – which also concurred with the celebrations of the 10th Anniversary of the Erasmus Mundus programme. In this regard, this year General Assembly was a great opportunity to reflect on the evolution of the Erasmus Mundus Programme (EM) and analyse its achievements as well as its current and future challenges.

EMA 2

  1. Years of Erasmus Mundus: Mission and Achievements

Among the invited guests and speakers was Prof. dr hab. Zdzisław Mach (Rector’s Proxy for International Relations of the Jagiellonian University), who, together with acting President of EMA Leasa Weimer, opened this year’s General Assembly. Moreover, along with all 3 past EMA presidents, representatives of the EU Commission were also present and actively involved in discussions about the past and future of the Erasmus Mundus and EMA; among them were Jordi Curell (Director for Higher Education and International Affairs, DG Education and Culture), Ragnhild Solvi-Berg (Policy officer, DGEC Unit International cooperation and programmes), and Jana Stetkova (Programme Manager, Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency).

However, the main participants of the annual General Assembly of EMA were the 150 current and past students of the EM joint Masters and PhD programmes, coming from 57 different countries. Such impressive statistics might serve as an evidence that the Erasmus Mundus is definitely successful in achieving one of its strategic goals – the promotion of intercultural understanding within both the EU and with non-EU countries. Among the other aims set in 2004 for the EM were the promotion of Europe as a global centre of excellence in learning, the enhancement of the quality of European higher education through international co-operation, and the improvement of human resources development. In order to reach these goals, the EU decided to create its own — European — version of Fulbright. And the numbers since the EM launch in 2004 are more than telling: more than 16 000 generous scholarships have been provided to students to participate in joint degree programmes (Action 1) recognised by the European Commission, and some 13 500 students from outside Europe (EU/EEA) were able to come study in at least two European countries. Since 2004, 285 joint programmes were established by consortia consisting of EU and non-EU universities, and nowadays, prospective students from all over the world have an opportunity to apply for 138 join Masters and 42 Doctoral programmes in a wide range of disciplines, from Engineering and Veterinary to Business and Political Science. Furthermore, 44 490 scholarship were allocated within the EM Action 2 for short-term or degree-seeking student mobility at different levels. While discussing the data from 10 years of the EM functioning, all participants of the General Assembly recognised that the programme provides huge benefits both for individuals (chance to receive double degree, improve employability and linguistic skills, intercultural experience) and particular HE institutions (establishment of lasting links between institutions, improved quality of teaching and students, increased university visibility and attractiveness worldwide).

The role and current state of EMA

We should not forget that the statistics represent real students and that they are the primary focus of the Erasmus Mundus Programme. In this regard, in order to integrate diverse EM communities, the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association (EMA) was established in 2006, following the initiative of the European Commission. Nowadays, it serves as an international professional and personal network for all the EM students and graduates and encourages its members to be Erasmus Mundus promoters in the world, while also acting as a channel for students’ representation in the communication with universities and the European Commission.

As in previous years, along with experienced EMA members, approximately half of the participants of the General Assembly in Kraków was attending this conference for the first time. Those new attendants were mainly new Programme Representatives delegated by their classmates to speak on behalf of a particular Masters/PhD course. Thus, a significant number of presentations were held in order to familiarise newcomers with the EMA structure and its main spheres of activities. A separate session was particularly dedicated to Programme Representatives, during which they had chance to share feedback on courses, identify common challenges that faced by the Erasmus Mundus programmes, and discuss methods of improvement of those programmes. Also, presentations and recruitment sessions of different EMA Service Teams (Community Development, Communication, Internal Affairs, Professional Development) and Regional Chapters took place in order to engage members in different EMA activities. In addition, meetings of various networks such as EMA WomenSust-EMA-bilityLGBTGeoMundus, PhD NetworkHuman[i]ties perspective and International Network of Innovators in Education (INIE), which unite like-minded EMA members by common professional or social interests, were held. Last but not least, EMA members’ proposals for amendments to the new statute were presented by Internal Affairs Team and voted by the General Assembly participants during the conference.

