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Institute for Advanced Study

New Europe College (NEC) is an independent Romanian institute for advanced study in the humanities and social sciences founded in 1994 by Professor Andrei Pleşu (philosopher, art historian, writer, Romanian Minister of Culture, 1990–1991, Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1997-1999) within the framework of the New Europe Foundation, established in 1994 as a private foundation subject to Romanian law.

Its impetus was the New Europe Prize for Higher Education and Research, awarded in 1993 to Professor Pleşu by a group of six institutes for advanced study (the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, the National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Humanities and Social Sciences, Wassenaar, the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences, Uppsala, and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin).

Since 1994, the NEC community of fellows and alumni has enlarged to over 500 members. In 1998 the New Europe College was awarded the prestigious Hannah Arendt Prize for its achievements in setting new standards in research and higher education. New Europe College is officially recognized by the Romanian Ministry of Education, Research and Innovation as an institutional structure for postgraduate studies in the humanities and social sciences, at the level of advanced studies.

Focused primarily on research at an advanced level, NEC strives to create an institutional framework with strong international links that offers to the young scholars and academics in the fields of humanities and social sciences from Romania, and to the foreign scholars invited as fellows working conditions similar to those in the West, and provides a stimulating environment for interdisciplinary dialogue and critical debates. The academic programs NEC coordinates and the events it organizes aim at promoting contacts between Romanian scholars and their peers worldwide, at cultivating the receptivity of academics and researchers in Romania for fields and methods as yet not firmly established here, thus contributing to the development of a core of gifted young academics and scholars, expected to play a significant role in the renewal of research and higher education in Romania.

Academic programs currently organized and coordinated by NEC:

  • NEC Fellowships (since 1994)

Each year, up to ten NEC Fellowships for outstanding young Romanian scholars in the humanities and social sciences are publicly announced. The Fellows are chosen by the NEC international Academic Advisory Board for the duration of one academic year (October through July). They gather for weekly seminars to discuss the progress of their research, and participate in all the scientific events organized by NEC. The Fellows receive a monthly stipend for the duration of nine months, and are given the opportunity of a one–month research trip abroad, at a university or research institute of their choice. At the end of the academic year, the Fellows submit papers representing the results of their research, which are published in the New Europe College Yearbooks. This program also includes a number of international fellowships.

  • Ştefan Odobleja Fellowships (since October 2008)

The fellowships given in this program are supported by the National Council of Scientific Research in Higher Education, and are meant to complement and enlarge the core fellowship program. The definition of these fellowships is identical with those in the NEC Program, in which the Odobleja Fellows are integrated.

  • The GE-NEC III Fellowships Program (since October 2009)

A new program supported by the Getty Foundation started this academic year. It proposes a research on, and a reassessment of Romanian art during the interval 1945 – 2000, that is, since the onset of the Communist regime in Romania up to recent times, through contributions coming from young scholars attached to the New Europe College as Fellows. As in the previous programs supported by the Getty Foundation at the NEC, this program will also include a number of invited guest lecturers, whose presence is meant to ensure a comparative dimension of the program, and to strengthen the methodological underpinnings of the research conducted by the Fellows.

  • The Black Sea Link (starting in October 2010)

This Fellowship Program, sponsored by the VolkswagenStiftung, invites young researchers from Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as from other countries within the Black Sea region, for a stay of one or two terms at the New Europe College, during which they will have the opportunity to work on projects of their choice. The program welcomes a wide variety of disciplines in the fields of humanities and social sciences. Besides hosting a number of Fellows, the College will organize within this program workshops and symposia on topics relevant to the history, present, and prospects of this region.

 Other fellowship programs organized since the founding of New Europe College:

  • RELINK Fellowships (1996–2002)

The RELINK Program targeted highly qualified young Romanian scholars returning from studies or research stays abroad. Ten RELINK Fellows were selected each year through an open competition; in order to facilitate their reintegration in the local scholarly milieu and to improve their working conditions, a support lasting three years was offered, consisting of: funds for acquiring scholarly literature, an annual allowance enabling the recipients to make a one–month research trip to a foreign institute of their choice in order to sustain existing scholarly contacts and forge new ones, and the use of a laptop computer and printer. Besides their individual research projects, the RELINK fellows of the last series were also required to organize outreach actives involving their universities, for which they received a monthly stipend. NEC published several volumes comprising individual or group research works of the RELINK Fellows.

