'Conversations On Europe' Videoconferences

COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 Response: Learn how the European Studies Center is working under the current operational posture at ucis.pitt.edu/esc/covid.

Conversations On Europe connects top experts from around the United States and Europe to discuss contemporary issues facing Europe and the Transatlantic relationship. Using both personal and institutional videoconference technology, panelists take questions and interact with audiences at Pitt and at remote sites in the US and Europe. Conversations On Europe is free and open to the public. All sessions will be held from 12-1:30 PM (EST) in Posvar Hall, Room 4217, unless otherwise stated.  A complete library of video resources to enhance transatlantic conversations is also now available.  In addition, you can veiw the full Playlist for Conversations on Europe on the Pitt Global Channel of YouTube. Please note, however, that the supplemental materials are only available by clicking on the topics listed below.

The series is intended to present a broad range of views and opinions about topics relevant to Europe. The views expressed are those of the presenters and cannot be taken to represent the views or opinions of the U.S. Government nor the European Union.

We would appreciate your feedback on these videos and the Conversations on Europe series. Please take our survey.

Back to School at What Cost? Comparing Higher Education Models in the US and Europe

In this installment of the University of Pittsburgh's European Studies Center's monthly virtual roundtables series, a panel of experts reflects upon some of the most significant differences between the US and European models of higher education. In particular, they look at the question of who pays for students to go to University, and how much it costs both the individual and society. The panel participants include: Dr. John Weidman (Professor of Higher and International Development Education, School of Education, University of Pittsburgh), Professor Liudvika Leisyte (Professor of Higher Education, Center for Higher Education at TU Dortmund, Germany), Dr. John Douglass (Senior Research Fellow in Public Policy and Higher Education at the University of California at Berkeley), and Goldie Blumenstyk (Senior Writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education). European Studies Center Director Ron Linden moderates.

Before There Was Ebola: European Responses to Diseases in Africa - Past and Present

U.S. and European news coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa highlighted the urgency of the public health crisis, focusing often on the need to contain the outbreak to prevent its spread to “our shores.” Implicit (and often explicit) in these stories, however, were long-standing xenophobic and racialized attitudes toward African diseases that can be traced back to European imperial and pseudo-scientific ideas of the nineteenth century. This month’s Conversation will ask historians, political scientists, and public health experts to discuss the extent to which contemporary European and U.S. representations of Ebola borrowed from representations of earlier diseases occurring on the African continent and to speculate on the possible implications that such representations had and continue to have on mounting an effective response to an ongoing public health crisis. How much has news coverage contributed to what one political scientist described as the “long and ugly tradition of treating Africa as a dirty, diseased place” and what can be done about it? Participants include Deborah Neill, Associate Professor of History, York University; Mari Webel, Assistant Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh; Guillaume Lachenal, Lecturer, Université Paris Diderot; and Jessica Pearson-Patel, Assistant Professor of International and Area Studies, University of Oklahoma. Audience participation is welcome and encouraged.

Co-sponsored by the University of Illinois' European Union Center (EUC), Center for Global Studies (CGS), Center for African Studies (CAS), Global Health Initiative, and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Global Studies Program

TTIP-Ping Point? The Present and Future of the Transatlantic Trade Agreement

The negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Treaty, formally begun in 2013, have attracted a great deal of attention within the EU, individual member states and in the US. The subject—and the talks—are complex and involve trade and investment in both goods and services across the full spectrum of economic activity of the world’s two most active trading partners. Proponents argue that the treaty will strengthen economic ties and create jobs; domestic producers on both sides of the Atlantic focus on market penetration; and others worry about public access to key decisions. The panel will include Dan Hamilton of Johns Hopkins--SAIS, Elvire Fabry of the Jacques Delors Institute in Paris, Evgeny Postnikov - Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Glasgow, and Dan Beachy of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch in Washington. Panelists will assess where negotiations stand now, how the treaty relates to politics within the US and EU and what the consequences might be for a completion, or failure to achieve, a final treaty.

