7 Juni 2019

13e Arenberg-Coimbra Group Preis, Krakau

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The 2019 Laureate is Ms Janeli Harjus from the University of Tartu (Estonia). Ms Janeli Harjus spent her 5-month Erasmus exchange at Aarhus University in Denmark. After graduating in June 2018 in Tartu, Ms Janeli Harjus’ thesis was awarded the best MA thesis in her programme in 2018.

Ms Janeli Harjus has shown that the value of the Erasmus experience was essential for her future career. The opportunities created by the European Higher Education Area allow students to develop their research interests and contribute to the dissemination of a culture of diversity, discussion and creativity.
In 2016, the Laureate started her Magister Programme of Baltic Sea Region Studies at the University of Tartu. She took the opportunity to spend a term abroad under the Erasmus+ programme and chose Aarhus University in Denmark. The stay in Denmark was essential for focusing her research on the security risks in the region of the Nordic-Baltic countries. The research targeted two main perspectives: affiliation to the strategic aims of NATO as a key security actor in the region, and regional Nordic-Baltic cooperation.

The studies at Aarhus University helped to situate the topic of the thesis within the theories on regional security complexes, relying on the discourse of the Copenhagen School of International Relations. Methodologically the qualitative content analysis was used. Primary and secondary sources were used. Ms Janeli Harjus improved her knowledge of the Danish language and other Nordic languages that she needed for her research. The value added provided an analysis of NATO’s objectives expressed in national security strategies in the Baltic-Nordic countries.

The study stay at Aarhus University was for Ms Janeli Harjus also an enriching multicultural experience. It is clear that the experience of diversity, creativity and discussion at the Coimbra Group member university shaped the choices made by Ms Janeli Harjus, sharpened the perspectives and enabled her to write a genuinely comparative study.

The Selection Committee would like to congratulate Ms Janeli Harjus on this year’s Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize and wish her a successful career based on her research and educational experience.

Speech by Leopold, Duc d'Arenberg

Dear Rectors, Professors, Students, dear members of the Coimbra Group, ladies and gentlemen, mesdames et messieurs, meine Damen und Herren, geachte dames en heren, muy estimados senoras y senores, prezados senhoras e senhores, signore e signori

Je suis très heureux d’être parmi vous à Cracovie, une ville magnifique que j’ai visitée à plusieurs reprises, la dernière fois à l’occasion du mariage d’un de mes amis très chers dont la famille est originaire de la région (en Polonais).

It is always a pleasure for me to be with Coimbra Group to award our Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize to a deserving student of one of your distinguished universities. 

We are here to celebrate our 2019 Laureate, Ms Janeli Harjus from Tartu, who spent her 5-month Erasmus exchange at Aarhus  University in Denmark during the academic year 2017-18.

Our Prize has been federating the universities of the Coimbra Group around this common project since 2006, originally the idea of Professor Guido Langouche of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Minister of State Mark Eyskens, president of the Arenberg Foundation and former Belgian prime minister.

The Arenberg Foundation is a completely independent Think thank for History and is based in Enghien/Edingen, a small town close to Brussels in Belgium.

The aim  of the Arenberg Foundation is, in our own modest way, to contribute to the collective European cultural heritage, also by encouraging people to think for themselves, think “slowly”, think outside the box, but within a historical context, in the long term. We therefore use the Arenberg Foundation to promote History and Culture in a practical and efficient way.

Our vast archives there are open to the public:

  • On Thursdays and Fridays upon appointment. The Arenberg archives are the biggest private archives in the former Low Countries (2.5 km of documents) and cover a thousand years of European history. 

We organize chamber music concerts: 

  • For more than fifteen years, we have collaborated with our Japanese partner Joji Hattori in the Bernese Oberland; this year’s concert took place on March 2nd.

We organize seminars: 

  • On September 18 and 19th, we’ll co-organize and co-sponsor the 9th Arenberg seminar for history in Antwerp where professors and PhD students are going to talk about Heraldic Hierarchies : “Identities, Status and State Intervention in Early Modern Heraldry”.

We publish books and/or help publishing books: 

  • Last year, we published four books. This year, we are going to publish four books as well. 

    To give you an example, we are finalizing a book about “Armed resistance in East Europe between 1945 and 1960”, the result of our very successful seminar organized at the Karl-von-Vogelsang Institute in Vienna in 2017 where thirty young researchers and historians from many East European countries, also from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, discussed what happened in their countries during the dark days of Stalinism after the end of the second world war in West Europe. 

    We are hoping to organize similar projects concerning central and east Europe in the future to promote a better understanding of our respective histories.

    In November, we plan to present an important book in Vienna about “Das Haus Arenberg und die Habsburger Monarchie” in collaboration with the ‘Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Institut für Neuzeit – und Zeitgeschichtsforschung”, based on six years of hard work of twenty collaborators, mainly professors and archivists under the leadership of Dr William Godsey and Dr Veronika Hyden-Hanscho.

    Nous avons quinze projets de livre dans notre pipe line, parmi eux quatre projets de livre en partenariat avec l’Académie Français (Institut de France). Ces livres concernent la période révolutionnaire et couvrent les années 1789-1796. Nous avons également un projet d’écriture avec la Société des Bibliophiles François qui concerne l’histoire de la mode à l’époque de la Renaissance. 

