International Student Conference
on European - U.S. Relations
2013 Conference TBD
About the 2012 Conference
Ecocide And Different Perspectives On The Environment
April 13 – 15, 2012 ~ Strasbourg, France
BCA Study Abroad is pleased to announce the 9th Annual International Student Conference to be held in Strasbourg, France, in association with the Institut d’Etudes Politiques of the University of Strasbourg from April 13 – 15, 2012.
Since 2004, BCA Study Abroad has sponsored the annual conference so that students can explore the character and future of US-European relations, as well as the fundamental differences between the European Union and the United States both in terms of structure and important international issues.
The theme of this year’s conference is “Ecocide and Different Perspectives on the Environment.”
The conference will explore the differing perspectives of Europeans and Americans on issues ranging from energy use, genetically modified food, and climate change. There will be special emphasis on the issue of “Ecocide” and whether it should be made a crime against peace and subject to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. British environmental lawyer Polly Higgins will explore this issue in her keynote address at the opening plenary session of the conference.
Also speaking at the conference is Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), the world’s largest conservation/environment membership organization, which brings together states, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, scientists and experts in a unique worldwide partnership.
Previously, Julia was Rector of the University for Peace (UPEACE), a graduate-level international university, mandated by the United Nations, providing education, training and research on issues related to peace and conflict. Earlier offices held by Julia include Executive Director of LEAD (Leadership for Environment and Development) International, a programme established by The Rockefeller Foundation to bring together and train mid-career leaders from all parts of the world in improving their leadership skills around the issues of sustainable development and Executive Director of the International Council for Science (ICSU), an important and respected global organization bringing together scientific academies and unions to promote scientific activities for the benefit of humanity.
BCA Study Abroad, which sends students to programs throughout Europe, developed the idea for the conference because its staff realized that U.S. students are often shocked by the different perspectives held by Europeans on many of today’s most important issues. Speakers from Britain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States, as well as the European Commission, have in the past provided students with the broad historical context for their discussions, after which the students themselves put together their own international panels to emphasize their perspectives and questions about the future.
The American students, who have come from different U.S. colleges and universities, have studied at programs in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Spain, Wales and England. Speakers and prominent guests at the conferences have included the former BBC presenter and editor of China Dialogue, Isabel Hilton; the United States political representative to the European Union, Lawrence Wohlers; Andras Biro, who won the “Alternative Nobel Prize” – the Right Livelihood Award; as well as faculty from the Institut de Etudes Politique in Strasbourg, and the Council of Europe, among others.
Interested in Participating?
Students interested in attending the conference should contact Dr. James Skelly, the conference coordinator, at jskelly@BCAAbroad.org.
The BCA conference …was more than I had hoped for on many levels. Not only were the speakers intelligent, the topics relevant, and the debates thought provoking and meaningful, but I genuinely had a great time and will keep in touch with many new friends made over the week.
Steve Kurz, Cornell University, BCA Barcelona
I really enjoyed the conference in Strasbourg, France. It was excellent to meet other BCA students from around the world. It was very enriching to talk to international students about issues that affect the global community.
Sarah Mikul, Bethel University, BCA Derry
About the 2011 Conference:
"Differing Perspectives on Environmental Issues"
March 11-14, 2011
More than 50 students and speakers from North America and Europe gathered in Strasbourg, France, to discuss differences in U.S. and European environmental policy.
Students from Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Turkey, and American students from 20 U.S. colleges and universities studying abroad in England, France, Germany, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Spain participated in the annual Conference organized by BCA Study Abroad, and co-sponsored by the Foundation for International Education, the University of Strasbourg and AEGEE-the European Students’ Forum.
Speakers, who came from several European countries including England, France, Germany, Ireland, and the U.S., provided students with the current state of environmental policy differences in the first half of the conference. In the second half, students from Beyond Europe, a flagship project of AEGEE, facilitated and helped to organize student sessions to further explore their own perspectives and questions about these issues.
The Opening Plenary Lecture in the Palais Universitaire of the University of Strasbourg was given by career U.S. diplomat Vincent Carter, the United States Consul General in Strasbourg, on the topic “The U.S. and the EU – Indispensable Partners.”
Additional sessions included the following presentations:
- The editor of China Dialogue and BBC presenter, Isabel Hilton, on "Global Environmental Issues: The View from Europe, the United States, and China,”
- Professor Peter Schulze of Georg August University Göttingen, Germany, on “The Future of Energy and the Environment.”
- Audio and visual presentation of the Hard Rain Project by renowned British photographer, Mark Edwards, whose photographs, enhanced by the music of Bob Dylan’s famous song, “A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall,” challenged students to “reinvent the world so that it’s compatible with nature and human nature.”