  • The NEC–LINK Program (2003 - 2009)

Drawing on the experience of its NEC and RELINK Programs in connecting with the Romanian academic milieu, NEC initiated in 2003, with support from HESP, a program that aimed to contribute more consistently to the advancement of higher education in major Romanian academic centers (Bucharest, Cluj–Napoca, Iaşi, Timişoara). Teams consisting of two academics from different universities in Romania, assisted by a PhD student, offered joint courses for the duration of one semester in a discipline within the fields of humanities and social sciences. The program supported innovative courses, conceived so as to meet the needs of the host universities. The grantees participating in the Program received monthly stipends, a substantial support for ordering literature relevant to their courses, as well as funding for inviting guest lecturers from abroad and for organizing local scientific events.

  • The GE–NEC I and II Programs (2000 – 2004, and 2004 – 2007)

New Europe College organized and coordinatedtwo cycles in a program financially supported by the Getty Foundation. Its aim was to strengthen research and education in fields related to visual culture, by inviting leading specialists from all over the world to give lectures and hold seminars for the benefit of Romanian undergraduate and graduate students, young academics and researchers. This program also included 10–month fellowships for Romanian scholars, chosen through the same selection procedures as the NEC Fellows (see above). The GE–NEC Fellows were fully integrated in the life of the College, received a monthly stipend, and were given the opportunity of spending one month abroad on a research trip. At the end of the academic year the Fellows submitted papers representing the results of their research, to be published in the GE–NEC Yearbooks series.

  • NEC Regional Fellowships (2001 - 2006)

In 2001 New Europe College introduced a regional dimension to its programs (hitherto dedicated solely to Romanian scholars), by offering fellowships to academics and researchers from South–Eastern Europe (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, and Turkey). This program aimed at integrating into the international academic network scholars from a region whose scientific resources are as yet insufficiently known, and to stimulate and strengthen the intellectual dialogue at a regional level. Regional Fellows received a monthly stipend and were given the opportunity of a one–month research trip abroad. At the end of the grant period, the Fellows were expected to submit papers representing the results of their research, published in the NEC Regional Program Yearbooks series.

  • The Britannia–NEC Fellowship (2004 - 2007)

This fellowship (1 opening per academic year) was offered by a private anonymous donor from the U.K. It was in all respects identical to a NEC Fellowship. The contributions of Fellows in this program were included in the NEC Yearbooks.

  • The Petre Ţuţea Fellowships (2006 – 2008, 2009 - 2010)

In 2006 NEC was offered the opportunity of opening a fellowships program financed the Romanian Government though its Department for Relations with the Romanians Living Abroad. Fellowships are granted to researchers of Romanian descent based abroad, as well as to Romanian researchers, to work on projects that address the cultural heritage of the Romanian diaspora. Fellows in this program are fully integrated in the College’s community. At the end of the year they submit papers representing the results of their research, to be published in the bilingual series of the Petre Ţuţea Program publications.

  • Europa Fellowships (2006 - 2010)

This fellowship program, financed by the VolkswagenStiftung, proposes to respond, at a different level, to some of the concerns that had inspired our Regional Program. Under the general title Traditions of the New Europe. A Prehistory of European Integration in South-Eastern Europe, Fellows work on case studies that attempt to recapture the earlier history of the European integration, as it has been taking shape over the centuries in South–Eastern Europe, thus offering the communitarian Europe some valuable vestiges of its less known past.

  • Robert Bosch Fellowships (2007 - 2009)

This fellowship program, funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation, supported young scholars and academics from Western Balkan countries, offering them the opportunity to spend a term at the New Europe College and devote to their research work. Fellows in this program received a monthly stipend, and funds for a one-month study trip to a university/research center in Germany.

