Virginia Tech has been awarded a Jean Monnet Chair by the European Commission.

The Jean Monnet Chair is a prestigious and university-wide post that specializes in European Union studies. Only one professor in a university can hold this position.

Yannis Stivachtis, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science, will serve as the chair for a three-year term. Stivachtis is also director of the International Studies Program and associate chair of the department.

“This award demonstrates Virginia Tech’s excellence as a university, as well as its commitment to European studies,” said Stivachtis. “Receiving a Jean Monnet Professorship is a promising development, but requires a continuous commitment.”

Stivachtis authored the successful grant and submitted it to the Education, Audiovisual, and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Commission for review.

“Given the recent controversy over Brexit and other challenges to multilateralism that have arisen around the world, it is critically important to help our students understand the origins and role of the European Union,” said Laura Belmonte, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. “Dr. Stivachtis is an extraordinary teacher and scholar who has devoted countless hours to building our immensely successful International Studies Program and our study-abroad efforts in Europe. He is richly deserving of this honor.”

The agency awards Jean Monnet Chairs after a competitive selection process. Recipients must teach at least 90 hours per academic year on topics associated with European integration, conduct research on European Union subjects, and lead outreach and training activities. 

As part of his outreach efforts, Stivachtis plans to help advance knowledge about Europe and the European Union targeting high-school students and teachers in southwestern Virginia, as well as participants in the university’s Lifelong Learning Program.

Jean Monnet was one of the founders of the European Union in the 1950s. The Jean Monnet Program is part of  Erasmus+, the European Union’s education, youth, and sports initiative. 

Stivachtis’ term as chair is renewable in 2022.

Written by Andrew Adkins