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Visegrad Chair at MIREES

The Visegrad Chair at the University of Bologna

 

 Given the long tradition of cooperation between the University of Bologna and Central Europe, reinforced in the last decade by an intensive students‘ exchange through the Erasmus program, the School of Political Sciences and the Department of Social and Political Sciences have established a Visegrad Chair within the international Mirees programme at the Forlì Campus. The focus of the chair is on international relations and particularly on East-Central Europe. The Visegrad chiar is structured in two modules and one seminar which have been designed to give students an opportunity to investigate Central Europe and learn about its contribution to dynamics that mark the processes of post-socialist transition and European integration. This knowledge is still lacking among students in Italy as it is inadequately developed in the academic teaching programs of our country. It thus needs to be reinforced through cooperation involving Central European institutions as partners.

By promoting the Visegrad Chair, the University of Bologna aims to make a new generation of potential diplomats, analysts, journalists, entrepreneurs, social workers who are aware of the centrality of the Visegrad cooperation in the European network of identities. Inspired by seminal passages on the relevance of Central Europe in the famous essay of Milan Kundera published in 1984 and by the intellectual contribution in the fields of politics, culture, social changes and history of this area of Europe, the courses of the Visegrad Chair in Forlì represent a unique opportunity in the Italian educational landscape to acquire an in-depth understanding both of the Visegrad 4 and the European reality as a whole.

MIREES

Course title: The Visegrad Group in Post-Socialist Regional Geopolitics
Course offered in the framework of the Visegrad Chair at the University of Bologna

Module 1: Macro-Regional Cooperation in Central Europe and the Danube-Balkan Basin (14-23March, 6-8 June 2016)

Prof. Lászlo Nyusztay

The objective of the module is to offer complex, descriptive and analytical knowledge about the historical conditions under which the new democracies of East-Central Europe (ECE) have been adjusting to the global world order in the first two decades after the change of regimes, while developing their new foreign policies. Due attention will be devoted to the inter-relation between historical heritage, geo-political and socio-economic endowments of ECE region, on the one hand, and the new options of foreign policies, on the other. The new attitudes and roles of ECE countries in international institutions as UN, OECD, WTO, IMF/IBRD, EU and NATO will also be highlighted. Beside the effects of the global environment, the course will focus on the Visegrad Cooperation (Visegrad Group, Visegrad Four, V4). Historical circumstances, socio-economic and cultural factors of regional cohesion between the founding countries will be highlighted along with changes of external environment effecting the origins and development of the cooperation. The lectures will offer a detailed description and analysis of the more than two-decade long history of the Group, covering the achievements and challenges alike with special regard to the role of „Visegrad diplomacy” in the process of the member countries’ Euro-Atlantic integration, their adjustment and collective representation of interest within EU structures and also the development of „Visegrad +” formats. Due attention will be paid to the evaluation of security, energy and other areas of sectoral cooperation as well as to the first decade of International Visegrad Fund, and its impact on the member states’ cultural development.

 Module 2: Identity-Dialog-Trust: the Culture of Coexistence in East-Central Europe (23 May - 3 June 2016)

Prof. Krzysztof Czyżewski

The Berlin Wall was brought down, borders were opened, Internet popularised, the majority of people now live in multicultural metropolises. And yet walls remain a familiar experience to modern Europeans. The module investigates the extent to which there still are walls running along national borders, standing in the midst of society, on the same river bank, and dividing cultural identities. The problem of modern Europe, which increasingly resembles an archipelago of separate cultures, is not the presence of diversity and differences, but that which Czesław Miłosz called “connective tissue”. For to cope with this challenge, the development of a culture of coexistence which will bridge identity with dialogue and trust, and transform the Alien into the Other is increasingly becoming a challenge of our time. Hence, an opportunity is born for the members of our communities, who speak different languages and have various faiths and cultures, to become one of Us. With these aims in mind, the module investigates how to bridge identity with dialogue and trust in post-war, post-Soviet and post-modern societies of East-Central Europe. Furthermore, the module explores how the multicultural heritage of East-Central Europe countries, and particularly of the Visegrad Group, so rich and complex, can contribute to the European discourse and policy on integration and community building. What kind of philosophical and ethical approach does the culture of coexistence demand? How to transmit the philosophy of dialogue into praxis of inter-human relationships? The intellectual contribution of the Visegrad 4 in this regard is analytically presented and discussed.

 In-depth seminar:

Prof. Sonia Lucarelli

 The Seminar is aimed to connect the topics analyzed during the two modules with an in-depth approach able to include the role of the Višegrad 4 policies in the broader framework of security (NATO) and EU integration processes with its external strategies of Eastern Partnership and New Neighborhood. The seminar will stimulate students to develop an advanced knowledge of the Central European approaches to security issues within the Euro-Atlantic institutions, with an interdisciplinary methodology able to focus on the intersections of the political, military, intercultural mindset and historical experience of the Višegrad Group that have suggested their multilateral cooperation in these regards. In this sense, the aspects discussed during the first module, and related to the macro-regional cooperation as above described, will be analytically connected to the construction of a culture of coexistence based on the narrative of the second module and its potential impact on a broader context as that of the new neighborhood policies and the Eastern Partnership. In this sense, the contribution to dialogue and trust of the Višegrad 4 will be considered in relation to the EU origins and the French-German reconciliation as a crucial legacy for further integrations within the EU.

The Visegrad countries in European security

The seminar will stimulate students to develop an advanced knowledge of the Central European approaches to security issues within the Euro-Atlantic institutions, with an interdisciplinary methodology.

The seminar consists of a series of lectures by experts, coordinated by prof. Lucarelli.

 The Visegrad Countries in International Politics

 Series of seminars coordinated by Prof. Sonia Lucarelli

 1.     EU migration policy and the Visegrad 4 – Dr. Michela Ceccorulli (University of Bologna)

2.      The transformation of the European security architecture and the Visegrad 4 - Prof. Sonia Lucarelli (University of Bologna)

3.     Russia and the Visegrad 4 – Prof. Alexandre Izotov (St Petersburg State University)

4.     Slovakia in the context of geopolitical changes and their impact on the current foreign policy priorities of the country - Prof. Peter Terem (University of Matej Bel, Banska Bystrica)

 

The seminars are funded by Visegrad Fund.