In the academic year 2011/2012, the Centre for European and Transition Studies at the University of Latvia (UL) is to establish the Centre of Excellence as part of the EU’s Jean Monnet Programme. The Centre was inaugurated on September 26, 2011 at the International Conference “European Integration and Baltic Sea Region: Diversity and Perspectives”. The Jean Monnet Programme forms part of the EU’s Lifelong Learning Programme (2007-2013).

“The Centre aims to strengthen interdisciplinary research and European Studies in Latvia by a cooperation network with institutions involved in European integration and EU external relations with focus on the Eastern Partnership. The Centre serves as a collaborative platform for experts of European integration and European Eastern Partnership,” said Professor Tatjana Muravska, Director of the Centre of Excellence.

The Centre is planning to provide a Jean Monnet Regional Forum, where local and international experts in Social Sciences, politicians, entrepreneurs, young scientists and students will be invited and participate in roundtable discussions, seminars, conferences in Latvia and abroad. Furthermore, the forum will facilitate the development of a new curriculum in European Studies and maintain access to online libraries with resources on European integration and EU external relations, as well as publish reports of research results, discussions and activities within the Centre in scientific collections and informative reports.

The Centre is a logical step forward in UL continued commitment to academic development within the Jean Monnet Programme. Until now in the framework of the Programme, European Modules and the Jean Monnet Chair were launched in Latvia providing students with high-quality and up-to-date education in the field of European Studies and competitive graduate training for academic, public, private and non-governmental organizations specializing in EU matters. The UL Centre will promote the development of Latvian research environment and its full integration into European-level research. The Centre will increase the number of new specialists in the field of European integration and European Eastern Partnership.

The Centre will be run by well-known Latvian researchers and experts - Professor Tatjana Muravska, Director of the Centre of Excellence; Professor Juris Krumins, Vice-rector for Academic Affairs; UL Professor Zaneta Ozolina; Associate Professor Liesma Ose, Higher School of Management and Social Work “Attistiba”; Nils Muiznieks, Director of the Advanced Social and Political Research Institute at the University of Latvia; UL Associate Professor Kristine Dupate; UL Assistant Professor Toms Rostoks; UL Professor Daina Bara; UL lecturer and expert in EU matters Juris Gromovs and other scholars in the relevant field from different Latvian universities.

The UL application for the EU’s Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence project is supported by the ERAF project “Support for international cooperation projects for the University of Latvia and other activities in the field of sciences and technologies”, project number: 2DP/
Translated by students of the professional study programme Translator of the University of Latvia.