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Last modified: Tuesday, January 11, 2011

IU center receives grant from European Commission to promote better understanding of the EU

Jan. 11, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- As a result of a $130,000 grant from the European Commission, an Indiana University research center is embarking on a wide range of outreach activities to help business people, government officials and others in the Midwest better understand the European Union and why it should matter to them.

The European Union Center, part of IU's College of Arts and Sciences, will make good use of many resources already at IU to explain the changing nature of the EU and how its relations with 27 member states are very relevant here.

For example, several Midwest states have seen exports of their products to Europe grow in recent months.

The EU Center is housed in West European Studies and builds on the strengths of other area studies and policy studies programs at IU. Together, these units train future generations of scholars and professionals in advanced, interdisciplinary EU studies and increase awareness of the EU in the broader community.

Funded through the European Commission's "Getting to Know Europe" program, the initiative will cover a range of activities that are designed to reach a wide spectrum of the community.

"Many of these activities are based on projects in which the EU Center has excelled in the past," said Lois R. Wise, director of the European Union Center and Western European Studies and a professor in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

For instance, the center will be executing a series of teacher workshops to be held in Indiana and Ohio. In these workshops, middle and high school teachers will not only learn about how the EU functions, but will also participate in an EU simulation where they will learn about the EU decision-making process by playing the part of the European Commission. In addition, the EU Center will now be able to offer awards to teachers to develop new curriculum on the EU for K-12 classrooms.

For students, the grant will help the center to sponsor teams for the Euro Challenge and the Midwest Model EU, as well as essay and poster competitions for students from middle school through college. These activities will be complemented by current EU Center outreach.

"Another key constituency is the business community and local and state government. Many local leaders are not aware of the importance of the EU to the Midwestern economy, and this grant will help us disseminate information on the EU and Indiana's ties to the EU," added Brant Beyer, project manager at the EU Center.

The EU Center will partner with the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs on many different projects across the grant. Some events will be held in conjunction with The Ohio State University's John Glenn School of Public Affairs so the EU Center can reach a wider audience.

Other activities will include:

  • Working with the Indiana Business Research Center in the Kelley School of Business to produce publications as well as sponsor conferences on topics of interest to Hoosiers.
  • Providing in-depth education on the EU for local leaders through a trip to Europe to meet with European officials.
  • Helping one Indiana community to form a sister city relationship with a European city and for mayors from each town to visit their "new twin."
  • Partnering with IU's National Public Radio station, WFIU, to produce programming for listeners in Indiana and online.
  • Creating an exhibit on the history of the EU, which will then be displayed at international events across the region.
  • Sponsoring a continuing education learning course for the residents of the Bloomington and surrounding area that will be taught by an IU professor.
  • Organizing a celebration of Europe Day (May 9). Since Europe Day falls on the Monday after IU's spring graduation in 2011, the EU Center will be holding "Europe Day Observed" activities in late April to inform the community about the EU as well as highlight IU's ties with the European Union. In addition to activities organized in collaboration with the IU Art Museum, the EU Center will be working with a local school to help spread information about the EU and about Europe Day to local students.

To learn more about these activities and to register for events, visit the EU Center's website at or join the West European Studies listserv at to subscribe for e-mail announcements.