Current Newsletter

EUCE/ESC Director Ron Linden (left) with European Union Ambassador to the United States João Vale de Almeida.  On March 6, his Excellency visited the EUCE/ESC at the University of Pittsburgh.


Message from the Director

Greetings and Welcome Back!

            It was a turbulent spring and summer – to say the least – for Europe and its nearby regions.  Upheaval in Ukraine provided the opportunity for, in the words of Walter Russell Mead, “the return of geopolitics.” An assertive Russia tested the resolve of Europe’s states and alliances by carving out Crimea and attaching it to Russia and supporting a rebellion in Ukraine’s eastern region. The dominant domestic position of Russia’s leader seemed to be matched by that of Recip Erdoğan of EU-candidate Turkey and Viktor Orban of EU-member Hungary. An anemic economic recovery and strong gains for populist, anti-EU parties in elections for the European Parliament in May led many to question whether the EU’s once vaunted “soft” power has now eroded as much as its hard, military capacity.

            At the same time, a robust, though ultimately unsuccessful campaign for Scottish independence reverberated around Europe with implications for the territorial and social integrity of not only the UK but other European states and their alliances.

            The foundational US-Europe alliance has seen several tests.  Negotiations on the long awaited Transatlantic Trade and Investment Treaty have been subject to repeated challenges and “exceptions” and the atmosphere has not been helped by revelations of spying among friends.

            Still, some effective coordination between Europe and Washington has been achieved:  targeted economic sanctions have been adopted against Russia’s power brokers; an agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear arms aspirations seems tantalizingly close; and European support has emerged for a US-led coalition to challenge the militant Islamic Syria and Iraq.  The EU stood firm against vociferous Russian objections and secured signatures on Association Agreements not only from Ukraine but also Moldova and Georgia.  And for the first time an East European, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, will head the EU’s powerful policy setting body, the European Council.

            The European Union Center of Excellence/European Studies Center of the University of Pittsburgh acts as a focus here at Pitt for people who want to work on various aspects of these and other developments, both those in Europe and those that affect the Europe-US relationship.  Contemporary policies—including foreign policy—organizational structure, changing societies, historical orientations and, crucially, the way people react to these, as evidenced in film, literature and culture more broadly all are part of Pitt’s focus in European Studies. This Center—two Centers really—support faculty and student initiatives, both individual and collective, and helps put the University at the forefront of international research and education.

            These efforts have achieved recognition, most recently by the awarding of the status of EUCE to us again by the EU Delegation to the United States and by the winning of a national award for outreach activity administered by the University of Illinois.  We are proud of these achievements—and those of our faculty and students described in this newsletter.  For the coming year we have a packed and varied schedule of talks, conferences and Conversations on Europe planned. (See our website,  We hope you will come by, meet the remarkable, dedicated staff of the Center, and join in our activities.

            With best wishes for the academic year,

                                                Ron Linden



In Review

2014 Graduation Ceremony

On April 25, the European Union Center of Excellence/European Studies Center held its graduation ceremony at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association; 38 undergraduate students and three graduate students received certificates.  Above (top): EUCE/ESC Director Ron Linden awards Sarah Procario, a Political Science major, her certificate in West European Studies.  Above (bottom): Assistant Director Stephen Lund addresses the graduates and their families during the ceremony.


Jean Monnet Symposium

On May 16, the EUCE/ESC, in conjunction with the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, hosted Professor Atila Eralp, Director of the EU Center at Turkey’s Middle East Technical University. Professor Eralp spoke during a breakfast briefing at the Rivers Club. He discussed Turkey’s domestic issues and role in geopolitical order, as well as its relationship with the EU and Iran.


German Business Panel

On April 1, the EUCE/ESC hosted a German Business Panel with the themes, “Why is the German Business Model So Successful?” and “How is doing Business in Germany Different from Other Countries?”  Panelists included: Robert Dehm of the Economic Department at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany; Jeffrey T. Deane, Managing Partner of BKD, LLP; Joe Peilert, President and CEO of VEKA Holding; and Suzi Pegg, Vice President, Global Marketing, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance.



