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)[1] 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[2].

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[3].


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[4], the set up of Euroregional Studies Jean Monnet Chair (2002)[5] as well as the signing of the agreement according to which University of Oradea became a member of Siena Network[6] 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[7], Sever Dumitraşcu[8], Viorel Faur[9], Mihai Drecin[10], Ioan Horga[11], associate professor Ioan Zainea[12], lecturers Antonio Faur[13], Sorin Şipoş[14], and from the Department of Geography professor Nicolae Josan and Gheorghe Măhăra[15], associate professor Alexandru Ilieş[16] şi Ribana Linc[17]. There were also visiting professors from other faculties and universities such as Floare Chipea, associate professor Vasile Ciocan[18] and lecturer Dana Cigan[19]).

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[20], while Mircea Brie[21] and Adrian Popoviciu[22] 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[23] 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[24], Italian by the late Mircea Benţea[25] French by Felicia Constantin[26], German by Mihai Georgiţă. An important aspect in the multidisciplinary formation was acquiring IT competences and skills together with professor Sorin Curilă[27].

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[28] 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[29].

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”[30] 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[31]. Thus the Institute has become a research pole and the results have been published in 17 collective volumes[32]. Eurolimes, a bi-annual journal that has reached its 15th issue, deals with the current European frontier problems[33] and has become a scientific outcome in the international academic environment[34]. Furthermore, the projects initiated by the Institute with regard to the common development strategy of Oradea and Debrecen[35] 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[36].

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[37] and Dorin Dolghi[38], who were tenured as lecturers in 2007 and 2009, Alina Stoica[39], a graduate of history who will follow through the steps of academic evolution from junior academic to the position of lecturer, Mariana Buda[40], 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[41] and Cosmin Chiriac[42] to whom we may add the presence as junior academics of the graduates of the first generation Lia Derecichei[43] and Istvan Polgar[44]. 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[45], Mircea Brie and Cristina Dogot in 2010[46], Adrian Popoviciu and Dorin Dolghi[47] in 2011, Sorin Şipoş and Alina Stoica in 2012[48]. 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[49].

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[50].

Text preluat din volumul aniversar:
10 ani de Relaţii internaţionale şi studii
europene la Universitatea din Oradea


