Feature story image, Rila Monastery in Bulgaria

Fall 2015 — Oregon State University graduate students representing multiple disciplines attended the 13th Transatlantic Students Symposium, titled “Transatlantic (Mis)Understandings of European Integration,” in Germany and Bulgaria this past spring. Recent developments within the European Union, such as its relationship with Ukraine and immigration issues, were explored as well as issues of distrust between the United States and the E.U.

“The idea of crisis has been very prevalent in both Europe and North America in recent years. A conjunction of economic, social, political, cultural and diplomatic challenges has seemingly left both continents with a sense of having to reconcile their respective identities,” organizers wrote in the conference report. “Despite a growing awareness of the need for greater E.U.-U.S. economic cooperation in the face of global challenges, there is a growing sense of divergent interests and a level of distrust between the transatlantic partners.”

In addition to OSU students, Humboldt-University Berlin and University of Warsaw students participated in the weeklong symposium and presented their research papers at the concluding two-day conference. Papers explored a variety of topics including internationalization on E.U. and U.S. college campuses, aid to Africa, economic sanctions, CIA prisons in Poland and mental health following the 2008 financial crisis.

The student-run symposium included field trips throughout Bulgaria and Germany. In Bulgaria, students explored Plovdiv’s Greco-Roman heritage, the Rila Monastery and the National Historical Museum in Sofia. Students visited cultural and political institutions tied to European identity and history in Berlin, Germany, including the Topography of Terror. They also met representatives from German parliament and visited the Bundestag, a federal legislative body.

Students who participate in the symposium enroll in the Transatlantic Students Symposium course, which offers a space to receive feedback on their research presentations and prepares students for the spring break conference. The course is taught by Philipp Kneis, the assistant director of the political science graduate program, and Director of Diversity and Cultural Engagement Allison Davis-White Eyes.

The next symposium, titled “The Politics and Culture of Resilience: Adapting to a Changing Environment,” will take place in California and Oregon in March 2016. For information on the symposium visit the Master of Public Policy site or email philipp.kneis@oregonstate.edu. Or discover past symposiums and research papers hereGlobal Story