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12th Annual International Student Conference

12th Annual International Student Conference on US – European Relations

"Enemies, Clients or Partners: EU and US Attitudes
towards the Middle East and North Africa"
April 16 – 18, 2015
Aix-en-Provence, France

The Institute for American Universities, France, in partnership with The Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College, USA, is pleased to announce the 12th Annual International Student Conference on European–U.S. Relations to be held in Aix-en-Provence, France at IAU from 16-18 April, 2015. The conference has been held since 2004, with the co-sponsorship of the European Students' Forum - AEGEE. Its principal aim is to provide students with an accessible, open venue where they can explore the character and future of US–European relations, and evaluate significant differences between the European Union and the United States both structurally, and in relation to important international issues.

The highly topical and controversial general theme for this year's conference has been chosen in order to explore possible connections between the continued threat to peace posed by international terrorism and significant historical changes – economic, political and social – occurring in a region popularly identified as a major source of terrorist activity. The theme of the conference has been deliberately tailored to encourage a search for genuine, longer-term solutions rather than just to engage in recriminations and retaliatory impulses that have tended to dominate the media and political discourse, the effect of which has only exacerbated challenges to world peace. Speakers at the conference have been selected for their expertise as well as for their capacity to present students with an essentially sober and thoughtful interpretation of recent shocking events and an analysis of future dangers. Participants will turn from past counter-productive responses of both US and EU policy-makers toward the deeper causes, and longer-term remedies, perceptible both in the management of international relations generally, and in major economic and political transformation already apparent in the countries of the region concerned.

The proceedings of the conference will be conducted in English. During the opening evening session and for most of the first full day, participating students will hear from academic and professional experts on the general theme, whom they will have an opportunity to question in plenary. Then, over the remainder of the time available, American students will engage directly in reflections on the main issues with their European counterparts, as well as those from elsewhere. They will also be expected to seek solutions together for confronting the challenges of living in today’s world. Conference Fee is 125 euro ($145) and covers meals, lodging and a theatre production.


Pauline Betrancourt received her MA from the Ecole Supérieure d’Art d’Aix-en-Provence and is both a professor and student counselor at IAU. She has taught courses in art as well as courses on culture. As an artist, her work and research exposes current-day worldwide issues. She has taught courses throughout France on the interface of the arts with controversial social and cultural issues.

David Coombes
is both a resident fellow of IAU in Aix-en-Provence and Professor Emeritus of the University of Limerick in Ireland, where he founded the Chair of European Studies in 1982, building on his experience as a pioneer of European Studies as an inter-disciplinary subject in England. He had previously been among the first scholars in the UK to recognise the political significance of the then nascent European Economic Community, and wrote a book about the European Commission that remained a classic (Politics and Bureaucracy in the European Community, 1970). However, Coombes also sustained an earlier academic interest in representative government and public policy and administration, publishing extensively on these themes both as they relate to European integration, and comparatively. Having become increasingly active during the 1990s in consultancy in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe, in 2001 Coombes began to work full-time on the task of institution-building in new states of Central Asia and the West Balkans, mainly as Chief Technical Adviser on Democratic Governance for the UNDP in Kyrgyzstan and later in Serbia and Montenegro. In 2006 he was made an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of Bristol’s Governance Research Centre, and is currently working on a book, designed to draw on his large academic and practical experience both in European integration and in post-communist transition, under the provisional title: Federal Solutions for State Failure.

Christian Eichenmüller has been a youth activist of the European Students' Forum, AEGEE-Europe. He was Project Manager of AEGEE's biggest project 2010/11 called 'Beyond Europe – Perspectives for Tomorrow's World' which connected young people in Europe, India, South Africa, the Middle East and the US in order to empower them to tackle global challenges. In 2013, he received his MA from the University of Mainz. He has previously worked as a Project Coordinator for the Turkey Representation of Heinrich Böll Foundation in Istanbul. He currently works as a Visiting Scholar and Research Assistant at the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College in Pennsylvania.

Aboubakr Jamaï, originally from Morocco, has worked in finance, journalism and academia. A professor of Business and International Relations at IAU, he directs the Francophone version of the news website and in 2014 the Washington, D.C. group Project on Middle East Democracy recognized him with the Leaders for Democracy Award. In 1993, Aboubakr Jamaï co-founded the first independent bank of Morocco, Upline Securities where he worked as an investment advisor for international institutions. In 1997, he co-founded and directed the Moroccan “Le Journal Hebdomadaire” and its Arabic component “Assahifa.” In 2008 and 2009, at the University of San Diego he taught classes in « Political Islam » and « Contemporary Politics of the Middle East.”
His articles have been published in The New York Times, Time Magazine, Le Monde, El Païs and Le Monde Diplomatique. In 2003, he won the International Freedom of the Press Award granted by the “Committee to Protect Journalists.” In 2010, The World Association of Newspapers awarded him the Gebran Tueni prize for his continued fight for freedom of the press in the Arab world. Aboubakr Jamaï has been a member of the Nieman Foundation for journalism affiliated with Harvard University. He holds degrees in finance from Oxford University and Public Management from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Carl Jubran, Ph.D., is President of IAU in Aix-en-Provence, France. He was formerly the Associate Provost for Internationalization at the University of San Diego. Dr. Jubran teaches elementary language and advanced courses in composition, the cultural history of Spain as well as literature courses. His fields of specialization are peninsular literature, Spanish orientalism and Hispano-Arabism, 19th-20th century. Other interests include Latin American poetry, modernismo and gender studies. Dr. Jubran is in charge of internationalization of the curriculum and international study at USD, serves as the executive director of the Guadalajara Summer Program, and is editor of Praesidium: Interdisciplincary Journal of Latin American and Cross Cultural Studies. He holds a BA from the University of San Diego in French and Spanish, an MA in French Literature from New York University, and an MA and PhD in Spanish Literature from the University of California, San Diego.