“The Franciscan Martyrs of Japan,” an etching by Jacques Callot (1627). The above image is courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh Art Gallery.


Reverberations of Rivalry? The 1597 Nagasaki Martyrdom in Jesuit and Franciscan Prints and Paintings


by Rachel Miller, PhD Candidate

History of Art & Architecture, University of Pittsburgh

The University Art Gallery in the Frick Fine Arts Building contains a seventeenth-century etching by the French artist Jacques Callot.  The etching depicts the Nagasaki Martyrdom of 1597, in which 23 Franciscans and three Jesuits were executed.  Though not a common subject in the history of European art, both the Jesuit and Franciscan orders commissioned paintings and prints representing this subject throughout the seventeenth century, making the Nagasaki Martyrdom a cornerstone of both orders’ cults of neo-martyrs.  In April 2013, I received generous support from the European Union Center of Excellence/European Studies Center to present my research on several of these images at the annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America in San Diego.  The meeting gave me the opportunity to receive feedback on this aspect of my research on Jesuit patronage and allowed me to interact with leading scholars who also study this topic, particularly in regards to the art and architecture produced by Jesuits in both Europe and on the overseas missions.

            In 1549, St. Francis Xavier initiated the first Jesuit mission in Japan, and for several decades afterwards, members of the Society of Jesus enjoyed a monopoly there.  Jesuits were fiercely protective of their exclusive access to Japanese souls, convincing Pope Gregory XIII that allowing other orders to conduct missionary work in Japan would place the entire enterprise in jeopardy.  However, the Franciscans were eager to gain access to the Japanese islands and exhibited no reservations about establishing a residence there after being invited to do so by Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the most dominant Japanese warlord at the time.

            It is well known that in Japan Jesuits and Franciscans took different approaches to mission work.  The Jesuit approach is always described as being flexible and welcoming to Japanese culture, resulting in missionaries like the Italian Organtino Gnecchi-Soldo, who embraced non-European cultures by wearing Japanese clothes, eating Japanese food, and encouraging the Society to ordain Japanese priests.  In various letters sent back to Rome, Jesuits described the Franciscan missionaries in Japan as inflexible and ignorant of Japanese customs.  Franciscans, however, insisted that the preferred way to win over the largest number of Japanese souls was to tend to the sick and the poor, criticizing Jesuit participation in Japanese court life and attempts to convert the nobility.

            The disagreement over approaches to mission work resulted in tragedy in 1596.  A group of Franciscan missionaries provoked Hideyoshi’s anger during negotiations over the return of seized cargo from the San Felipe, a wrecked Spanish ship that had been headed to Acapulco from Manila.  As a result, Hideyoshi ordered the execution of all Franciscans in Japan on December 11, 1596.  Twenty-six people were executed on a hill overlooking the city of Nagasaki on February 5, 1597.  The group consisted of six European Franciscans, seventeen Japanese lay followers of the Franciscans, and three Japanese Jesuits, whom Hideyoshi's soldiers included by mistake.  In the following century, both orders commissioned images that, despite the rivalry between the Franciscans and the Jesuits and their polarized approaches to missionary work, have much in common.  These images demonstrate that the Jesuits and the Franciscans shared common ideas about the purpose of missions and worldwide conversion, the Apostolic precedent for such work, and the theological importance of martyrdom.

            In general, seventeenth-century images of the 1597 martyrdom correspond closely to a surviving eyewitness account of the event written by a Franciscan friar named Juan Pobre.  Jacques Callot’s etching, commissioned by the Franciscans for the occasion of the 1627 beatification of the Japanese martyrs, is characteristic in this regard.  Ropes were used to tie the martyrs to crosses, which take on a distinctive shape, consisting of two horizontal members.  Juan Pobre also relates that after the Christians were put on the crosses, two executioners approached each cross on command and simultaneously speared the bodies of the martyrs.  Here, the Callot print is not completely accurate, showing only two executioners in total.  An additional historical inaccuracy occurs in the number of figures shown being executed.  The print contains only 23 figures, selectively editing out the three Jesuits who were also present.  Jesuit prints and paintings, such as Guido Cagnacci’s The Jesuit Martyrs of Japan (ca. 1635) in the church of San Francesco Saverio in Rimini, are similar in that they only represent the three members of their own order.  Not only does this reflect a desire to showcase their own martyrs, it also demonstrates the long-lived afterlife of the Franciscan-Jesuit rivalry. 

            In both Franciscan and Jesuit images, we also see an ever-present comparison being made between the martyrs of Japan and Christ’s martyrdom.  The manner of death is, of course, similar.  The martyrs are crucified on crosses and are speared through the side.  Missionary orders of the seventeenth century commonly commissioned images that represented martyrs as parallels to Christ.  Jerome Nadal, one of the first members of the Society of Jesus, summarized Jesuit views on martyrdom, as well as their relevance to the Order’s missionary efforts, in a sermon given in 1561: “[Christ] redeemed the human race with the Cross and daily endures the greatest afflictions and crosses in his mystical body, which is the Church, so also one who belongs to our Society can propose to himself nothing else, following Christ through the greatest persecutions.”  As Nadal’s words make clear, Jesuits were encouraged to emulate Christ by welcoming martyrdom as a way to continue to bring salvation to mankind.  The images commissioned by the Society therefore served to celebrate Jesuits who had followed Christ’s example, as well as to prepare the next generation of martyrs.  This equation between martyrs and Christ is, of course, not exclusive to the Jesuit orders. The writings of St. Bonaventure explain that Franciscans should yearn for martyrdom as St. Francis did, in order to better imitate Christ and to achieve a mystical union with God.  This desire for martyrdom was an important step in the friars’ spiritual ascent and would lead to evangelical perfection.  These writings led to a long tradition of Franciscans hoping to imitate the Crucified Christ by exposing themselves to pain, suffering, and martyrdom at the hands of pagans and heretics.

            In addition to being compared to Christ, the martyrs in the Nagasaki scenes are also being compared to the apostles.  Crucifixion is actually one of the less common means of execution experienced by Christian martyrs throughout the centuries.  Besides Christ, the most famous crucified martyrs are almost all apostles – St. Peter, St. Andrew, and St. Philip the Apostle.  As missionaries, the Franciscan and Jesuit martyrs of Japan could also be seen as new apostles, spreading the Catholic faith in far-away lands.  This idea of missionaries as apostles is particularly strong in the Franciscan context.  Many Franciscan friars, particularly those sent to the New World in the sixteenth century, viewed their mission as a new apostolic age.  Franciscans were often sent in groups of 12 to the New World, echoing the number of apostles, while prominent missionaries, such as Toribio de Benavente Motolinía, wrote that the conversion of Mexico was the “the greatest spiritual conquest since the days of the original Apostles in the Old World.”  Vasco de Quiroga, a bishop and member of the Audiencia of New Spain, echoed this sentiment, writing, “It seems certain to me that I see... in the new primitive and reborn Church of this New World, a reflection and an outline of the Primitive Church in our known world in the Age of the Apostles.”  Another print by Callot, The Tree of Life with the Trinity, Adored by Franciscans, further reinforces this association by showing 12 Franciscans adoring a tree with the Trinity.  Below the Trinity, two rows of flames descend towards the Franciscans, paralleling the flames of Pentecost that filled the apostles with the Holy Spirit, enabling them to speak in tongues and proselytize in foreign lands.

