Institut d'Etudes Européennes et Internationales du Luxembourg
The Luxembourg Institute for European and International Studies (LIEIS) was created on 13 July 1990 in the context of a relationship with Harvard University. These ties began in early 1987 when Prime Minister Jacques Santer visited Harvard. A first major academic conference was held in December of the same year on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the Marshall Plan. This was followed a year later by a conference on the Western community and the Gorbachev challenge. Eminent scholars such as John Kenneth Galbraith, Wassily Leontief, Leonid Abalkin and Thomas Schelling attended these meetings. Activities involving students from both Harvard and Luxembourg were launched in parallel: the Harvard Model Congress Europe involving some thirty Harvard undergraduates once a year and, in return, an annual week-long visit by a group of some twenty Luxembourg students to Harvard. In general the events during those first years revolved around the following themes:
- East-West relations after the end of the Cold War (new opportunities and risks; building of democracy and market economy), bringing scholars, experts and civil servants from Central and Eastern Europe together with Western colleagues in Luxembourg.
- Transatlantic relations: rethinking and redefining the relationship at the political, economic, and strategic levels.
- The European integration process, with a focus on the single market, the Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice Treaties, the process of deepening and widening, flexible integration, CFSP, the Schengen process, EMU.
The key project of the first fifteen years and even, if at a lesser pace, subsequently, has been "The Vitality of Nations". Since the first meeting in March 1990 at the Castle of Bourglinster in Luxembourg twenty-five conferences have been organised on this topic. Some 1,200 scholars from across the world have explored and debated the strengths and weaknesses of selected countries and regions. These conferences, of a multidisciplinary and multinational character, which have endeavoured to assess, explain and forecast the vitality of countries, focused on Central Europe, Japan, Britain, the Netherlands, Russia, China, India and Vietnam. There have also been meetings on more specific topics related to vitality, based on manuscripts prepared by scholars such as Charles Kindleberger, William McNeill, Walt Rostow, David Landes, Mancur Olson, Angus Maddison, Christopher Coker, Andrew Kamarck and Paul Streeten. Almost every year there has been a meeting at the Harvard Faculty Club. Sixteen books have been published in the context of those meetings.
Since its inception the Institute has involved students, young researchers and professionals in its endeavours. These people have worked at the Institute as research assistants, or participated in academic conferences and political simulations of the US Congress, Central or Eastern European parliaments along with students and faculty members from those countries as well as from Luxembourg. With a consortium of colleges and universities from the State of New York a number of conferences have also simulated the European institutions. Since 1994 the Institute has organised an annual summer course in Romania in association with the Black Sea University Foundation and the European Cultural Centre of Bucharest, first in Mangalia and more recently in Vama Veche. The Institute offers a platform for students and young researchers from Luxembourg and abroad who are preparing a research work with the support of grants from other institutions. So far, it has offered some 250 internships to students and researchers from Luxembourg and other countries.
From its onset till the end of 1995 the Institute was financed directly by the Luxembourg Government. From January 1996 on it became autonomous, working on the basis of an annual subsidy provided by the Government.
In view of its limited means the Institute tries to concentrate on projects that are not strongly labour and cost-intensive. It has invited scholars from different academic disciplines and countries, both theorists and practitioners, people from the academic as well as from the political, economic, social and cultural spheres of life, looking at the past, the present and the future.
The Institute is striving to publish works which are academically relevant, but also of interest for political and economic decision-makers. It has thus endeavoured to become a forum for global intellectual and academic exchange. For instance, it has set up, with the financial help of the Luxembourg Foreign Ministry, a project involving institutes from Israel, Jordan and Palestine, intended to foster cross-border cooperation between those countries.
The Institute arranged a number of activities focused on small states, specifically Luxembourg and Benelux cooperation.
Together with Robert Mundell, Professor of Economics at Columbia University and 1999 Nobel Laureate in Economics, the Institute has organised a number of conferences on the future of the European integration process. The first in 2006 was located in Schengen. The following conferences in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012 were all hosted at the Palazzo Mundell in Santa Colomba (Siena).
The Institute cooperates with a variety of actors in its field of interest to achieve goals. Most recently it has partnered with the New Policy Forum chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev. It organised conferences in 2011 and 2012 on the implications of the European economic, financial and political crises, and the situation of the Roma. Other current discussions have focused on Russia, the idea of the good life, and the West and the ‘Arab Spring’.
A series of lectures has been organised in 2009 and 2010 on the crisis of the international system with Hans von Sponeck, François Houtart, Johan Galtung, Samir Amin, Immanuel Wallerstein, Christian Arnsperger, and Tariq Ali. In 2012 a series of lectures were held that addressed the crisis of the international system, with Ulrich Brand, and Heiner Flassbeck. Another lecture was given by Georges Als on the crisis of the Luxembourgish socio-economic system.
In 2013 the Institute arranged the conference “Religion, secularism, and the quest for a decent society”, and will present: “Arno Mayer—Critical junctures in modern history”, “Devising a viable future for the area of former Yugoslavia”, “Human nature and the future of the international system”, and “The role of Russia in the global economic system”.