Europe and Islam: Culture & Communities Locations
The Europe and Islam: Cultures & Communities program is based in Krakow, Poland with invaluable guided field studies to Germany and Turkey (see descriptions below).
Poland’s peaceful democratic transition 20 years ago is frequently hailed as a potential model for today’s political transitions in North Africa. Some of the activist leaders in the Polish democratic movement will be guest lecturers on the program.
Once the seat of Polish kings, Krakow retains its international stature due largely to its renowned medieval and renaissance architecture and its respected Jagiellonian University – a vibrant center of European intellectual life for the past six hundred years. Krakow has undergone multiple attempts to forcibly reshape its life and character. The most recent project was the former Communist government’s construction of a vast new industrial suburb, Nowa Huta. Once a significant source of employment, the idled steel mills and production lines of Nowa Huta now symbolize the problematic economic, social, and environmental legacy of communist-era industrialization. Today, growth in the city’s economy is fueled by the investments in an increasingly sophisticated service industry. Poland’s economy is further affected by its changing position in global labor markets. After years as a net exporter of human capital, Poland’s economic growth and its membership in the EU have made the country an increasingly attractive waystation and final destination for migrants, particularly from the former republics of the Soviet Union.
(Approx. 14 days)
The Bosphorus Strait that divides Istanbul is also the fault line between Europe and Asia representing the crossroads between East and West for centuries. Likewise, Istanbul embodies the divisions in Turkish society – Western, urban, and secular elites versus traditional, rural, and religious masses. Additionally, Turkey represents a strong political and economic model for Arab nations.
The prospect of Turkey’s admission to the EU as the first predominantly Muslim Member State has sparked an intense debate among citizens as well as policymakers on Europe’s identity. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, Europe will have to intensify its collaboration with Turkey in order to address serious challenges of narcotics smuggling, human trafficking, and illegal immigration, which benefit from Turkey’s location on the EU’s doorstep. Meanwhile, Turkey’s bid for EU membership has introduced a powerful new factor into its political scene and is widely credited with providing key leverage for successful efforts to abolish the death penalty, reinforce the freedom of the press, and improve the rights of ethnic minorities.
(Approx. 14 days)
Berlin is a highly cosmopolitan city with nearly half a million immigrants, which places it at the center of both national and European debates on migration, citizenship, and cultural diversity. The NeukÃ¶lln-Kreuzberg district is home to the largest Turkish migrant community in Europe, which was initially inhabited overwhelmingly by laborers from Turkey’s rural East seeking economic opportunity under the guest worker program that helped fuel Germany’s postwar Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle).
The medieval university town of TÃ¼bingen lies at the heart of one of the most dynamic economic regions of the European Union, whose inhabitants enjoy the lowest unemployment rate in Germany. In addition to multinationals such as Daimler, Porsche, Bosch, IBM and Hewlett-Packard, the Land of Baden-WÃ¼rttemberg is also characterized by numerous highly competitive, export-oriented, mid-sized enterprises. While Baden-WÃ¼rttemberg leads the nation in global manufacturing sales, companies in emerging industries such as fuel cell, nano- and biotechnologies are increasingly attracted to the region, and eco-innovation is actively fostered by regional and European initiatives. The program examines the region’s response to pressure on the German Social-Market Economy model and TÃ¼bingen’s innovative policies to promote the successful integration of its migrant community. Participants benefit from access to the University of TÃ¼bingen’s faculty and libraries.
Read about student accommodations in each of the program sites.