            Through this examination, it has become clear that the 1597 Nagasaki Martyrdom, which took place far from the center of Christendom, was an ideal subject for the transmission of ideologies that were essential to both orders’ conceptions of missions and martyrs.  By paralleling the deaths of the Japanese missionaries with the crucifixion of Christ, the Jesuits and the Franciscans were able to depict their new martyrs as having died to renew the salvation that Christ brought to mankind through his own sacrifice.  The orders were also able to legitimize the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century overseas missionary enterprise by making comparisons between their missionaries and the apostles, who also traveled to foreign lands in order to spread the Christian faith. My research has shown how events that took place on the overseas missions could have a profound impact on devotional art created in Europe over the following centuries. Although the traditional focus of the Renaissance Society of America has long been the study of the early modern period in Europe, many of the papers given at the 2013 meeting dealt with topics related to cross-cultural exchange and interaction between Europe and other parts of the world. Being able to attend the meeting and present my contributions to this growing field was an invaluable experience, for which I thank the EUCE/ESC.



Upcoming Grant and Fellowship Deadlines


EUCE/ESC Travel Grants for Graduate Students

The EUCE/ESC has funds available to graduate students to help defray costs involved in traveling to and participating in regional, national, or international scholarly conferences.  In order to be eligible, graduate students must 1) be presenting a paper (i.e. not acting as discussant or chair) and be on the program of the conference; 2) Be presenting a paper that has some aspect of European life, historical or contemporary, domestic or international, or European integration as its main focus.  (Topics in the humanities as well as in the social sciences and those dealing with the countries of Europe and/or the European Union are eligible. For contemporary East European countries, topics must deal with links to or impact of the European Union.)  For other requirements and application procedures visit:  No Deadline.


The Nationality Rooms Summer Study Abroad Scholarship Program

The University of Pittsburgh has announced the 2015 Nationality Rooms awards. Eligibility requirements include: being a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, a full-time undergraduate or graduate student for the fall and spring terms prior to studying abroad, a full-time student for the fall and spring terms following the study abroad, proposal must relate to career goals, and you must have foreign language skills. For more details, including a schedule for information sessions, inquire at the Nationality Rooms Programs office, 1209 Cathedral of Learning, e-mail Scholarship Administrator Christina Lagnese at, or visit Deadline: Jan. 8, 2015 for undergraduates and Jan. 22, 2015 for graduates.


EUCE/ESC Spotlight:

Kaitlyn Douglass

This month, EUCE/ESC newsletter editor Gavin Jenkins interviewed alumnus Kaitlyn Douglass, a research assistant in the public financial management division at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  A native of South Salem, New York, Douglass graduated from Pitt in 2014 with a degree in economics, and she was the first student to earn a Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) in European Union Studies.  While at Pitt, she was the business manager and then vice president of the Polish Club, vice president of the Russian Club, and a member of the Student International Relations Society, Argentine Tango Club, and REES Club.  She studied several languages, including Polish, French, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, and Montenegrin.  She was also a student assistant for the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies. 

Q: How did you land a job with the IMF and what are your responsibilities?

A: After seeing a guest presenter from the IMF in one of my international economics classes and speaking to him afterward, I became fascinated in the work produced and disseminated by the organization and decided to look into it further. I based several small research projects for classes on some work and data from the Fund, and became very familiar with the types of work they produce. Additionally, I sought out people from the Fund that I could talk to, and quickly I realized it would be a place at which I would very much enjoy working.

            As I began formulating the research question for my BPhil thesis, it was natural for me to read further into all the publications of respected institutions, especially from the IMF. This way, I could see what the current economic issues were, and identify where there was interest, but little research.  This process not only helped me identify my research question, but it familiarized me even further with what the IMF does and the methods it uses, which I was able to incorporate into my own research and written thesis. Having done so, I was able to refer to my BPhil in my interviews at the IMF to demonstrate my knowledge in identifying and analyzing issues that are of importance to the organization. I believe this was a very big factor, and am very happy that I was able to be proactive in learning as much as I could as an undergraduate so that I could start my career in the direction that I want.

