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EU Commission funds local effort to get to know Europe

To help Ithacans and other upstate New Yorkers become more familiar with Europe, Cornell's Institute for European Studies (IES) will use a grant of about $100,000 from the European Union (EU) Commission to sponsor a series of 2007 events. The funding also will be used to pair Ithaca with Elios Proni, Greece, located on the island of Cephalonia.

The "Getting to Know Europe" project is a local outreach effort to honor the EU's 50th anniversary.

"The EU-focused outreach initiatives are designed to forge lasting connections between local civic and business leaders, schools and communities -- and their European counterparts," explained Sydney Van Morgan, associate director of the institute. "The award also will help lay the foundation for a program of instruction at the local K-12 level that will inspire new generations of central New York students to understand, appreciate and visit the European Union."

The twinning of Ithaca with Elios Proni is intended to highlight the two towns' similarities in tourism, hospitality, small-scale business and wine-making, while also serving as a foundation for future interactions and activities between the local governments, Van Morgan said. The initiative will include a series of "Doing Business in Europe" seminars designed to educate local businesses about opportunities to trade with and invest in EU member states and strengthen business practices through shared knowledge.

The grant "provides an excellent opportunity to advance the outreach and international mission of Cornell by enlightening local residents about the important work of the EU, the rich cultural history of Europe and the abundant U.S.-EU business and investment opportunities, " said David Wippman, vice provost for international relations at Cornell.

As part of the "Getting to Know Europe" project, this spring Cornell's Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies will host a speaker series of European experts addressing pertinent issues facing EU-U.S. relations.

Earlier this year, IES was awarded a Title VI National Resource Center grant of almost $875,000 from the U.S. Department of Education. Together, the two grants will expand the institute's extensive outreach program intended to broaden the Cornell community's and region's view of Europe and ensure the study of European languages, culture and society as an integral part of graduate and undergraduate education on campus.

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