However, we should also honestly acknowledge that the Erasmus Mundus programme has a lot of problems in need to be solved: unfortunately, nothing is ideal in this world. Even after 10 years, the current students still face a lot of challenges on their way to their desired degree: cumbersome and restrictive visa procedures in the case of non-EU students, differences in national legislations and administrative issues, content of curriculum and quality of teaching, recognition of degrees, etc. In order to address the concerns of Erasmus Mundus students and give them more opportunities to improve their experience and welfare, the EMA launched the Course Quality Advisory Board (EMA C-QAB) in 2012. It aims to improve old mechanisms and develop new ones for addressing students’ concerns in their communication with their university Course Coordinators, consortia boards, and representatives of the European Commission. In this regard, during the General Assembly in Kraków, the EMA C-QAB presented the results of the first course quality survey that was conducted among all EM programmes this academic year.

Nevertheless, despite all challenges, the number of talented young people that are ready to actively involve themselves in EMA activities and dedicate their time searching ways to improve the Erasmus Mundus programme gives hope and confidence that with every next year the programme will become better and better.

Erasmus + : the future of Erasmus Mundus and EMA

One of the most important issues addressed during the General Assembly was the place of Erasmus Mundus within the Erasmus Plus – the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport for the period of 2014-2020. Erasmus + replaces several already existing EU education programmes: Lifelong Learning Programme – Erasmus (higher education), Leonardo da Vinci (vocational education), Comenius (school education), Grundtvig (adult education), Youth in Action and five other international programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and cooperation programme with industrialised countries). The seven year programme will have a budget of €14.7 billion; a 40% increase compared to current spending levels, reflecting the EU’s commitment to investing in these areas. Particularly, it aims to deliver scholarship for more than 25 000 students to pursue joint Masters degrees while increasing mobility opportunities for non-EU students/staff and including in consortia non-EU universities as full-partners. Moreover, the incorporation of the Erasmus Mundus programme in the framework of Erasmus + preserves its brand of international excellence. At the same time, the joint doctoral programmes previously funded under Erasmus Mundus will now be funded under the Marie Skłowodska Curie actions. According to representatives of the European Commission, such steps will allow for the provision of better financial support both for Masters and PhD students. Furthermore, in order to guarantee the high quality of the selected joint masters programmes, the funding system of joint degrees will be reviewed. Consortia will receive funding only for the first 3 years, and then will go through a quality review (not only academic, but also in terms of usefulness for industry and opportunities for graduates’ employment) in order to be further funded. Moreover, more attention will be paid to traineeship mobility, and student loan guarantee is also considered to be introduced in order to boost Masters’ degree mobility within Europe. Regarding the future of EMA as a student association under Erasmus +, the situation is so far unclear. According to the European Commission, the introduction of one comprehensive Erasmus + programme should be followed by the creation of a single Erasmus + student and alumni association. While more discussion should take place in the near future, it is not clear at the moment how should EMA and other similar associations (Erasmus Student Network, for example), as representatives of different interests, be incorporated into such overall association.

To conclude, the General Assembly held this year in Kraków has proven to be very productive, and has made all participants look at the future of EM with optimism. In the meantime, it would not have been such an EMAzing event without the many General Assembly sub-events that contributed to the very international atmosphere. Every Regional Chapter got to treat EMA members with its national sweets during the “World coffee-break”, while a Cultural Show allowed every Chapter to perform its traditional dance/song; the General Assembly has its own traditions, and in this regard, Kraków made no exception. It should be also noted that the participants highly appreciated the Jagiellonian University’s support of the EMA’s General Assembly and very much enjoyed their stay in such a lovely and historical place as Kraków.

