In 2013, the European Union awarded the University of Illinois’ European Union Center the prestigious Jean Monnet Module grant for course development. The €21,000 (approx. $28,000) funds a new project for three years hosted by the European Union Center entitled, “Eastern Europe & EU Integration.”

In a global competition, the EUC at the University of Illinois was only one of four US institutions to receive a Jean Monnet grant from the European Commission, and the only domestic university to garner a European Module award. The Jean Monnet program is part of the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Programme and aims to stimulate teaching, research, and reflection on European integration in higher education institutions worldwide.

The project features a new, team-taught course aimed at advanced undergraduate and graduate students, which will present Western and Eastern Europe as interdependent, multicultural, and multinational spaces historically linked through cultural, political, and migratory networks. The project is intended to reach an audience beyond the bounds of UI, as well, hosting lectures by academic experts and policy officials and workshops for regional educators. In addition, a public website featuring webcasts of lectures and course material will be a resource accessible globally.

The project is coordinated with in-kind support from the EU Center by Anna Westerståhl Stenport (EU Center Director and Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures) and Matt Rosenstein (EU Center Associate Director), and is to be carried out by a diverse team of faculty. Zsuzsa Gille, Associate Professor of Sociology, specializes in transnational sociology with a focus on the European Union and postsocialist countries of Eastern Europe. Carol Leff, Associate Professor of Political Science, is an expert on government and policy in Eastern Europe during the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. David Cooper, Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature, and Director of the Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Center, will lend his expertise in Czech culture and history. George Gasyna, Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and in the Program in Comparative and World Literature, will bring knowledge of Polish culture, history, and immigration to the project.