New Europe College has been hosting over the years an ongoing series of lecturesgiven by prominent foreign and Romanian scholars, for the benefit of academics, researchers and students, as well as a wider public. The College also organizes international and national events (seminars, workshops, colloquia, symposia, book launches, etc.).

An important component of NEC is its library, consisting of reference works, books and periodicals in the humanities, social and economic sciences. The library holds, in addition, several thousands of books and documents resulting from private donations. It is first and foremost destined to service the fellows, but it is also open to students, academics and researchers from Bucharest and from outside it.


Beside the above–described programs, New Europe Foundation and the College expanded their activities over the last years by administering, or by being involved in the following major projects:

In the past:

  • The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Religious Studies towards the EU Integration (2001–2005)

Funding from the Austrian Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft enabled us to select during this interval a number of associate researchers, whose work focused on the sensitive issue of religion related problems in the Balkans, approached from the viewpoint of the EU integration. Through its activities the institute fostered the dialogue between distinct religious cultures (Christianity, Islam, Judaism), and between different confessions within the same religion, attempting to investigate the sources of antagonisms and to work towards a common ground of tolerance and cooperation. The institute hosted international scholarly events, issued a number of publications, and enlarged its library with publications meant to facilitate informed and up-to-date approaches in this field.

  • The Septuagint Translation Project (since 2002)

This project aims at achieving a scientifically reliable translation of the Septuagint into Romanian by a group of very gifted, mostly young, Romanian scholars, attached to the NEC. The financial support is granted by the Romanian foundation Anonimul. Seven of the planned nine volumes have already been published by the Polirom Publishing House in Iaşi.

  • The Excellency Network Germany – South–Eastern Europe Program (2005 - 2008)

The aim of this program, financed by the Hertie Foundation, has been to establish and foster contacts between scholars and academics, as well as higher education entities from Germany and South–Eastern Europe, in view of developing a regional scholarly network; it focused preeminently on questions touching upon European integration, such as transnational governance and citizenship. The main activities of the program consisted of hosting at the New Europe College scholars coming from Germany, invited to give lectures at the College and at universities throughout Romania, and organizing international scientific events with German participation.

  • The ethnoArc Project–Linked European Archives for Ethnomusicological Research 

An European Research Project in the 6th Framework Programme: Information Society Technologies–Access to and Preservation of Cultural and Scientific Resources (2006-2008)
The goal of the ethnoArc project (which started in 2005 under the title From Wax Cylinder to Digital Storage with funding from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation and the Federal Ministry for Education and Research in Germany) was to contribute to the preservation, accessibility, connectedness and exploitation of some of the most prestigious ethno-musicological archives in Europe (Bucharest, Budapest, Berlin, and Geneva), by providing a linked archive for field collections from different sources, thus enabling access to cultural content for various application and research purposes. The project was run by an international network, which included: the “Constantin Brăiloiu” Institute for Ethnography and Folklore, Bucharest; Archives Internationales de Musique Populaire, Geneva; the Ethno-musicological Department of the Ethnologic Museum Berlin (Phonogramm Archiv), Berlin; the Institute of Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest; Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Coordinator), Berlin; New Europe College, Bucharest; FOKUS Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems, Berlin.

Ongoing projects:

  • The Medicine of the Mind and Natural Philosophy in Early Modern England: A new Interpretation of Francis Bacon (A project under the aegis of the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants Scheme) – In cooperation with the Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study, London (since December 2009)

  • Business Elites in Romania: Their Social and Educational Determinants and their Impact on Economic Performances. This is the Romanian contribution to a joint project with the University of Sankt Gallen, entitled Markets for Executives and Non-Executives in Western and eastern Europe, and financed by the National Swiss Fund for the Development of Scientific Research (SCOPES) (since December 2009)

  • Civilization. Identity. Globalism. Social and Human Studies in the Context of European Development(A project in the Development of Human Resources, under the aegis of the National Council of Scientific Research) – in cooperation with the Romanian Academy (starting October 2010)

  • The EURIAS Fellowship Programme, a project initiated by NetIAS (Network of European Institutes for Advanced Study), coordinated by the RFIEA (Network of French Institutes for Advanced Study), and co-sponsored by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme - COFUND action. It is an international researcher mobility programme in collaboration with 14 participating Institutes of Advanced Study in Berlin, Bologna, Brussels, Bucharest, Budapest, Cambridge, Helsinki, Jerusalem, Lyons, Nantes, Paris, Uppsala, Vienna, Wassenaar. The programme will issue its first call in the nearest future.