            Now that I am a Research Assistant at the IMF, I get to use the skills fostered throughout my BPhil process on a regular basis. Within the Public Financial Management II division of the Fiscal Affairs Department, my main responsibility is gathering data and bibliographic research, analyzing them in relation to one another, and using them to support economists and specialists in identifying recommendations for their in-country “missions” abroad. My work also directly contributes to IMF-published research papers and seminars. It is an absolutely fascinating and exciting job, especially because I get to learn about countries, from the remote to the well-known, in the process of finding examples and quantifiable data illustrating country responses to specific fiscal problems other countries may currently be facing. In addition, every day in the office is different, with the types of work required of me constantly changing and new opportunities to develop my knowledge (through different kinds of meetings, seminars, classes, etc. through the Fund) constantly arising.

Q: As an Economics major, what inspired you to also get a Bachelor’s in Philosophy in European Union Studies?  And, how was this beneficial to you in terms of a career?

A: I must admit that I had decided on pursuing the BPhil as a way to explore my passion for learning about cultures, global interrelationships, foreign policy and history, before I had taken an economics class and realized my passion for economics, as well. The BPhil opportunity is actually why I decided on Pitt—along with its excellent reputation for its international studies program. However, I hadn’t decided on the BPhil in EU studies until later, after I started school, when I saw it advertised as a new area of the BPhil. 

            In my view, economics and international studies (including politics and history) are natural complements, where economics drives world politics and history (and vice versa). Therefore, I really wanted to reflect such a holistic perspective in the way I approached my undergraduate career. In addition, given that I had already developed an interest in the Central, East, and Southeast European countries, their relatively recent accessions to the EU, the prevalence of the EU and the euro area in the news at the time (even still), and the relatively little knowledge of these countries within the EU and their positions on periphery of the euro area, it seemed perfectly natural to combine all of these interests under one, comprehensive umbrellaL the Bachelor of Philosophy in European Union Studies.

            I use the skills I developed during the BPhil process on a daily basis at my job. Having these skills cut back the initial learning curve and gave me a chance to work on some really cool projects right out of the gate. I have the ability to analyze economics at a multi-dimensional level within the contexts of a nation’s history, politics, culture and financial/economic makeup, and I believe that this ultimately enabled me to get my dream post-undergraduate job.

Q: What was it like being the first Pitt student to earn a B-Phil through the EUCE/ESC?

A: The EUCE was absolutely fantastic throughout the whole process! Not only was advising (from Assistant Director Steve Lund) of top quality, but I had access to all sorts of networking opportunities. Notably, through the Center, I was invited to a luncheon with the Polish Permanent Representative to the EU Parliament in the Fall of 2012 and, this past spring, I got to sit in on a small meeting with the EU Ambassador to the US (whom I have subsequently seen at events since moving to DC). These are just two examples of the incredible networking power offered by the Center, and there are definitely many more.

            In terms of the degree process, I had help every step of the way: from paring down ideas for research questions to establishing a committee, to an existential crises leading up to the defense, and a warm show of support on defense day. I did have to defend my thesis in public, like a grad student, and it was especially nerve-racking because it had to be at the same level as a grad student, as well, since it is supposed to be a Masters-equivalent thesis. However, defense day ended up being one of my favorite days of my undergraduate career: the huge sense of accomplishment after my defense made all the months/years of stress leading up to it completely worth it.

Q: Tell me about your summer abroad, studying in Montenegro, Poland and the Czech Republic. What was this like, and how did it help you?

A: What a fantastic summer that was! I first went to Poland and the Czech Republic in May with an economics/politics course through Pitt, and then I spent a month in Montenegro through the Summer Language Institute at Pitt. Each trip was an amazing experience, giving me the chance to explore and live the cultures, see the history, practice each of the respective languages, understand the politics, and meet and talk to some companies in large sectors of the economies in the countries I studied back in Pittsburgh. These experiences gave me a context within which to develop invaluable multi-dimensional knowledge, and have a good time while doing so. I have found that employers, especially those related to international anything (economics, relations, etc.) want to see some sort of study-abroad on a resume, because they see it as an indicator of not only how worldly you are, but that you can think in terms of the macro-, world sense. In addition to my economics and language skills, my interviewers at the IMF wanted to know if I have travelled, to where, for how long, and what I did there, so studying abroad has most certainly helped me in my career by being a factor in getting a job.