    We have more than fifteen books in the pipeline, among them four potential books with the French Academy, Paris, about the French Revolution, another with the “Société des Bibliophiles François”, Paris, about the way of dressing in the late Renaissance, one more with the Georgetown University in Washington, D.C about the American wounded warriors and their caregivers and finally a project with the Vatican about the mechanisms of peace making in a historical perspective.

We organize old-timer rallies: 

  • Next week, on 9-10 June 2019, we organize once more a two-day cultural old-timer rally, the Arenberg Trophy, with our partners, the Drones Club of Belgium and have plans to do the same in June 2021.

    The purpose of these rallies is to bring people from different cultural and social backgrounds together to help building modestly “l’Europe d’en-bas, l’Europe des gens”, meaning a more democratic Europe.

We have set up four prize awards with competent partners: 

  • We have organized two History Prizes since 1992, the Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize since 2007 and the College of Europe Arenberg Prize since 2013. This fourth Prize promotes written essays about the living together of the people of Europe in a historical and comparative perspective. In this case, our partner is the College of Europe in Natolin, here in Poland.  Vice- rector of the College of Europe,  prof. Ewa Osniecka,  is member of our jury. Please do not hesitate to send us your applications for these Prizes. We are at your disposal to answer any questions you may have. 

We give medals:

  • To people for their good work in the field of culture. On June 1st, at the occasion of the annual meeting of the Arenberg Foundation, we awarded our medal of merit to a young musician and to the curators of the Arenberg exhibition that took place in the Belgian city of Leuven between October 2018 and January 2019. 

We organize conferences and exhibitions: 

  • On 20th of March, we organized a conference about “the geopolitics of energy” in the Belgian Senate and in collaboration with the Senate of Belgium and plan to do the same next year with another conference, the third one of its kind, about “the Russian Federation”, this time in collaboration with several Russian embassies, universities and foundations.

    Last year we collaborated with the Museum “M”, the City of Leuven, the University of Leuven, the Belgian National Archives and set up a large cultural exhibition about “Arenberg en Europa” to promote the European idea and our common destiny. Seventy thousand people visited the exhibition, quite a success. Wij waren echt blij met onze partners zo’on indrukwekkend resultaat te kunnen bereiken en hopen met hen ook projecten in de toekomst te kunnen realiseren.

    And we keep fighting for a public museum open to the general public.

Unsere heutige Preisträgerin heißt Janeli Harjus. Sie kommt aus der Universität von Tartu (Reval auf deutsch) und hat im akademischen Jahr 2017-2018 ein Semester an der Universität von Aarhus in Dänemark verbracht.

Janeli Harjus graduated from the master’s Programme of Baltic Sea Region Studies at the University of Tartu/Reval in June 2018 after having very successfully defended her thesis ‘Nordic-Baltic Perceptions of Shared Security”, supervised by PhD Eva Piirimae. 

During the two year MA programme in Tartu, she had the great opportunity to spend a semester abroad thru the Erasmus exchange programme and chose Aarhus University. She studied there from August 2017 to January 2018 and participated in their master’s programme in Political Science, an experience that was beneficial for developing, conducting research for and writing her thesis. 
The focal point of her thesis was thus the “Nordic and Baltic countries’ perceptions of shared security in the changed security environment after the year 2014”. 

Janeli Harjus examined the security environment from two perspectives, firstly regarding the countries’ affiliation to strategic aims of NATO as the key security actor in the region, and secondly regarding the Nordic-Baltic cooperation. 
“Having a first-hand experience in getting to know the Danish state and society has helped me understand the central research puzzle of my thesis a lot better, and hence conduct a deeper analysis and provide more accurate results. In order to work with perceptions, it is important to be able to see the “problematique” through the eyes of all actors. Having live in a Baltic state for the most of my life, gaining closer insight of a Nordic country was necessary to diversify my views on the region, and I believe it has helped me compose a well-balanced analysis on the topic.”

I heartily congratulate Janeli Harjus on this year’s Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize and wish her a successful career based on her Erasmus exchange experience.

I would also like to join the selection committee in congratulating the other candidates, whose testimonials were additional excellent examples of the impact of their mobility experience and their academic qualities.

Este comentario seria a conclusao da minha breve intervençào de este dia.  Alla prossima volta con molto piacere per una nuova edizione del nostro premio Arenberg-Coimbra Group 2020 . Muchas gracias por su atención y paciencia.

Duc d’Arenberg
Cracovia, June 6th, 2019

Speech of the 2019 Laureate, Janeli Harjus

Thank you, it’s an honour to stand here in front of you today. I’ve been reading about myself being this year’s laureate in e-mails for a while now, but I don't think I actually realized it until making it to Krakow this afternoon. I would like to thank the ArenbergCoimbra Group Prize committee for considering my work worthy of this year’s Prize, it means a lot.

I would also like to thank my universities, both my home university in Tartu and the university of Aarhus, my home for a semester - I’m keeping you both really close to my heart. Of course, there’s also endless gratitude in me to the people who were around me during my MA studies, either for academic or mental support, and who pretty much made it all happen - I wouldn’t be here without them.

And last but not least - I’m sure there are at least some people here who work with the Erasmus+ programme directly - I just wanted to say that you are amazing. What these few brief months of exchange can do is incredible. I’m sure you are aware of what the benefits are academically, but the experience in terms of personal growth is even greater. I’ve been on three exchanges myself and I've seen so many of my friends and acquaintances heading for an exchange and coming back. And they come back happy, open-minded, adventurous, with love for the world around them. And that’s exactly the kind of people the world needs today. Thank you for making this happen.