The "Visegrad in the 21st Century" Program: Drs. Giurcanu & Krishnan

Earlier this year the International Visegrad Fund in Bratislava awarded a three-year teaching grant to Dr. Armin Krishnan and Dr. Magda Giurcanu inthe Department of Political Science at East Carolina University. The purpose of the grant was to raise awareness of Visegrad states, which include Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Czechia, by the development and teaching of a new course on the foreign policy challenges and opportunities these states face. The result is a new course, "Visegrad in the 21st Century," (Syllabus is Here) being taught in the fall of 2017.

The course and lecture series are organized by faculty of the Department of Political Science and the Security Studies Program.

"Visegrad in the 21st Century": This course explores the security threats and geostrategic opportunities the Visegrad states faced over the past decades. The course is divided both thematically and chronologically into four parts. We start first understanding how the past shaped the present. We lay thus a strong foundation for today's priorities by exposing ECU students to the main historical events, myths, and symbols that have shaped Visegrad states' foreign policy priorities in the post-cold war era. A brief overview of communist characteristics, diversity, and legacies in the ECE states is also briefly touched upon in the beginning.

The second part ponders upon the Atlanticist and Europeanist perspectives in ECE foreign policy agendas as well as the active involvement of the Visegrad states in the NATO and EU structures. The third part takes stock of the successful Visegrad integration in EU structures and outlines ECE states' solidarity and responsibility towards the post-communist neighborhood. We introduce now the concept of Europeanization of Visegrad's foreign policies, underscoring its influence in two EU foreign policies, the European Eastern Partnership (EaP) and EU Neighborhood Policy (ENP).

In the last part, we introduce Russia as a challenging and challenged neighbor. Issues of mistrust, Russian perceptions of EU enlargements, energy dependence, and containment of the 'Russian bear' are underscored here. We conclude reflecting on the new challenges ahead: a strained EU Russia relationship, an unstoppable aggression in the Eastern part of Ukraine, and a less reliable trans-Atlantic bond.

In addition, the grant will also fund travel by at least six scholars from the Visegrad states to visit ECU, lecture, and engage with students interested in foreign policy issues, interact with students enrolled in the Visegrad course, and give public lectures on relevant topics. These include:

Dr. Adam Eberhardt: Director of the Center for Eastern Studies (OSW), a Polish think tank that undertakes independent research on the political, economic and social situation in Central and Eastern Europe. Graduate of the University of Warsaw. Among the posts he held were: Head of the Research Office of the Polish Institute of International Affairs and chief-correspondent of the Polish Press Agency in Moscow. Member of the Polish-Russian Group for Difficult Matters and the Polish-Ukrainian Partnership Forum.

Dr. Martin Nekola: Martin Nekola is an independent scholar and Research Director at Democracy 2.1 in Prague, Czechia. His research has mostly focused on non-democratic regimes, the era of Communism, and the East-European anti-communist exiles in the United States during the Cold War. The focus of his most recent research has followed the stories of political refugees from Eastern Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War and their migration to various parts of the globe, including the Dominican Republic.

Upcoming Events

  • Dr. Adam Eberhardt from Poland will visit ECU on Nov 13-14; He will deliver a public lecture on November 13, 2017 from 6-7:30pm, venue TBA
  • Dr. Martin Nekola from Czechia will visit ECU on Nov 14-15; He will deliver a public lecture on Nov 14, 2017, from 3.00-4.00 pm, venue TBA
  • The Visegrad in the 21st Century Symposium, organized on Nov 13-14, with lectures by Dr. Eberhardt and Dr. Nekola and student presentations on November 14, 2017 from 3pm to 6pm, venue TBA
Recordings of lectures will be available after the events.

About Us

  • Dr. Armin Krishnan is an Assistant Professor in Security Studies and the Director of the Security Studies Program. He is a specialist in military ethics and emergent technologies, intelligence, and the privatization of war.
  • Dr. Magda Giurcanu is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Comparative Politics with a specialization in Eastern European countries. Her research interests include public opinion, parties and elections, social Media, and post-communist legacies.

Dept. of Political Science, Brewster A-124, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858-4353
Phone (252) 328-6189
Fax (252) 328-4134
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