Sébastien Llorca was born in Saint-Etienne, France, and he completed his Ph.D. at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy with a dissertation entitled “French and German Foreign Policy Making and the Israel-Palestine Conflict (1993-2003)”. Since then he has taught in Avignon, at the Political Studies Institute Otto Suhr, Freie Universität, Berlin and at the Royal Holloway, University of London on subjects such as European Integration and Post-War European history and Racism, Anti-Semitism and the French Republican Ideal.  His research has focused specifically on the role of the European Union in the Middle East Peace Process. Besides teaching political science at IAU, he is also a faculty member at the Law School of Aix-Marseille Université.

Yumna Masarwa received her BA from Ben-Gurion University, Israel, and obtained her MA and PhD from Princeton University in Art & Archaeology, writing her dissertation on 8th-century military architecture in Palestine. She is currently an associate member at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) working on interdisciplinary studies of archaeology, architecture, religion and history. She has taught such classes as Muslim Presence in Europe, The Children of Abraham and The Architecture of Paris from Roman Times until Nowadays. A trained archeologist and Professor at IAU, Professor Masarwa has worked as an archeologist for five years at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Dr. Ronald McMahan 
is an experienced ethnographer as evidenced in his historical documentary, "Coal Mining as a Way of Life.” He is also an energy economist whose practical understanding of industry issues has made him one of the world’s leading experts in the areas of energy markets and policy. He publishes and speaks widely, and has testified several times before the US Senate and House of Representatives on topics ranging from electric utility deregulation to global climate change. Dr. McMahan is a pioneer in the area of energy information services, having founded Resource Data International, Inc., ultimately selling that company to Pearson, plc, where he served as CEO of Financial Times Energy for several years. Subsequently he founded Global Energy Decisions, LLC, which grew to become the world’s leading provider of critical information and insight on energy markets and environmental issues. Dr. McMahan currently serves as Director and Advisor to a number of energy information and consulting organizations. He received a BA in Physics and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Colorado. 

James Skelly is currently the Director of the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College in Pennsylvania, where he has served for many years as a Senior Fellow. Previously, he has also served as a Visiting Professor of Peace Studies at Magee College of the University of Ulster in Derry, Northern Ireland, and Coordinator for Peace & Justice Programming for BCA, an international education organization. He holds a BA from the University of Minnesota, and an MA and PhD from the University of California, San Diego, as well as citizenship in Ireland and the United States. He has served in administrative and research positions at the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict & Cooperation; New York University's Center for War, Peace and the News Media; the Institute of International Studies, at the University of California, Berkeley; and, the European University Center for Peace Studies in Austria. His research and teaching interests are rooted in the sociology of knowledge and focus on reality construction related to issues of peace, conflict, and global citizenship. In addition to focusing on the moral and political dilemmas of soldiers, which arises from his refusal to serve as a military officer in Vietnam and a subsequent lawsuit against the United States Secretary of Defense, Skelly v. Laird, he has also recently been analyzing the global role of international education. He has written and edited numerous articles informed by these research interests including a special edition of Peace Review on war and the dilemmas of soldiers, as well as a recent article, Fostering Engagement: The Role of International Education in the Development of Global Civil Society.

Leigh Smith is the Dean at IAU and a professor of comparative literature who did his Ph.D. work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He first received his B.A. in English from Auburn University.  Professor Smith has lived and taught in Provence for over ten years and has been a professor at IAU since 2006.  He assumed the post of director in April 2011. He has administered and taught in various study abroad programs in both Paris and in Provence and has held posts in Aix at the Université Paul Cézanne (Aix-Marseille III) as well as at the Université de Provence (Aix-Marseille I), teaching literature and English in both Marseille and Aix. His research has largely focused on the twentieth-century European novel, and he is currently working on material that traces the novelistic representation of the European city. With IAU, he has organized academic and student conferences on subjects ranging from literature to the environment.

Anthony Triolo is currently a member of the faculty of IAU in Aix-en-Provence, France. Professor Triolo received his MA in Military History, Defense, Security from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Aix-en-Provence with his thesis on “French and American Military Transformation since the End of the Cold War.” He teaches courses in Political and Environmental Science and International Relations at IAU. He also works as a consultant for political organizations in the Provence region and has done research at the Institut des Hautes Etudes de Defense Nationale in Paris as well as work with the American Embassy in Paris.