University of Pittsburgh
July 14, 2005

Pitt's European Union Center Receives Dual Honors From European Commission

Director of Pitt's European Union Center designated Jean Monnet Chair ad personam; center renamed/designated European Union Center of Excellence
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh's European Union Center (EUC) and its director were both recently honored by the European Commission. Director Alberta Sbragia was named Jean Monnet Chair ad personam, and the center was designated a European Union Center of Excellence (EUCE).

Sbragia, a Pitt professor of political science and director of the Center for West European Studies (CWES), of which EUC is a part, was one of only two academics to be named Jean Monnet Chair ad personam this year. The new chairs join a group of seven elite American academicians whose careers exemplify excellence in teaching and research related to the European Union. According to the European Commission, "The title Jean Monnet Chair ad personam is reserved for professors showing evidence of a high level European commitment that is recognized by the academic world, at both national and international levels."

"The University is strongly committed to scholarship and expertise in international studies," noted Pitt Provost James V. Maher. "Alberta Sbragia's achievements and those of the EUC enhance the University's reputation and make us all proud of our commitment to this key area of scholarship."

Pitt's EUC-one of the original 10 European Union (EU) centers in the United States established seven years ago by a grant from the European Commission-has been notified that its European Commission funding has been extended through the 2007-2008 academic year and that, effective Sept. 1, it will be known as an EUCE.

Sbragia's Jean Monnet Chair appointment, which will begin in September and continues through the 2007-2008 academic year, is accompanied by an annual grant of approximately 15,000 Euros that will be used to expand EUC programs and add important documents to the University Library System's Archive of European Integration (AEI). The AEI is a uniquely important tool for students and researchers from Pitt and throughout the world via the Web.

"Pitt's successful bid to renew its European Union Center is all the more remarkable since the number of funded centers has dropped from 15 to 10. It is testimony to the extraordinary leadership of Alberta Sbragia that our EUC was re-funded in such a competitive environment," said William Brustein, senior executive director of Pitt's University Center for International Studies and a professor of sociology, political science,

and history. "The strength of our European Union studies program would not be what it is without Alberta's international reputation as a scholar, and so I am doubly pleased that the European Commission has awarded her the Jean Monnet Chair ad personam."

The EUCE designation includes a grant of nearly 100,000 Euros annually that will support expanded activities of the EUC, including annual policy conferences, undergraduate- and high school-level Model European Union simulations, curriculum development, distinguished academic and practitioner visits, and collaborations with other EUCE, in the United States.

The grant also will strengthen the EUC's research agenda for faculty and students, as well as its outreach links to the University's professional schools and departments within the School of Arts and Sciences and external EU and U.S. institutions.