 

Artem Remizov, IMRCEES student

Erasmus Mundus celebrated its 10th Anniversary in Kraków

Being one of the oldest in Europe, the Jagiellonian University of Kraków pays considerable attention to the development of international connections and partnerships with other higher education institutions in Europe and beyond. One of the examples of such cooperation is the UJ’s participation in two university consortia that deliver Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses: EUROCULTURE and International Masters in Russian, Central and East European Studies (IMRCEES). Thus, it was not a coincidence that UJ had the honour to  host  the 8th General Assembly of the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association (EMA) on the on 6th – 7th of June – which also concurred with the celebrations of the 10th Anniversary of the Erasmus Mundus programme. In this regard, this year General Assembly was a great opportunity to reflect on the evolution of the Erasmus Mundus Programme (EM) and analyse its achievements as well as its current and future challenges.

EMA 2

  1. Years of Erasmus Mundus: Mission and Achievements

Among the invited guests and speakers was Prof. dr hab. Zdzisław Mach (Rector’s Proxy for International Relations of the Jagiellonian University), who, together with acting President of EMA Leasa Weimer, opened this year’s General Assembly. Moreover, along with all 3 past EMA presidents, representatives of the EU Commission were also present and actively involved in discussions about the past and future of the Erasmus Mundus and EMA; among them were Jordi Curell (Director for Higher Education and International Affairs, DG Education and Culture), Ragnhild Solvi-Berg (Policy officer, DGEC Unit International cooperation and programmes), and Jana Stetkova (Programme Manager, Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency).

However, the main participants of the annual General Assembly of EMA were the 150 current and past students of the EM joint Masters and PhD programmes, coming from 57 different countries. Such impressive statistics might serve as an evidence that the Erasmus Mundus is definitely successful in achieving one of its strategic goals – the promotion of intercultural understanding within both the EU and with non-EU countries. Among the other aims set in 2004 for the EM were the promotion of Europe as a global centre of excellence in learning, the enhancement of the quality of European higher education through international co-operation, and the improvement of human resources development. In order to reach these goals, the EU decided to create its own — European — version of Fulbright. And the numbers since the EM launch in 2004 are more than telling: more than 16 000 generous scholarships have been provided to students to participate in joint degree programmes (Action 1) recognised by the European Commission, and some 13 500 students from outside Europe (EU/EEA) were able to come study in at least two European countries. Since 2004, 285 joint programmes were established by consortia consisting of EU and non-EU universities, and nowadays, prospective students from all over the world have an opportunity to apply for 138 join Masters and 42 Doctoral programmes in a wide range of disciplines, from Engineering and Veterinary to Business and Political Science. Furthermore, 44 490 scholarship were allocated within the EM Action 2 for short-term or degree-seeking student mobility at different levels. While discussing the data from 10 years of the EM functioning, all participants of the General Assembly recognised that the programme provides huge benefits both for individuals (chance to receive double degree, improve employability and linguistic skills, intercultural experience) and particular HE institutions (establishment of lasting links between institutions, improved quality of teaching and students, increased university visibility and attractiveness worldwide).

The role and current state of EMA

We should not forget that the statistics represent real students and that they are the primary focus of the Erasmus Mundus Programme. In this regard, in order to integrate diverse EM communities, the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association (EMA) was established in 2006, following the initiative of the European Commission. Nowadays, it serves as an international professional and personal network for all the EM students and graduates and encourages its members to be Erasmus Mundus promoters in the world, while also acting as a channel for students’ representation in the communication with universities and the European Commission.

As in previous years, along with experienced EMA members, approximately half of the participants of the General Assembly in Kraków was attending this conference for the first time. Those new attendants were mainly new Programme Representatives delegated by their classmates to speak on behalf of a particular Masters/PhD course. Thus, a significant number of presentations were held in order to familiarise newcomers with the EMA structure and its main spheres of activities. A separate session was particularly dedicated to Programme Representatives, during which they had chance to share feedback on courses, identify common challenges that faced by the Erasmus Mundus programmes, and discuss methods of improvement of those programmes. Also, presentations and recruitment sessions of different EMA Service Teams (Community Development, Communication, Internal Affairs, Professional Development) and Regional Chapters took place in order to engage members in different EMA activities. In addition, meetings of various networks such as EMA WomenSust-EMA-bilityLGBTGeoMundus, PhD NetworkHuman[i]ties perspective and International Network of Innovators in Education (INIE), which unite like-minded EMA members by common professional or social interests, were held. Last but not least, EMA members’ proposals for amendments to the new statute were presented by Internal Affairs Team and voted by the General Assembly participants during the conference.

