Ramapo Selected to Assist American Public in ‘Understanding New Europe’

Ramapo College was selected as one of 20 flagship institutions for "A Network of Understanding New Europe," a joint program offered by New York University and the European Union, according to a press release.

The program's mission is to help the American public become familiar with political, economic, cultural and environmental issues related to the contemporary situation in Europe.

College will become a regional partner for the program, which is designed to promote greater knowledge of Europe in the New York metro area and in other strategically chosen areas throughout the country," according to the press release. "It is organized around three themes-immigration, politics and economics in the European Union."

The proposal was prepared and submitted by Samuel Rosenberg, dean of the School for Social Sciences and Human Services in collaboration with faculty from the Salameno School of Humanities and Global Studies.

"For a small or medium-sized liberal arts college to put this kind of a program, sponsored by the European Commission, gives the college a great reputation," said Rosenberg. "It makes us look like a good, serious institution."

Rosenberg added that in addition to helping the College's reputation, the program will also be beneficial to students, who will be exposed to international renowned scholars and gain insight from this exposure.

The College hosted a major conference on Monday, April 14, which discussed issues regarding Muslim migration in Europe. It featured Jonathan Lawrence, an associate professor of political science at Boston College.

In his speech, Lawrence said that issues related to Muslim migration should not be handled with an American perspective, but rather use solutions specific to the area.

"The best way to approach the question of how a new large religious minority gets integrated over time in this European context is actually something that is best addressed with European solutions, if you like, from Europe's rich own history of digesting its own religious diversity," said Lawrence.

The program was followed by a question and answer session with a panel of Ramapo faculty members, including Henry Lustiger-Thaler, Erin Augis, Hassan Nejad and Behzad Yaghmaian. They were joined by Martin Schain, a professor from New York University.

"The keynote speaker told me that he was very impressed with the students at Ramapo because of the questions they asked," said Rosenberg.  

In addition to the conference, Ramapo's proposal included two smaller events called Café Euro. There, students had the opportunity to discuss topics pertaining to the European Union in a "very informal way, but very seriously," said Rosenberg.

The dean received feedback from the organizers, who concluded that because of these events, Ramapo had "one of the best" programs among the flagship institution.

The next Café Euro will be held on April 24 at 12:30 p.m. in the H-wing Auditorium. It will include Ramapo faculty, who will discuss sustainability issues in the European Union and how other countries can learn from its approach.