During this year's SPS Summer Academy, a select group of 30 master students from across Europe participated in a week-long series of lectures, workshops, as well as formal and informal presentations of the EUI's PhD programme and social activities.
The programme introduced participants to important research questions in the study of democracy and society in Europe. It provided a fresh perspective on the major challenges faced by contemporary European societies. Lectures by SPS Professors Simon Hix, Ellen Immergut, Filip Kostelka, Arnout van de Rijt, and Waltraud Schelkle covered topics ranging from transnational solidarity to the latest trends in political participation.
An invited guest lecturer, Assistant Professor Marta Kołczyńska from the Polish Academy of Sciences, tackled the question of political trust in turbulent times. Finally, SPS Professor Hanspeter Kriesi's keynote lecture asked if there was a crisis of democracy in Europe and emphasised the importance of elites' commitment for the survival of democratic regimes.
During two workshop sessions led by EUI Max Weber Fellows, Alexandra Jabbour and Jessica di Cocco, together with Advanced PhD Researcher Jonne Kamphorst, students had the opportunity to present their research projects in small groups.
The Summer Academy also offered students the opportunity to learn more about the academic and social life of the EUI. Aside from attending the lectures and workshops, students met current EUI PhD researchers, had opportunities to socialise on and off campus, and discovered the city of Florence through a guided tour.
"I think it was a great opportunity to meet people from the international community and I particularly appreciated the fact that many of the people came from Eastern Europe. It was also a great opportunity to find out more about PhD opportunities in detail both at the EUI and in Europe in general," shared one of the participants.
The SPS Summer Academy aims to open students' academic horizons and promote pan-European academic mobility and collaboration.
"I am very satisfied with the new input that I carry with me. I also had the opportunity to confront my views with others and maybe change them, so I consider this school as a very important point in my academic development so far. Also, I learned a lot about writing a research paper, which is very welcome, since I am currently writing my master's thesis," added another participant of the Academy.
Professors and workshop leaders appreciated the high quality of the contributions made by the students and the overall caliber of academic discussions that took place throughout the week.
Professor Kostelka, the convener of the SPS Summer Academy, said, "This year built on the success of previous editions, but it was also special in that we increased the number of participants by 20% and received significantly more applications from Central and Eastern Europe. This was made possible by the new external funding and generous support from the International Visegrad Fund and our new academic partners, who are eminent scholars from Central and Eastern European universities."
The applications for the next edition of the SPS Summer Academy will become available in spring 2024. Visit the Summer Academy's blog for more information.