[1] The study is signed by Florentina Chirodea and it was elaborated on the basis of the research undertaken during the PhD. studies
[2] Florentina Chirodea, The Romanian Education at the Western border of the Greater Romania The Law Academy from Oradea (1919-1934), Publishing House of the University of Oradea, Oradea, 2011, p. 33 și 198
[3] Ibidem, p. 112-137
[4] The project was developed together with Renaud de la Brosse, from the University of Reims Champagne Ardenne and professor Fabienne Maron from the Institute of International and Administrative Studies from Brussels. Between 2001-2004 there were organised 4 international conferences between 2001-2004 with the following themes: The Role of Mass-Media and of the New Information and Communication Technologies in the Democratisation Process of Central and Eastern European Societies (2001), The contribution of Mass Media to the Enlargement of the European Union (2002), International and European Security versus the Explosion of Global Media (2004), Media and the Good Governance Facing the Challenge of the EU Enlargement (2004).
[5] The department was established by the Decision EAC/A2/BBQ/AmD(2002) number 16138 from 24th of July 2002, one of its holders’ being professor Ioan Horga.
[6] See
[7] Since the MA program Euroregional Studies and Cross-Border cooperation the regretted professor Barbu Ștefănescu has proposed courses like: European Anthropology (2004-2006), European Cultural Anthropology (2005-2009) or Mentalities in Change (2010-2012), which have become cornerstones of the curricular structure of the Bachelor program from the field of International Relations and European Studies.
[8] Titular of the courses of European ancient heritage (2003-2005), Eurasia (2005-2007), Greek-Roman and Christian foundations of the European indentity (2007 – 2009) and European Identity (2009–2012).
[9] Specialist in European Idea course taught between 2003-2007.
[10] Assured the preparation of students in the following directions: European economic history (2003-2004), History of Central and Eastern Europe as a regional entity (2004-2005), Romania and Europe (2005-2007), Romania’s foreign policy and diplomacy in the 20th century (2007-2009).
[11] Holder of the courses: Introduction in International Relations (2003-2012), Theory of International Relations (2003-2012), Theory of European Integration (2004-2005), Elements of political and comparative analysis (2004-2005), European Social History (2004-2005), International Relations (2005-2006), History of European Construction (2005-2006), Culture and society in the XVII-XIXth century (2006-2010), International Organisations (2006-2011), Mass-media and European integration (2006-2007), European regional policies (2006-2009), Project Management (2006-2011), Mass-media and intercultural dialogue (2007-2008), Media and intercultural dialogue in the new Europe (2009-2010).
[12] He taught the course of Public Relations in the period 2006-2012.
[13] Under his guidance the students acquired knowledge in: European political parties (2004-2006), History of international relations (XX century)- course taught between 2004-2011, Introduction in European studies: European idea (2007-2011).
[14] Member of the International Relations and European Studies Department till September 2012 he was the holder of the courses: History of the cities (2004-2005), History of the minorities from Europe (2004-2005), Regional Anthropology (2004-2005 and 2006-2007), History of political ideas (2007-2012), Social Research Methods and world politics (2007-2008).
[15] He initiated the students in the field of regional geography, the courses undertaken by him being: Regional geography: Europe (2003-2005), European territorial systems (2005-2007).
[16] Courses taught: The Geography of European integration (2005-2007) and Political geography and geo-strategy (2006-2008, 2010 – 2012).
[17] She undertook the course European environmental problems in the academic year 2005-2006.
[18] Vasile Ciocan formed part of the International Relations and European Studies Department from 2004 to 2008, period in which he taught the courses: International law (2005-2008), European law (2005-2007), Peace, security and stability in Europe (2006-2008), The European Union and proximity spaces (2006-2008), Community law (2007-2008), Cross-border cooperation (2007-2008), The activity of border and customs police (2007-2008).
[19] Dana Cigan – titular of the Faculty of Legal Sciences taught the course Introduction in law a in the period 2005-2009.
[20] Holder of the course Relational Marketing (2004-2012), Negotiation techniques and protocol (2004-2006), Intercultural communication (2004-2005), Introduction in economy (2005-2012), Diversity management (2005-2006), International Economic Relations (2006-2012), Global economy (2012), Expression techniques and international communication (2006-2012).
[21] Professor Ioan Horga’s assistant at the courses International Relations and European social history, after earning his PhD. title he becomes the holder of the disciplines: History of international relations (XVII-XIX century) taught 2006-2012, Sociology of change (2006-2008), Europe in intercultural dialogue (2006-2008), Public opinion and surveys (2006-2008), Research methods in social and political sciences (2008-2012), Intercultural dialogue mean of diversity management (2008-2012), Sociology of international relations (2008-2011), European demography (2010-2012).
[22] He was responsible for the seminars of the discipline taught by Vasile Ciocan and lecturer Dana Cigan. From 2008 he is the titular of the disciplines: International law (2008-2012), Community law (2008-2012), Cross-border cooperation (2008-2009), The activity of border and customs police (2008-2009), Introduction in law (2009-2012).
[23] He assisted to the course of Mr. Horga International Organizations
[24] Since the 2005-2006 academic year became member of the Department.
[25] Member of the German – Italian department, Faculty of Philology.
[26] Carries out her activity in the International Business department of the Faculty of Economic Science.
[27] Titular in the Electronics and Telecommunications department of the, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Theory.
[28] The project, “Action Learning for SMEs from Bihor, Salaj, Satu Mare counties – A new model of enterprise school in the field of human resources”, PH 1700 manager Ioan Horga, Phare 2000 Economic and Social Cohesion, Development of Human Resources in the context industrial restructuring, project partners: Local Council of SMEs from Oradea, Branch Salaj pf SMEs, Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture Satu Mare, Bihor Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Salaj, The Revans Institute for Action Learning & Research – University of Salford, UK. The budget of 375,000 euro was intended for the implementation of the experience gathered by the University of Oradea (during 1997-2002) in the field of human resources and network creation at the level of SMEs in order to turn these into the engines of regional economy. The results of the project have embodied in the establishment of “European Centre for Consultancy and Information” and provision with technical and computer equipment, the purchase of a specialized collection of books to be included later in the Library of CICE, namely providing training courses for a number 300 participants, from the University of Oradea (staff and senior teachers with managing functions) and various economic agents from Bihor, Salaj and Satu Mare counties.
