Glendon professor awarded the Jean Monnet Chair in European integration

Glendon political science Professor Willem Maas has been awarded a Jean Monnet Chair, making York only the sixth university in Canada and 17th in North America to hold one. Maas teaches political science and public & international affairs at York’s Glendon campus, with joint appointment in York’s graduate programs in political science and social & political thought. He is an executive member of the Canadian Centre for German & European Studies and the Centre for Public Policy & Law. He is also a member of York’s Centre for Refugee Studies.     

Right: Willem Maas

Launched in 1990, the Jean Monnet Program was established in honour of Jean Monnet, a visionary French entrepreneur who was named secretary general of the League of Nations when it was created in 1919. At the end of the Second World War, Monnet proclaimed that the only hope for peace in Europe was for the European countries to join in a collaborative community. He is regarded by many as the father of the European Union.

The Jean Monnet Program responds to a need for increased reflection and debate on the European Union. It is designed to stimulate excellence in teaching, research and deliberation on European integration in higher education institutions throughout the world. Currently, 60 countries on five continents participate in the Jean Monnet network, reaching 250,000 students every year.

As Jean Monnet Chair in European Integration, Maas will dedicate his complete teaching time to courses addressing key European integration issues, including three political science courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as providing training courses for executive and mid-career civil servants. In addition, he will supervise student research dissertations and be responsible for the academic content of student internships in Europe. Maas will also coordinate a Jean Monnet Lecture Series at Glendon, as well as a Web site and a newsletter. The total funds awarded to the Jean Monnet Chair represent approximately $240,000 over the next five years, with the European Commission and York University sharing the costs for the first three years, and York University covering the total costs for years four and five. 

“There is a demand to deepen and broaden our course offerings on European studies," said Maas.  “The Jean Monnet Chair provides an opportunity to fill this need in a setting that will serve both undergraduates, as well as graduates and mature students affiliated with the new Glendon School of Public & International Affairs.”

York University’s established bilateral relations with European countries and institutions and Glendon’s bilingual public affairs mandate and EU relationships make this University an ideal location for this program, he explained.

“Canadians are receptive to the ideals of the EU," said Maas, “but specific integration practices remain misunderstood. Glendon is a strategic site to disseminate information about European affairs, owing to its bilingual public affairs mandate, its location in Canada’s largest metropolis and its numerous alumni pursuing careers in key areas of Canadian public life.”

Maas has an impressive list of research activities and publications. His first book, Creating European Citizens (2007), explains the development of supranational rights culminating in EU citizenship and suggests that integration has always been about much more than economics. He is currently researching theoretical and empirical questions on citizenship, integration policies, the limits of tolerance and multiculturalism, and the intersection of migration and law.

"The Canadian Centre for German & European Studies congratulates Willem Maas on this prestigious award,” said Klaus Rupprecht, director of the centre. ”We are delighted to have Maas as one of our faculty affiliates and a member of our executive committee. His award will underline and strengthen the European aspect of the centre’s mandate."

“This is an exciting new challenge for me," added Maas, “and hopefully a start of comprehensive European studies at Glendon and York.” 

In awarding the chair, the European Commission recognized Maas’ proposal as outstanding and instrumental in the success of his application. The official launch of the new Jean Monnet Chair and its accompanying Web site will be held at Glendon in January 2009.

Submitted to YFile by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny