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In August 2018, the European Union Center at the University of Illinois was awarded its second Jean Monnet Center of Excellence grant under the Erasmus+ program of the European Commission, for the years 2018-2021. The project supported by this grant, Re-imagining Identities and Institutions for a Stronger Europe (RIISE), sought to place into conversation two complementary interdisciplinary research and teaching programs to advance transatlantic dialogue on current manifestations of populism, a significant threat to goals of European unity. RIISE conceptualized populism as a product arising from tensions between the dynamic evolution of institutions and identities. More details about the project can be found in the press release.

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Virtual Library Exhibit on Gender and Populism in Europe
Gender and populism library exhibit

The European Union Center, in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Library, organized a physical and virtual book exhibit on gender and populism. The exhibit featured 32 books representing six themes (History of Populism; European Populism; Gender and Populism in Europe; Populism and the Charismatic Leader; Gender, Nationalism, and Populism; and Country and Regional Perspectives) and were accompanied by scholarly essays. 

Co-sponsored JMintheUS Network Events

In 2020-21, the European Union Center at the University of Illinois participated in the Jean Monnet in the U.S.A. Series (#JMintheUS), an initiative of several EU-funded universities across the United States. The shift to virtual events had made new kinds of collaborations possible. Co-sponsors of the #JMintheUS initiative were better able to share programming related to the European Union and European Union studies, increasing access to more communities throughout the country. Below are examples of #JMintheUS events co-sponsored by the EU Center in 2020-21:

  • Crisis Signaling: How Italy's Coronavirus Lockdown Affected Incumbent Support in other European Countries
  • An Update on EU-Iran Relations
  • Brexit Update with Anand Menon
  • Europe's Green Recovery with Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission
  • The EU Economy and the Pandemic: Short-term Pain and Long-term Gain?

Visit the 2015-2018 grant page to learn about the EUC’s work with this program in the past. Please direct any questions about this project to Associate Director Jonathan Larson at

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