Whose Pivot Now? Implications of Growing EU-China Ties

In recent months the Chinese have greatly increased their visibility and economic involvement in Europe. China is now the EU’s second leading trading partner and the EU is China’s first. EU leaders are increasingly attentive to Chinese views on a number of issues, including a range of economic and strategic topics. Panelists on this Conversation will explore both the current state of EU-China relations, the implications for Transatlantic ties and future directions of this dynamic relationship. The panel will include: Gemma Marolda, Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at Pitt (and an affiliated faculty member of our Center); Isabel Hilton, Editor at chinadialogue.net and former journalist for The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Guardian, and theNew Yorker; David Scott, former Lecturer at Brunel University London and a frequent speaker at EU Parliament on the EU-China relationship, and at the NATO Defence College in Rome on Indian foreign policy and on Asia-Pacific international relations; and Jing Men, an InBev-Baillet Latour Professor of European Union-China Relations and InBev-Baillet Latour Chair of European Union-China Relations at the College of Europe, Brugges.

Dear Madam High Representative:Tasks for EU Foreign Policy

In our first Conversation on Europe for 2015, panelists will consider the demands on and capabilities of the European Union as a major global actor. Panelists will use a Carnegie Europe “Memo to the European Union Foreign Policy Chief” as a starting point. The panel will include: Sir Michael Leigh of the German Marshall Fund (and former European Commission Director General for Enlargement); Stefan Lehne, Carnegie Europe (and former Director General for political affairs at the Austrian Ministry for European and International Affairs); Ulrich Speck, Carnegie Europe (and Editor of the weekly Global Europe Brief newsletter); Nathalie Tocci, Deputy Director of the Instituto Affari Internazionali (and advisor to EU Foreign Policy Chief, Frederica Mogherini); and Kostas Kourtikakis, political scientist and affiliate of the European Union Center of Excellence at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne

Panelists will be linked to audiences at Pitt and elsewhere and faculty and class participation is welcome.

Displaced: The Refugee Crisis in the Mediterranean Basin

The number of refugees entering the EU and Turkey has risen dramatically as a result of conflicts and crises in North Africa and the Middle East. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHRC) reported that European countries recorded 264,000 asylum applications during the first six months of 2014, an increase of 24 per cent from the same period the year before. With conflict and destabilization in these regions continuing, European policy makers seek solutions that respond to both humanitarian concerns and an increasingly radicalized voting public.

The Scottish Referendum -- Results and Implications

“Should Scotland be an independent country?” On September 18th, 2014 voters in that country had an opportunity to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on that very question. The EUCE at Pitt devotes the first 2014-15 session of its award-winning Conversations on Europe virtual roundtable series to a discussion of the results of the referendum. Participants include Ailsa Henderson (University of Edinburgh), Luke Peterson (University of Pittsburgh), and André Lecours (University of Ottawa).

A Parliament Against Itself? The Far Right in the Upcoming European Parliament Elections

In May, voters in the EU will elect some 751 members of a newly empowered European Parliament. Since the Treaty of Lisbon, the EP has gained “co-decision” rights areas, including agriculture, energy, immigration and EU funds. The EP must approve the budget and most visibly, the EP has gained the right to endorse the member states’ nominee to be President of the European Commission. The EP also must give its approval to the Commission as a whole. But it is the EP’s role as a sounding board of public opinion—on the EU as well as on national governments—that will get the most attention.

The Thorn & The Thistle in Europe's Side? English & Scottish Nationalism and the Future of the EU

In this month’s installment of our Conversations on Europe series, a panel of experts and audiences from EU Centers across the U.S. discuss the upcoming Scottish referendum on independence from Britain scheduled for September of this year and the possibility of a UK referendum on EU membership that could occur as early as 2016. Presenters include John Curtice, (University of Strathclyde), Neill Nugent (Manchester Metropolitan University) and the University of Pittsburgh's Andrew Strathern, Andrew W. Mellon, and Pamela Stewart.

Spy Games Technology & Trust in the Transatlantic Relationship

At a time when U.S.-European cooperation is becoming more formalized in talks to create a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), have the NSA spy scandals dampened European enthusiasm to work closely with American allies? More generally, how have new technologies changed intelligence gathering practices? And to what extent can comprehensive surveillance programs like PRISM be subject to legal limitations on a national or global scale? The discussion will be moderated by EUCE Director and Professor of Political Science, Ronald Linden. Audience participation is encouraged.