IU President McRobbie to strengthen university's historic ties to Italy, Poland

  • May 23, 2016


Editors: An Italian version and a Polish version of this news release are also available.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie will lead an IU delegation to Italy and Poland this week. They will celebrate anniversaries of relationships with key university partners and work to enhance existing relationships and develop new ones in these countries.

Among the key milestones being celebrated are the 50th anniversary of IU’s study abroad program at the University of Bologna in Italy -- Europe’s oldest university -- and the 40th anniversary of its partnership with the University of Warsaw in Poland, where McRobbie will renew IU’s primary academic agreement with this institution.

The itinerary for the May 25 to June 3 trip also includes meetings in Florence with representatives of the Uffizi Gallery Museum, one of the world’s greatest art museums, and a visit to Eli Lilly and Co.’s Italian headquarters. In Poland, McRobbie also will renew IU’s primary agreement with Jagiellonian University, Poland’s oldest university and one of the oldest in the world.

He also will tour the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews with an IU alumnus who directs its core exhibition and meet with top governmental and education leaders.

“The strength of Indiana University’s international engagements is closely linked to the strength of its relationships with some of the best universities all around the world,” McRobbie said. “For decades, we have had strong and prospering relationships with two of Europe’s oldest and most distinguished universities in the University of Bologna and Jagiellonian University, as well as other eminent universities such as the University of Warsaw. Many of our students and faculty have had remarkable opportunities to study and work at these institutions while also absorbing the cultural richness of Europe. Now more than ever, global literacy and experience of this kind is essential to the future of our country.”

IU was among the first U.S. universities to establish a study abroad program at the University of Bologna. Mark Musa, a renowned Dante scholar and IU professor, established the bilateral exchange, which has since been expanded to a consortium of 15 U.S. colleges and universities managed by IU’s Office of Overseas Study. Since the first group in 1965-66, more than 1,600 alumni have completed the immersive Italian program and over 300 University of Bologna students have studied here in the U.S.

During the two-day 50th anniversary celebration of the Bologna Consortial Studies Program, McRobbie will present the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion to University of Bologna Rector Francesco Ubertini. The medallion is given to individuals who have achieved a level of distinction in public office or service and have exemplified the values of IU.

Similarly, at a time of fundamental political and social transformation in Eastern Europe, IU became actively involved with the study of Poland and helped to establish the American Studies Center in Warsaw and the Polish Studies Center at IU Bloomington in 1976. This led to IU establishing academic programs with the University of Warsaw and Jagiellonian University at a time when such formal exchanges between the two countries were rare due to the Cold War.

McRobbie will renew IU’s primary agreement with the University of Warsaw and sign a new agreement to establish the Krzysztof Michałek Memorial Lecture in American Studies. John Bodnar, Distinguished and Chancellor’s Professor of History at IU, will present the inaugural lecture.

University of Warsaw Rector Marcin Palys also will receive the Thomas Hart Benton Medallion for his distinguished contributions to higher education.

In addition to renewing IU’s primary agreement with Jagiellonian University, McRobbie will sign a internship agreement between IU Press and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Krakow.

Joining McRobbie on the trip will be Lee Feinstein, founding dean of the IU School of Global and International Studies and U.S. ambassador to Poland from 2009 to 2012; and David Zaret, IU vice president for international affairs.

The IU Europe Gateway, established in Berlin in October, already is strengthening IU’s engagement in Europe. Also part of the IU delegation will be Andrea Adam Moore, director of the IU Europe Gateway; and Hannah Buxbaum, its academic director and the John E. Schiller Chair in Legal Ethics in the IU Maurer School of Law.

Reports as the trip progresses will be available at a blog site, IU Goes to Italy and Poland, and through official IU social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.

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Mark Land

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