Newsletter February 2003

 

 

Educational Partnership in Prague

 

By a happy and recent turn of fate, a delightful educational partnership designed to enhance the principle of federalism lies in the offing. The Association to Unite the Democracies and the Anglo-American College of Prague (AAILS) are working together to build a series of educational programs. All of them will be aimed at promoting federalism amongst the nations of Europe and amongst students and future world leaders.

Over the past few years the European Union has been inching toward a very large expansion.

 

This past fall the Irish people, reversing themselves, voted to allow ten new nations to join the EU. In December leaders of the EU met in Copenhagen and approved the various agreements providing for admission of the ten new countries into the union.

The ten candidate countries for membership in the European Union are Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the former "Baltic states" of the Soviet Union; Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, the "Visegrad countries; Slovenia, in former Yugoslavia; Malta and Cyprus. Each candidate country must hold a referendum sometime over the coming six months or so. Assuming that the citizenry of a candidate state approves, admission into the European Union is set to occur in the spring of 2004. Admission should occur prior to the elections for the new European Parliament in 2004.

 

1. It has been observed by scholars and others that leaders and potential leaders of the new EU countries -- especially those in ex-Communist Central and Eastern Europe -- are somewhat weak in their understanding of party platforms. This is an important element of stable democracies. Leaders need to know about the concept of a party platform, the methods for building such a platform, the necessity of running for office on that party platform, and the ways of delivering on the platform once in power. Therefore, AUD and AAC would like to begin our series of programs with a two-day workshop, to be held in Prague during late September, on these topics. We plan to invite perhaps 50 to 60 European Parliament candidates or potential candidates from the new EU countries. Our first task: to build a website with information on the issue and on the conference.

 

2. Next, we want to be able to influence the new, bigger democratic Europe as it moves to adopt a new Constitution of Europe. Giscard d'Estaing has been working on such a constitution this year. To AUD a most important aspect of this constitution would be the incorporation of federalist principles in the document. What principles? In what way? To what extent should state sovereignty be compromised? Therefore, we would like to follow our party platform workshop with a conference in which the federalist aspects of constitution building for the new Europe will be emphasized. Our goal is to hold such a conference in the late spring of next year.

 

3. Third, we would like to co-sponsor a series of lectures on the Community of Democracies by a founding mother of the movement, Hon. Madeleine Albright, the former U.S. Secretary of State. Dr. Albright has indicated her willingness to lecture at the college in the near future. We believe that this lecture series would encourage the movement of Europeans and others toward democracy and federalism as viable options.

 

4. We are investigating the possibility of opening a European office for AUD in Prague. Bob Frantz and Bob Maddex have already visited and we look forward to further discussion of this option, its strengths and weaknesses, the opportunities it offers to AUD and the risks which might be entailed. At this stage information gathering is in order. Therefore, on behalf of AUD, officials of our college have been meeting with the Embassy of the Knights of Malta to consider a setting in the beautiful Maltese Square section of Mala Strana, across from the Embassy of France and just alongside the Lennon Wall.

 

5. Finally, the two institutions hope to partner, with others, in the building of a master's degree program in federalism. Students could come to this program from around the world. The cause of federalism and unity among stable democracies could be advanced significantly through new offering.

 

It looks like bright times ahead for AUD's presence in Europe!

 

 

- Joseph Drew*

 

*Dr. Joseph Drew is the President of the Anglo-American College of Prague

 

 

 

The Anglo-American Institute for Liberal Studies (AAILS) is an accredited English-language liberal arts college offering bachelorís degrees in Humanities and Social Sciences, Business Administration, and Legal Studies.

For more information, please contact:

THE ANGLO-AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOR LIBERAL STUDIES

Lazenska 4 / 118 00 Prague 1 / Tel. (4202) 5753-0202 / www.aac.edu