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February

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JMU students meet with European Parliament leader

EUPS students with parliament president
EUPS students with European Parliament president Martin Schulz (far right)

Eleven students in James Madison University’s European Union Policy Studies program got some face time earlier this month with Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament.

Schulz was chairing a committee meeting on Feb. 5 during the students’ annual trip to Strasbourg, France, to meet with members of parliament as well as EP staff, representatives of the City of Strasbourg, and personnel from the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights.

During the committee meeting, the president formally acknowledged the JMU students, welcoming them as a sign of the importance of the trans-Atlantic relationship and of the need for the U.S. and Europe to work together to face the complexities of a globalized world. President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit European Union institutions next month.

After the meeting, the students met privately with Schulz. “He was curious to hear what they were studying, where they were living. He said he envied them very much for living in Florence,” said Caterina Paolucci, academic coordinator of the EUPS program.

Schulz addressed the group in both Italian and English and even spoke with one student, Jessica Dabrowski, in Polish, sharing some funny family anecdotes.

The meeting was arranged by Alexandre Stutzmann, Schulz’s chief diplomatic advisor and the EUPS program’s practitioner-in-residence. Stutzmann travels to Florence several times a year to lead student seminars on policymaking and policy analysis.

The EUPS program, which leads to a master of arts in political science from JMU, also involves a pair of trips to Brussels, the seat of EU power, in the fall and spring.

“It's very important to complement in-the-classroom with out-of-classroom experiences,” said program director and associate professor of political science Dr. John Scherpereel, “and to work with policy professionals, bureaucrats, diplomats, academics and politicians from both sides of the Atlantic.”   

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 Feb. 21, 2014