The objective of the Spring University Prague 2020, “European Identity between Unity and Diversity”, is to provide students with a broad understanding of the most significant political and social issues in contemporary Europe.
Instead of relaxing at the “End of History” after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in 1989, Europe is facing new challenges at the beginning of the 21st century. These new challenges – including the economic and financial crisis, aging population, growing separatist/devolutionist tendencies in Scotland, Catalonia and other European regions, complicated relations with Russia and Turkey, terrorist attacks connected with the activities of the Islamic State, and the strong immigration flow – are raising concerns and leading to significant political radicalization and social unrest.
This challenging period raises feelings of uncertainty: How should Europe tackle these challenges? Europe stands at a crossroads. Should it build open structures and intensify the project of European integration? Or is it more likely to break down into local identities and follow regional and national interests?
What will “Europe” mean in the future? How many people from outside can Europe welcome and still be Europe? What are the prospects for future cooperation and negotiations between Europe and its neighbours, and between Europe and other global actors like the USA and China? Are the current populist and separatist sentiments more threatening than those which arose in past decades? Whence come Europe's problems: are they self-inflicted, external, or bubbling up from the member states?
This “Age of Uncertainty” is an ideal time to revise common approaches and look for new perspectives. We will, together, analyze and discuss the current development of Europe in an inspiring environment made up of students coming from countries all over the world.
The course provides an interdisciplinary approach and combines multiple learning methods, such as lectures, workshops, round-table discussions, fieldwork, group-work, and student presentations. Students will not only have the opportunity to explore a range of interesting topics and gain valuable insights into the current challenges and risks to the development of Europe but will also have occasion to improve their research and presentation skills.
Moreover, there will be numerous free-time activities that will provide participants with a chance to enjoy the wide range of attractions that Prague has to offer.