However, we should also honestly acknowledge that the Erasmus Mundus programme has a lot of problems in need to be solved: unfortunately, nothing is ideal in this world. Even after 10 years, the current students still face a lot of challenges on their way to their desired degree: cumbersome and restrictive visa procedures in the case of non-EU students, differences in national legislations and administrative issues, content of curriculum and quality of teaching, recognition of degrees, etc. In order to address the concerns of Erasmus Mundus students and give them more opportunities to improve their experience and welfare, the EMA launched the Course Quality Advisory Board (EMA C-QAB) in 2012. It aims to improve old mechanisms and develop new ones for addressing students’ concerns in their communication with their university Course Coordinators, consortia boards, and representatives of the European Commission. In this regard, during the General Assembly in Kraków, the EMA C-QAB presented the results of the first course quality survey that was conducted among all EM programmes this academic year.

Nevertheless, despite all challenges, the number of talented young people that are ready to actively involve themselves in EMA activities and dedicate their time searching ways to improve the Erasmus Mundus programme gives hope and confidence that with every next year the programme will become better and better.

Erasmus + : the future of Erasmus Mundus and EMA

One of the most important issues addressed during the General Assembly was the place of Erasmus Mundus within the Erasmus Plus – the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport for the period of 2014-2020. Erasmus + replaces several already existing EU education programmes: Lifelong Learning Programme – Erasmus (higher education), Leonardo da Vinci (vocational education), Comenius (school education), Grundtvig (adult education), Youth in Action and five other international programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and cooperation programme with industrialised countries). The seven year programme will have a budget of €14.7 billion; a 40% increase compared to current spending levels, reflecting the EU’s commitment to investing in these areas. Particularly, it aims to deliver scholarship for more than 25 000 students to pursue joint Masters degrees while increasing mobility opportunities for non-EU students/staff and including in consortia non-EU universities as full-partners. Moreover, the incorporation of the Erasmus Mundus programme in the framework of Erasmus + preserves its brand of international excellence. At the same time, the joint doctoral programmes previously funded under Erasmus Mundus will now be funded under the Marie Skłowodska Curie actions. According to representatives of the European Commission, such steps will allow for the provision of better financial support both for Masters and PhD students. Furthermore, in order to guarantee the high quality of the selected joint masters programmes, the funding system of joint degrees will be reviewed. Consortia will receive funding only for the first 3 years, and then will go through a quality review (not only academic, but also in terms of usefulness for industry and opportunities for graduates’ employment) in order to be further funded. Moreover, more attention will be paid to traineeship mobility, and student loan guarantee is also considered to be introduced in order to boost Masters’ degree mobility within Europe. Regarding the future of EMA as a student association under Erasmus +, the situation is so far unclear. According to the European Commission, the introduction of one comprehensive Erasmus + programme should be followed by the creation of a single Erasmus + student and alumni association. While more discussion should take place in the near future, it is not clear at the moment how should EMA and other similar associations (Erasmus Student Network, for example), as representatives of different interests, be incorporated into such overall association.

To conclude, the General Assembly held this year in Kraków has proven to be very productive, and has made all participants look at the future of EM with optimism. In the meantime, it would not have been such an EMAzing event without the many General Assembly sub-events that contributed to the very international atmosphere. Every Regional Chapter got to treat EMA members with its national sweets during the “World coffee-break”, while a Cultural Show allowed every Chapter to perform its traditional dance/song; the General Assembly has its own traditions, and in this regard, Kraków made no exception. It should be also noted that the participants highly appreciated the Jagiellonian University’s support of the EMA’s General Assembly and very much enjoyed their stay in such a lovely and historical place as Kraków.

 

Artem Remizov, IMRCEES student

Accept the challenge, and get most valuable experience!

