Jean Monnet Seminar

The Jean Monnet Seminar, 2002

The Futures of Europe: Ideas, Ideals and Those Who Make Them Happen An Occasional Lecture Series

A seminar series held at NYU School of Law under the auspices of the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law and Justice and the Center for European Studies at New York University


J.H.H. Weiler European Union Jean Monnet Professor
NYU School of Law
Renee Haferkamp Emile Noel Senior Fellow
NYU School of Law
Martin Schain Professor of Politics
Director, European Union Center at NYU

The progress of Europe, social scientists tell us, is a function of the clash of interests among States, governments, multinationals and other corporate entities, of institutional balances and constitutional constraints, of the complex discourse of statecraft. It is, surely, all of the above. But the progress of Europe has also been the function of ideas and visions and of those who had the ideas, created the visions and had the fortitude to insert these into the mélange of statecraft.

Until recently the Agenda of Europe was in large part internally determined, with looming Enlargement, the proposed Convention and the projected 2004 IGC constituting the context of the current Grand Débat. September 11th gives a new sharp edge to all these discussion with both the world and Europe facing altogether new challenges.

This Series, held under the auspices of the Center for European Studies at NYU University and the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law and Justice at NYU School of Law, aims to discuss the alternative futures of Europe by engaging with the world of ideas, ideals and with the persons who in the past and present have been in charge of translating them into practice.

Ultimately the purpose of the series is intellectual. The visions of Europe have always been rooted in, and stemmed from, a deep intellectual terrain, but the format and method will break with traditional academic conventions.

Most invitees will not be from the world of academia but from the world of praxis: the past and present custodians of the European idea and the ideals of Europe. Normally, in such encounters between academia and the world of politics, politicians like to tell us in the supposed Ivory Tower which we inhabit, "how the real world works." We academics like to impress politicians with the insights that come from our purported vita contemplativa.

In the Series we will reverse this convention: It is the vita contemplativa of the political actors that will be of interest, their world view, their ideas for the future of Europe and the challenges it faces as well as the roots of their personal engagement with Europe and their assessment of its successes and failings.

The format of the Series will also break somewhat with tradition. We will not invite a formal or even informal presentation from the invitees. Instead, at each meeting, guests will engage in a free conversation with Joseph Weiler and his co-conveners, in an extensive public interview with the purpose to probe, articulate, and critically flesh out the vision, ideas and perception of Europe and its future whilst getting at the same time a closer look at the minds and persons behind the ideas. Individual meetings of the Series are meant to become an important part of the ongoing "Grand Débat" on the future of Europe (it is envisaged that some session of the Series will be televised by C-Span and made accessible through a live Internet link). The cumulative outcome is intended to make a permanent contribution to the intellectual history of European Integration. An edited version of the entire Series with a chapter given to each invitee will be published by a university press (e.g. Oxford University Press or Cambridge University Press.)

Jean Monnet Seminar
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Last updated on September 9th, 2004