[29] Thus were introduced subjects like: History of International Relations, European construction, European institutions, International organizations, History of Political Ideas, Introduction in Political Science, Culture and Society, European economic integration, International law, European/Community law, International economic relations, Romania’s foreign Policy in the twentieth century, Political geography and geo-strategy, European regional policy, Research methods in social and political sciences, Sociology of change, Europe in intercultural dialogue, Cross-border cooperation, Project management, Expression techniques and international communication, Secretariat and management support, Human resource management, Organizing logistics and transportation, Organization of consular activities and diplomatic courier, Organization, protocol fairs and exhibitions, The activity of border and customs police, Peace, security and stability, Mass-media and European integration.
[30] In Romania is the 3rd Centre of Excellence created after the centres from Cluj-Napoca and Timișoara. In 2010 another centre of excellence was created in Iasi.
[31] Prof. Istvan Suli Zakar has become from January 2006 together with professor Horga the co-director of IERS.
[32] During the eight years have been edited the following collective volumes: Regional Development in the Romanian Hungarian – Cross – Border space – from National to European – Perspective (2006), Challenges and Perspectives in the Euro-regional and Regional Issues in the New Europe (2006) , Neighbours and Partners: on the Two Side of the Border (2008) The frontiers of the Romanian space in the European context (2008) The current status of national community regulations in the field of cross-border cooperation (2009), The European Parliament, the European Neighbourhood Policy and Intercultural Dialogue (2009), Historiography and politics in the East and West of the Romanian space (2009), Cross – Border Partnership: with Special Regard to the Hungarian – Romanian – Ukrainian Tripartite Border (2010), Imperial policies in the East and West of the Romanian space (2010) Between the European Union Constraint of the Borders and Global Competition (2011), Regional and Cohesion Policy – Insights into the role of the Partnership Principle in the New Policy Design (2011), Ethno-Confessional Realities in the Romanian Area: Historical Perspectives (XVIII Centuries-XIX) (2011), Ethnicity, Confession and Intercultural Dialogue at the Eastern Border of the European Union (2011), European Media and Diversity (2012), European Union: Identity, Diversity and Integration (2012), The Historian’s Atelier. Sources, Methods, Interpretation (2012) and the book the Quality of environmental factors in the Bihor – Hajdu-Bihar region and their influence on the environmental factors, author Attila Ambrus. View www.iser.rdsor / publications.
[33] See www. iser.rdsor/eurolimes.
[34] The Eurolimes Journal is indexed in the following international databases: Ebscohost Database, ProQuest Database, CEEOL Database, Index Copernicus Database, Gesis Socioguide Database.
[35] The project, “To prepare a common future: Agglomeration of the Communities Debrecen – Oradea – 700,000 (2020),” funded by the Municipality of Oradea by contract no. 139236/26.09.2006 had as main objective the creation, stimulation and development of partnership between Oradea – Debrecen and Bihor (RO) – Hajdu-Bihar (HU) counties towards the sustainable development of the two above mentioned cities and hence of the Bihor – Hajdu-Bihar Euroregion. Held in 2006, the project was implemented by a team formed of Professor Ioan Horga – manager, lecturer Luminiţa Soproni – scientific coordinator and assistant Costantin Toca – technical coordinator, having a budget of 22,000 Ron and in partnership with the Department of Social Geography and Regional Development of the University of Debrecen. The main activities included a sociological research and a media campaign, the organization of an international seminar entitled Let’s think together the future. Cross-border Agglomeration Debrecen – Oradea (2020) and the printing of the works and studies presented at the seminar, targeting the private and public institutions in the Metropolitan Area, and respectively the population of the Metropolitan Area.
[36] 6 former MA graduates from Oradea now are undertaking PhD. Studies at the „Babeș-Bolyai” University from Cluj-Napoca during 2010-2013.
[37] She teaches the students in fundamental fields like: Political Science, European construction, EU Governance, Political leadership and European institutions and policies.
[38] Specialist in European security issues, he contributes to the specialization of students in the fields of: International conflict analysis, Security perspectives at the Eastern border of the EU, Common Foreign and Security Policy, Security and strategic studies, Security governance.
[39] Specialist in the History of the European idea, History of international relations (XX-XXI centuries), respectively Romania’s foreign policy.
[40] Titular of the French and Spanish courses in the field of International Relations, Spanish and French culture and civilisation, Applied French/Spanish in the public sphere, Applied French/Spanish in business.
[41] The area of preparation of students includes the courses: Quality in the contemporary global context, Human resources management, Secretariat and management assistance, The management of transport activities and logistics.
[42] Responsible for preparing the students in Computer Science, Multimedia and Webdesign.
[43] Prepares the students in the following seminars: European construction and European institutions.
[44] From 2011 holder of the courses: Project management and European regional policies, Comparative studies of regional development.
[45] „Mass–Media and Intercultural Dialogue in Europe Without Borders”, evolved in the period 2007-2010, 29.450 euro.
[46] „Ethnie, Confession and Intercultural Dialogue at the European Union Eastern Border” (2010 – 2012, 28.000 euro) și „ Le leadership politique et le développement organisationnel de l’union européenne” (2010 – 2012, 28.000 euro).
[47] „The Border, a Space of Innovation and Cooperation in the European Union” (2011 – 2013, 28.000 euro) and „Security Approaches at the Eastern Border of the European Union” (2011-2013, 28.000 euro).
[48] „From Periphery to Center. The Image of European Union at the Eastern Border of Europe” (2012-2014, 28.560 euro) and „Cultural Diplomacy at the East and West Borders of the European Union – an essential Element in the Process of European Integration” (2012 – 2014, 28.224 euro).
[49] „Boosting Innovation through Capacity Building and Networking of Science Centres in the SEE Region”, SEE/B/0048/1.3X-SEE Science
[50] The project deploys from 2011-2013, and it is being developed by a consortium of Jean Monnet Centres of Excellence, from the Universities of Oradea, Siena, Bologna, Asores, Wroclaw, Nicosia, in collaboration with the Virtual Resource Centre for Knowledge about Europe from Luxembourg, professors from the University of Coimbra, Reims, Montpelier, Siegen, Salamanca, Strasburg, Athens, Debrecen, Chisinau, Uzhgorod, Chernovtsy, Cluj-Napoca and Timisoara (www.