Internships are challenging but satisfying with what you can achieve once you fight your limits. This week we introduce to you The Kościuszko Institute which is our Internship programme partner organization. Karine, CES student is sharing with us her experience at The Kościuszko Institute:

Karine Szotowski CES 2013-2014“I was an intern at the Kosciuszko Institute (Institute for European Integration) for three months. Combining some classes at the University and an internship was really beneficial for me, especially as a first work experience in my field of study.        I had the chance to use my academic knowledge in a refreshing context, where students from different backgrounds are expected to share their experience and contribute to the brainstorming activities of the Institute. The Kosciuszko Institute is a great place to get involved in and get to know the daily reality of a think tank. IK was created in 2000, so its expertise and its networks are very reliable and active. “

Working at the Kosciuszko Institute was a real challenge for me, as I was not very confident in my ability to work efficiently in a Polish-speaking environment. It is now my most valuable experience as an aspiring political scientist and definitely a turning-point in how I picture my professional future. There is no need to say that I am very grateful to the expert’s team of the Institute for this.

The Kościuszko Institute is a partner organization for the Internship programme which is a part of the Central and Eastern European Studies: Research Track at CES.

Real work experience, real life experience

Real work experience is not only for testing or developing your skills, it also might be helpful for your future career decisions. Lana, CES student from France, did her internship at one of our partner organizations. For over half a year she worked as an intern journalist at New Eastern Europe and she discovered new paths for her future career she didn’t even think of:

“ConsiderinLanag that my master’s degree was focused on Central and Eastern Europe, doing this internship drastically reinforced my knowledge of this part of Europe. Therefore, when in class, I was more acquainted with the issues related to Eastern and Central Europe. It brought an added-value to all my essays and exams. It impacted a lot on my professional aspirations. Since my very first year of undergraduate studies, I always wanted to be a diplomat. When I came to Krakow, I knew I wanted to do an internship in order to gain professional experience. Even though, it had nothing to do with diplomacy, New Eastern Europe’s project caught my attention and I decided to do it and explore a field I knew nothing of. Today, I am finishing my master’s degree in European Affairs and I’m not sure anymore whether I want to dedicate myself to diplomacy my whole life. Thanks to New Eastern Europe, I have discovered new interesting fields such as editorial work or communication, in which I would probably like to gain more professional experience.” 

New Eastern Europe is a partner organization for the Internship programme which is a part of the Central and Eastern European Studies: Research Track at CES.

1NEE_2012

Why is it worth it to intern?

Practical experience is most valued at the start of your professional career. A new specialization at CES: MA in European Studies – Central and Eastern European Studies: Research Track combines high quality academic knowledge with practical courses about professional research know-how, management and usage which will enable students to either lead their own research project or participate in the Internship programme. This innovative idea will prepare young professionals for future challenges which they will face in the labor market.

We have asked some of our students who have already gained experience through interning, “What is interning worth to you?”.

Lana, France: It is truly worth being an intern because you acquire abilities that cannot be pursued in class, such as autonomy, responsibility and a great sense of self-confidence. It is also an efficient way of preparing yourself for the professional world. I would also add that doing an internship helps you specify your professional project and allows you to experience some paths that you would have never thought about if it had not been for an internship.

Alena, Czech Republic: Practice is priceless and can give an experience that school cannot provide because everyone has to live it on their own. An internship allows you to deepen your knowledge (you learn as you go, you are really lame at the begining etc.), you are able to discuss with and learn from experienced colleagues, see how the daily rythm in an organization/company works. It is also a good opportunity to see whether you would like to do this kind of work later on, and it is definitely helpful to have some experience before looking for a job, as employers ask for it. And plus, you meet some great people!

Claudia, France: Internship is an added value, because in the labour market it is an advantage and makes a difference when there are a lot of candidates for a position or job. An internship is proof that you are able to work in the real world and not only through books. Finally, it helps personally to learn and redefine our interest in the labour market; working with ideas or with theories can be very different from reality. Sometimes a job can seem interesting but being interested in a job and working in the field with can be completely different. That is why an internship and immersion in the work can help to redefine these borders.

