Short Presentation and History
last updated: 04-10-2013
Establishing International Relations and European Studies at the University of Oradea ten years ago was based upon certain premises such as tradition, the ongoing process of becoming international the university undergone, especially after the year 2000, the need to offer the students a major in the field of regional development, cross-border cooperation, security at EU’s external borders and last but not least the implementation of a multidisciplinary programme as a response to the model required by Bologna educational concept.
If you are curious enough to read the book Romanian Education at the Western Border of Great Romania. The Academy of Law of Oradea (1919-1934) published in 2011 or any articles written by the researchers of the history of Bihor education, you will easily find many arguments that demonstrate the over two century university tradition of the city lying on Crisul Repede River. The Royal Academy of Law, the oldest tertiary education institution in a large Eastern Europe region, began its activity in 1777 by establishing the Faculty of Philosophy, and, beginning with 1788, the Academy of Law was also established. Along its history, both professors and students came to know the Austrian, Austro-Hungarian, and after the First World War, the Romanian system of governing.
The inter war period of the tertiary education in Oradea was characterized by an ever increasing number of students and marked by a great university staff as a result of the joint efforts of two generations of teachers. The academic tradition founded a scientific environment against which the young staff could evolve and become professionally mature. The Academy professors approached different research topics, which in spite of the fact that they mainly addressed issues of legal matters they also brought under discussion problems referring to the European inter war political scene. We refer to the study “Race, Language and Religion Minority Protection under the Nations Societies Regime” published in 1930. It is Professor Gheorghe Sofronie’s most important work for which he was awarded “Vernescu Prize” by the Romanian Academy. Moreover, through his entire scientific activity he brought his contribution to the foundation of the ideas of nation, state and frontier in international law thus helping to consolidate and maintain peace on judicial basis. Another example is Eugeniu Sperantia whose scientific research was strongly connected to sociological problems at European level. His study published in 1930 was in fact an interdisciplinary analysis of two new theoretical concepts: social life and education, which were current topics among contemporary scientists. Victor Cădere another representative of the academic teaching staff in Oradea, brought about important contributions to the development of Romania’s international relations. As a high officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs he focused on the cultural diplomacy in order to make known Romanian people’s history, culture and spirituality in the European space.
Ten Years Ago
The values accumulated over more than one and a half century of tertiary education constituted a solid foundation for the University of Oradea as a continuation of the Academy of Law. By using the opportunities given by the openness after 1990, the Romanian higher education is now part of an ever globalizing system in which the newly restructured university is called to act as a vector upon economy, culture, institutions thus facilitating their European integration.
The establishing of the Department of International Relations and European Integration in 2000 was the initiative of Rector Teodor Maghiar. Appointing professor Ioan Horga as Head of the Department will constitute a great benefit for the development of an important network of relations with other similar universities from Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, mainly by using Erasmus Programme. On the other hand, against this background there were initiated many teaching and research projects especially in the field of International Relations and European Studies. In 2003-2004 there were created the academic premises to establish the International Relation and European Studies Programme following different events such as the inauguration of the International Centre for Euroregional Studies in 2000, the launching of the Euroregional Studies and Cross- Border Relations Master Programme (2001), the start of the research project dealing with the impact of mass media upon the process of European construction in partnership with Reims Champagne University and the International Institute of Administrative Science of Brussels, the set up of Euroregional Studies Jean Monnet Chair (2002) as well as the signing of the agreement according to which University of Oradea became a member of Siena Network and of “Building of Europe” Master Programme together with universities from Athens, Azores, Bologna, Coimbra, Krakow, Granada, Hanover, Salamanca, Siena, Strasbourg.
The scientific basis together with the teaching staff characterized by determination and awareness regarding their mission were solid arguments which sustained the decision of the National Council of Academic Assessment, which, at the suggestion of Professor Vasile Vese from Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, granted the provisional authorization for International Relations and European Studies Bachelor Programme. Here among the teaching staff, we have to mention established names from the Department of History professor Barbu Ştefănescu, Sever Dumitraşcu, Viorel Faur, Mihai Drecin, Ioan Horga, associate professor Ioan Zainea, lecturers Antonio Faur, Sorin Şipoş, and from the Department of Geography professor Nicolae Josan and Gheorghe Măhăra, associate professor Alexandru Ilieş şi Ribana Linc. There were also visiting professors from other faculties and universities such as Floare Chipea, associate professor Vasile Ciocan and lecturer Dana Cigan).
Together with the above mentioned teachers, a younger generation has contributed to the multidisciplinary formation of the future graduates of International Relations and European Studies. We mention here such disciplines as Economy and Communication taught by lecturer Luminiţa Şoproni, while Mircea Brie and Adrian Popoviciu brought their contribution to the act of teaching helping the students to acquire the competences and abilities they needed in the courses held by the professors. We also have to mention Constantin Toca’s contribution he coordinated the Practice Specialty where the student could apply in practice their theoretical knowledge.
The students’ multidisciplinary training has also been fulfilled through the collaboration with foreign language teachers from the university; during the six semesters the students were taught English by lecturer Dana Pantea, Italian by the late Mircea Benţea French by Felicia Constantin, German by Mihai Georgiţă. An important aspect in the multidisciplinary formation was acquiring IT competences and skills together with professor Sorin Curilă.
