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Glendon Political Science Professor Awarded Jean Monnet Chair in European Integration

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Willem Maas (BA, UBC; Doctoraal, Leiden; MA, MPhil, PhD, Yale) has just been awarded a Jean Monnet Chair, making York only the sixth university in Canada (and seventeenth in all of North America) to hold such a Chair. Maas teaches political science and public & international affairs at York University’s Glendon campus, with joint appointment in York’s graduate programs in Political Science and Social & Political Thought. He is an executive member of the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies, and the Centre for Public Policy and Law, and member of the Centre for Refugee Studies.

Right: Professor Willem Maas

Originally launched in 1990, the Jean Monnet Programme was established in honour of this visionary French entrepreneur, named Secretary General of the League of Nations upon its creation in 1919. At the end of the Second World War, Monnet proclaimed that the only hope for peace in Europe was for the European countries to join in a collaborative community. He is thus regarded by many as the ‘father’ of the European Union.

The Jean Monnet Programme responds to a need for increased reflection and debate on the European Union. It is designed to stimulate excellence in teaching, research and deliberation on European integration in higher education institutions throughout the world. Currently, sixty countries on five continents participate in the Jean Monnet network, reaching 250,000 students every year.

Professor Maas will dedicate his complete teaching time to courses addressing key European integration issues. He will be teaching three political science courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as providing training courses for executive and mid-career civil servants. In addition, he will supervise student research dissertations and be responsible for the academic content of student internships in Europe. Maas will also coordinate a Jean Monnet lecture series at Glendon, as well as a website and a newsletter. The total funds awarded to the Jean Monnet Chair represent approximately $240,000 over the next five years, with the European Commission and York University sharing the costs for the first three years, and York University covering the total costs for years four and five.

Maas is delighted with the opportunity to bring the Jean Monnet Programme to York University’s two campuses. “There is a demand to deepen and broaden our course offerings on European studies”, he says. “The Jean Monnet Chair will give us the opportunity to fill this need in a setting that will serve both undergraduates, as well as graduates and mature students affiliated with the new Glendon School of Public and International Affairs.”

York University’s established bilateral relations with European countries and institutions, and Glendon’s bilingual public affairs mandate and EU relationships make this university an ideal location for this program. “Canadians are receptive to the ideals of the EU”, explains Maas, “but specific integration practices remain misunderstood. Glendon is a strategic site to disseminate information about European affairs, owing to its bilingual public affairs mandate, its location in Canada’s largest metropolis and its numerous alumni pursuing careers in key areas of Canadian public life.”

Maas has an impressive list of research activities and publications. His first book, Creating European Citizens, explains the development of supranational rights culminating in EU citizenship and suggests that integration has always been about much more than economics. He is currently researching theoretical and empirical questions on citizenship, integration policies, the limits of tolerance and multiculturalism, and the intersection of migration and law.

"The Canadian Centre for German and European Studies congratulates Willem Maas on this prestigious award,” says Klaus Rupprecht, director of the Centre. ”We are delighted to have Maas as one of our faculty affiliates and a member of our executive committee. His award will underline and strengthen the European aspect of the Centre's mandate."

“This is an exciting new challenge for me”, adds Maas, “and hopefully a start of comprehensive European studies at Glendon and York.” In awarding the Chair, the European Commission recognized Maas’ proposal as outstanding and instrumental in the success of his application. The official launch of the new Jean Monnet Chair and its website will be held at Glendon in January 2009.

Article submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny


Published on September 19, 2008