A review by Marcin Sawczak: Malopolska Heritage Days

Malopolska is a region with the largest number of monuments in Poland, the birthplace of Polish culture and many traditions. All of this is doubtless a rich regional heritage that needs to be disseminated and popularized both inside and outside Malopolska.

Malopolska’s Institute of Culture organized a new edition of one of the biggest regular events promoting the cultural richness of the region – Malopolska Heritage Days. It was launched in 1999 at the initiative of the Council of the Malopolska Region. The idea of ​​organizing the event is to promote the historical region of Malopolska as well as to portray its diversity and attractiveness. The project is a part of the program of the Council of Europe “Europe Common Heritage”.

The visitors, every year, have an opportunity to see a variety of historic buildings, among others, monasteries, churches, museums and towns with their characteristic buildings, which are often inaccessible to tourists except for the Malopolska Heritage Days. Admission to all events are free of charge. Moreover, many different contests are organized on topics related to monuments, including the areas of art, photo and history.

In reference to the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, this year’s sixteenth edition was titled the “Big Bang 1914-1918”. 10 monuments that witnessed the events of that period were presented on three different sightseeing routes. Those were not only military monuments, but also places that reflect a great civilisational change, for which the War was a direct stimulus.

All the visitors were invited to visit places with remarkable stories told by local guides, monuments hosts, experts and people fascinated by the local heritage. Just as in the previous edition, they were available during two weekends, which made it easier for visitors to see all the places and participate in a greater number of accompanying events. During the Malopolska Heritage Days the following monuments were available:
At the first weekend, on 17 – 18 May 2014: Fort No. 44 in Krakow, Dabrowski’s Manor House in Michałowice, Palace Goetz-Okocimskich in Brzesk, the water supply system in Tarnow and Military Cemetery No. 192 in Lubince.

During the second weekend, 24th – 25th May 2014: Larisch’s Palace and Garrison Club in Krakow, PTTK Regional Museum in Gorlice, Dlugosz’s Palace in Siary and Military Cemetery No. 60 in Sekowa.

Particularly noteworthy due to its rich history was the Larisch’s Palace in Wszystkich Swietych (All Saints) square, Krakow. The building changed several times owners, tenants and appearance. In 1805, the palace was used by the municipal authorities , who did not want to use any longer the ruined town hall on the Market Square – from then on it was called a small or new town hall or city hall of Krakow in the Bracka Street. In 1815 the next owner, architect Stephen Humbert, changed the appearance of the palace, building a second floor. In 1850, during a fire the building suffered serious damage and its another owner, Karl Larisch, asked an architect, Paweł Barański, to reconstruct it. In the years 1854-187, the Krakow Society of the Friends of Fine Arts had its headquarters here. From 1906 the palace was inhabited by the city mayor Juliusz Leo. After his death in 1918, the palace continued to serve as a presidential apartment until 1939. Today, there are representative apartments of the Faculty of Law and Administration of the Jagiellonian University in the building.

It is worth mentioning that during the Małopolska Heritage Days there was also a possibility to take part in numerous accompanying events, such as workshops, presentations, meetings, concerts that contributed to a better understanding of the presented monuments.

Another attraction was a free publication by Katarzyna Kobylarczyk, journalist and reporter. It is a collection of reports connected with historical monuments that were to see during the two May weekends. The book contains extraordinary stories of the people associated with those places. The publication is also available at dnidziedzictwa.pl. On the website on can find information, maps, descriptions and photographs of nearly 200 objects that have been presented in previous editions of the Małopolska Heritage Days since 1999.

Every year, the prize of Marian Kornecki is given by the Malopolska Region to a person with outstanding achievements in the field of conservation and protection of monuments of wooden architecture Malopolska and for the implementation of valuable projects in the area of ​​Malopolska. This year, Mrs Emilia Rutkowska, former director of the Museum of Orawski Ethnografic Park in Zubrzyca Gorna, was awarded with the prize for all activities of conservation, research and promotion of folk architecture of Orawa.