A celebratory UL@50 event to mark 50 years of European Studies took place on Monday 17th April in the University of Limerick. Hosted by Professor Joachim Fischer and Dr. Sorcha de Brún, and organized by a working committee in AHSS and the UL@50 team, the hybrid event saw Alumni, faculty, retired faculty, guests and current students come together in the Millstream Court Room and online in a series of panels and presentations. Followed by Question and Answer sessions, the discussions explored the changing nature of European Studies in the 21st century, and its implications for teaching the subject at third level. Introduced by the Provost, Prof. Shane Kilcommins, Prof. Emerita Brigid Laffan of the European University Institute delivered her keynote speech on ‘The 21st Century Dynamic of European Integration’, where she underlined for the assembled guests the current tensions within Europe and the concept of collective power that the European project embodies. Prof. Mairéad Moriarty, Dr. Angela Farrell, Dr. Sandra Joyce and Prof. Bernadette Andréosso-O’Callaghan respectively chaired and introduced the student, faculty and guest panels. Amongst those in attendance were Mr. Stephen Ryan of the Department of Foreign Affairs; Prof. Emeritus Professor Edward Moxon Browne; and Ms. Jutta Jennings of the German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce, all of whom noted the high calibre of graduates from European Studies and spoke of the continued demand for these graduates in the public and private sector.
The winners of the writing and art competition EUROPA 2073 organized specially for the European Studies event were announced by Prof. Fischer, and students from participating Universities were present at the European Studies event to receive their awards. Judged by novelist Dónal Ryan of the School of English, Irish and Communication, Mr. Dominique Le Meur of the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics, and Dr. Vicky Brady of Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, winning entries were in English and Irish. English language winning entries were announced as Hollie Hannon, University of Galway (1st Prize); Nicholas O’Keefe, Trinity College Dublin (2nd Prize); and Liam McCourt, Dundalk Institute of Technology (3rd Prize). Irish language writing prizes were awarded to Alanagh Ní Chonghaile Ní Ghríofa, University of Galway (1st Prize); Clara Ní Dhonnacha, University of Galway (2nd Prize); and Karin Mason, University of Limerick (3rd Prize). This winning work will shortly be available on the website of the Centre for European Studies at the University of Limerick.
To conclude the day, students Niamh McLoughlin and Sarah Nunan gave a presentation on the ConSIMium simulation exercise in which they partook in Brussels in February 2023, when the Irish Universities Association chose UL to represent Ireland for this simulation exercise. Perhaps the highlight of the event was the students of European Studies themselves. The students did the University of Limerick proud, and spoke in a mature and articulate way about collaboration and creativity, and how both these approaches had empowered the to work in teams and to hone leadership skills. The event concluded with a presentation to Prof. Fischer by Executive Dean, Dr. Sandra Joyce, to thank him for his major contribution to European Studies, both in the University of Limerick and at an international level.
You can listen back to a radio interview with Dr. Sorcha de Brún on ‘Adhmhaidin’ with Máirín Ní Ghadhra on RTE Raidió na Gaeltachta about the UL@50 event. It can be heard here