Students are still dedicated to the "European Idea"
by Elizabeth Willoughby
Stimulating dialogue and fostering exchange in the field of European Studies is the primary goal of the Europaeum, a network of leading European Universities. Four of the six recipients of the Europeaeum's latest Jenkins Scholarships are linked to LMU, Germany's only university in the association.
The Jenkins Scholarship, set up in 2003 at Oxford University, works in cooperation with Europaeum's group of 11 leading European universities. In addition to Oxford and LMU, it includes Paris, Barcelona and Prague universities, supporting academic and cultural exchange in the Humanities and Social Sciences with an aim to 'bridge Europe'.
Through the scholarship scheme, Oxford students are sent to other EU partner universities to further study, and students from the consortium are brought in to the University of Oxford. Established in memory of Lord Roy Jenkins, a British statesman, Chancellor of Oxford University, and President of the European Commission in the late 70s, students are enabled to carry out collaborative investigations on European topics in cooperation with member institutions.
Of the six most recent recipients of the scholarship, two are LMU students accepted at Oxford, and two are Oxford students accepted at LMU.
"LMU Munich joined the Europaeum in 2015," said Dr Paul Flather, Secretary-General of the Europaeum, "and we have never had one institution in our twelve years so dominate our selections, let alone so soon after joining. It is a clear testimony to the abilities of the LMU applicants that they were able to outshine the many applicants from our eleven university members."
The European Idea
Tilman Graff is one LMU student to which the Secretary-General was referring, and in the shadow of the UK's vote to leave the EU, his two years at Oxford that began last September feel particularly poignant.
"In a period of deep uncertainty about the European identity of the United Kingdom, here's an association so earnestly dedicated to Britain's place within Europe," says Tilman. "After having followed how the Brexit vote ultimately came down to a decision about the topic of European immigration to the United Kingdom, it was very reassuring to get to know people who are not yet ready to forgo the 'European Idea' and who still believe in the role inter-European academic exchange can play going forward, especially in a place like Oxford. I am very happy to be affiliated with this truly European organization."
Fourth year PhD Dylan James is another of the scholarship recipients. Now in Berlin to improve his German language skills, he will finish his thesis on ancient Greek historiography (the writing of history) at LMU in Munich, chosen because of LMU's excellent reputation in Classical Philology.
"The opportunity to study in Germany that this scholarship has provided," says Dylan, "allows me to experience a different academic culture and to foster a broader international network of academic contacts. This can only have positive results for my career."
Good match for Europaeum mission
Ryan Crimmins, now in Munich with his wife and baby daughter, is the other Oxford student accepted for the Jenkins Scholarship to LMU. He couldn't be more pleased to be doing the second year of his PhD at this university in particular.
Touched by the warm welcoming of new friends, Ryan is also impressed with LMU students' academic seriousness and engagement in their disciplines, which provides an atmosphere for easy, interesting conversations, and daily opportunities to speak about one's own research and to learn about others'. He also finds LMU ideally suited to Europaeum's mission statement.
"Doctoral research in the Humanities is often rather solitary," Ryan says, "so it is very much a boost to be supported by such a distinguished institution. In addition to Munich's excellent archival holdings, the stimulating atmosphere at the Historicum provides a community of fellow historians, which makes an indispensable contribution to both one's research and ones development as a scholar."
Originally published at insightLMU, March 2017
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