  • DOCSOC, Excellency, Innovation and Interdisciplinarity in doctoral and postdoctoral studies in sociology (A project in the Development of Human Resources, under the aegis of the National Council of Scientific Research) – in cooperation with the University of Bucharest (starting July 2010)

Other projects are in the making, often as a result of initiatives coming from fellows and alumni of the NEC.

Present Financial Support
The State Secretariat for Education and Research of Switzerland
The Federal Ministry for Education and Research of Germany
The Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture of Austria
Le Ministère Français des Affaires Etrangères – Ambassade de France en Roumanie
The Ministry of Education, Research and Innovation – the Executive Agency for Higher Education and Research Funding, Romania
Landis & Gyr Stiftung, Zug, Switzerland
Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (DaimlerChrysler–Fonds, Marga und Kurt Möllgaard–Stiftung, Salomon Oppenheim–Stiftung, and a member firm), Essen, Germany
A Private Foundation based in the Netherlands
VolkswagenStiftung, Hanover, Germany
The Getty Foundation, Los Angeles, USA
The Swiss National Science Foundation, Bern, Switzerland
Seventh Framework Programme of the European Communities, ERC Executive Agency

The Adevărul Holding – Foreign Policy, Romania
The Romanian Union of Architects (UAR)

New Europe College -- Directorate

Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Andrei PLEŞU, Rector
Professor of Philosophy of Religion, Bucharest; former Minister of Culture and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania

Marina HASNAŞ, Executive Director

Dr. Anca OROVEANU, Academic Director
Professor of Art History, National University of Arts, Bucharest

Dr. Valentina SANDU-DEDIU, Deputy Rector
Professor of Musicology, National University of Music, Bucharest

Administrative Board
Dr. Katharina BIEGGER, Head of Admissions Office, Deputy Secretary, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
Mag. Heribert BUCHBAUER, Director Department for International Research Cooperation, Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research, Vienna
Andrea FISCHER, Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, Essen
Regula KOCH, Director, Landis & Gyr Stiftung, Zug; President, Wissenschafts- und Kulturzentrum NEC Bukarest-Zug
Dr. Dirk LEHMKUHL, Chair for European Politics, University of St. Gallen; Director of Programmes International Affairs & Governance; Center for Governance and Culture in Europe, University of St. Gallen
Dr. Florin POGONARU, President, Business People Association, Bucharest
Dr. Cristian POPA, Deputy Governor, Romanian National Bank, Bucharest
MinR‘in Dr. Erika ROST, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Bonn
Dr. Heinz–Rudi SPIEGEL, Formerly Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, Essen

Academic Advisory Board
Dr. Horst BREDEKAMP, Professor of Art History, Humboldt University, Berlin
Dr. Edhem Eldem, Professor of History, School of Arts and Sciences, Boǧaziҫi University, Istanbul, Turkey
Dr. Luca GIULIANI, Rector, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Professor of Archaeology, Humboldt University, Berlin
Dr. Dieter GRIMM, Professor (emer.) of Law, Humboldt University, Berlin
Dr. Ivan KRASTEV, Director, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia
Dr. Vintilă MIHAILESCU, Professor of Anthropology, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest
Dr. Ioan PÂNZARU, Professor, Department of French Language and Literature; Former Rector of the University of Bucharest
Dr. Ulrich SCHMID, Professor for the Culture and Society of Russia, University of St. Gallen; Head of the Center for Governance and Culture in Europe, University of St. Gallen
Dr. Victor I. STOICHIȚĂ, Professor of Art History, University of Fribourg
Dr. Alain SUPIOT, Director, Permanent Fellow, Institut d'Etudes Avancées de Nantes

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