There are two other important landmarks at the beginning of International Relations and European Studies Programme at the University of Oradea. They proved to be important strengths which contributed primarily to the further development of the specialization in Oradea. The first landmark is the completion of the greatest research programme in the University of Oradea which benefited from European funding. The result was major upon the activity of the teaching staff: rehabilitation and acquisition of equipment and modern furniture for the European Consulting and Information Center and also the development of collaborations with Bihor Chamber of Commerce, Satu Mare and Salaj, with Bihor Small and Middle Enterprises Council, Federation of Employers, Metropolitan Zone, Oradea. These partnerships have demonstrated the importance of the relationship between the academic teaching staff and the socio-economic environment which in turn lead to the orientation of the curricula towards more practical courses. As soon as the Bologna system was implemented in the Romanian tertiary education, the curricula were reviewed according to the above mentioned principles.
The second landmark refers to the year 2005 when the European Commission approved the project for the establishment of the Institute for Euroregional Studies Oradea-Debrecen as a „Jean Monnet” European Center of Excellence. On the one hand it meant the full recognition at European level of the teaching and researching potential of our staff and on the other hand it did nothing but to consolidate the excellent relationship with the Department of Geography and Regional Development from the University of Debrecen dating from 2000. Thus the Institute has become a research pole and the results have been published in 17 collective volumes. Eurolimes, a bi-annual journal that has reached its 15th issue, deals with the current European frontier problems and has become a scientific outcome in the international academic environment. Furthermore, the projects initiated by the Institute with regard to the common development strategy of Oradea and Debrecen or to human resources training through European Mobility projects have demonstrated that the Institute a vehicle in the valorization of the scientific activity of the teaching staff.
Five Years Ago
After a period of searching and studying which lasted five years, the IRES staff was to pass a very difficult examination in 2007-2008: the assessment of the first three generations of graduates followed by the accreditation of the specialization. The students’ assessment was done by a commission formed by professors from the National School of Political and Administrative Science, Bucharest: Adrian Miroiu, Cezar Bârzea and Iordan Gheorghe Bărbulescu. The three generations of graduates assessed in 2007 and 2008 successfully passed the exam with an over 90% percentage of graduates which lead to the accreditation of International Relations and European Studies Programme by ARACIS in 2009. During the same year there were also accredited master programmes: Regional Development and Institutional Communication in EU and European Security thus completing the range of postgraduate studies.
In 2010, being confident in its academic and research potential, the young teaching staff from Oradea succeeded to accredit a new programme in the field of International Relations and European Studies using English as the teaching language which was also the first of its kind in the country. One year later, there were accredited master programmes: European Studies and International Relations, the former using English as the teaching language. The latest programme that received accreditation in 2012, Security Studies, is a completion of the scientific and teaching range of the IRES staff. The development towards forms of more and more specialized training is sustained by the right given to professor Ioan Horga to conduct PhD thesis in the field of International Relations and European Studies at the Doctoral School from Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca.
The academic outcome of the teaching staff will lead to the consolidation of the staff. This implies four main aspects. The first one refers to the development of the staff by employing new members: associate professor Sorin Şipoş who was transferred from the Department of History, Babes- Bolyai University graduates Cristina Dogot and Dorin Dolghi, who were tenured as lecturers in 2007 and 2009, Alina Stoica, a graduate of history who will follow through the steps of academic evolution from junior academic to the position of lecturer, Mariana Buda, a graduate of Faculty of Philology – French and Spanish – becomes an important person in the multidisciplinary training of the students. The same can be said about Florentina Chirodea and Cosmin Chiriac to whom we may add the presence as junior academics of the graduates of the first generation Lia Derecichei and Istvan Polgar. The academic environment created the opportunity for promotion; Sorin Sipos became full professor, Mircea Brie, Luminita Soproni became assistant professors and Adrian Popoviciu became a lecturer.
The second aspect refers to the fact that the teaching staff has become a well structured and dynamic body which has become a department inside the faculty whose head is associate professor Mircea Brie. He is helped in his work by lecturers Florentina Chirodea, Cristina Dogot, junior academic Ţoca Constantin and by the expert reviewer Elena Zierler who was transferred from the Department of Geography in 2010. Moreover, our staff is well known on national level thus we have excellent relations with our colleagues from SNSPA Bucharest and UBB Cluj-Napoca. Our department has also strong relations with similar departments from universities in France, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Turkey and Hungary.
The next important aspect that gives value to our department is represented by the projects won by half of the members between 2008 and 2012. The number of Jean Monnet projects gave our university a nice second rank on national level. Out of the 14 projects won by University of Oradea till 2012, 11 were won by our staff. Sustained by the teaching and scientific experience gained by professor Ioan Horga, other members of our department were selected by Jean Monnet Programme as winners: Luminiţa Şoproni in 2009, Mircea Brie and Cristina Dogot in 2010, Adrian Popoviciu and Dorin Dolghi in 2011, Sorin Şipoş and Alina Stoica in 2012. There are also other kinds of projects managed by the members of our department such as HU-RO and the Programme for South Eastern Europe.
Finally, the fourth field in which the members of our department did a significant work was the scientific research. Research has been done both in relevant aspects concerning International Relations and European Studies and in newly emerged fields. The research concerning the significance of the European frontiers in the European construction, in the building of the European identity and in the development of the common European space acquired new dimensions by winning in 2011 the „Jean Monnet” – Multilateral Research Group, Initiative and Constraint in the Mapping of Evolving European Border Project which was coordinated by professor Ioan Horga. Taking into account the whole range of scientific activities our staff has demonstrated its full academic capacity to get involved in the international scientific research.
Text preluat din volumul aniversar:
10 ani de Relaţii internaţionale şi studii
europene la Universitatea din Oradea