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Consuls from Greece, Poland to address ISU European Studies Symposium

image of old map of Europe

Illinois State University will welcome diplomats from Greece and Poland at its first-ever European Studies Symposium, which will run April 2 to 3, and April 16 to 17.

Presentations over the four-day event will take place across campus, and will welcome experts who will speak on a range of topics facing Europe – from multiculturalism and religion to economics, arts and history of the region. A full list of speakers is available on the European Studies Symposium website.

“The presentations address the significance of Europe, its past and present, its parts and the whole,” said Illinois State Professor of German James van der Laan, one of the organizers of the Symposium along with Department of History Chair Anthony Crubaugh and Professor of German Andrew Weeks. “The speakers define the academic foundations and reflect the disciplinary range of European Studies.”

The symposium will lay the foundation for a possible European Studies Program at Illinois State. “We already have support from disciplines across campus,” said van der Laan. “There is such great diversity across Europe from Croatia to Ireland, and Finland to Spain, that an interdisciplinary approach to study is necessary to comprehend the region.”

Van der Laan, Weeks and Crubaugh found financial support for the symposium in grants from the European Union and the University of Illinois European Union Center. Matching support came from Illinois State across campus, including the Office of the President; the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences; the Office of International Studies and Programs; and the Departments of Economics; History; Politics and Government; Sociology and Anthropology; and Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

At the symposium, the Chicago Consul General of the Republic of Poland Paulina Kapuścińska will appear on Friday, April 3. She will speak briefly as part of the morning session that runs from 9:15 a.m. until noon in the State Farm Hall of Business.

Beginning her professional career as a journalist, Kapuścińska later joined the ranks of public administration advising the Polish Prime Minister on media affairs. She worked with the Foreign Ministry’s Department of the European Union and Accession Negotiations before being assigned to the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, where she was later appointed consul general. In 2012, Kapuścińska was appointed Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago.

On Friday, April 17, Consul General of the Hellenic Republic (Greece) in Chicago Ioanna Efthymiadou will speak at the afternoon session that runs from 1:15 to 4 p.m. in the State Farm Hall of Business. Before being appointed consul general, Efthymiadou served in Greek embassies in Serbia and Germany. She has had an active career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Greece, serving as chief of staff of the Secretary-General for International Economic Relations and Development Cooperation, and leading the Economic Affairs Directorate in Hellenic Aid.

Wrapping up the session on Friday, April 17, will be writer Steven Hill of the New American Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute. Hill is a political writer, lecturer and researcher whose articles, opinion pieces and media interviews have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, NPR, C-SPAN, Fox News, Democracy Now, PBS, Guardian, The Nation and more.

More information on the symposium is available at the European Studies Symposium website.