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May 8, 2008

Historian Victoria de Grazia Named Director
of Institute for the Study of Europe

Columbia University has selected historian Victoria de Grazia as the new director of the Institute for the Study of Europe, a regional affairs institute established in 1947 at the University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Victoria de Grazia
Professor Victoria de Grazia

“Professor De Grazia is an exceptionally distinguished historian of modern and contemporary Europe, whose work combines broad themes, analytical rigor, a keen eye for the telling detail, and, as one review called it, ‘exquisite’ craftsmanship,” said John Coatsworth, dean of the school. “I can think of no one better qualified to give the inspired and effective leadership the institute must have.”

The Institute for the Study of Europe (ISE) is dedicated to understanding the European continent as a whole, its changing configuration and its relations with the wider world. Its mission is to promote critical scholarship and debate on public policy issues related to Europe.

De Grazia, the James R. Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization in Columbia’s history department, earned her Ph.D. in history with distinction from Columbia in 1976. She was also educated at Smith College and the University of Florence. She joined the University’s faculty in 1994 after teaching at Rutgers University.

The ISE will benefit from $350,000 in recent private pledges and new University funding. Columbia’s Harriman Institute provided $100,000 to fund “Great Power in the Mediterranean,” a research project by post-doctoral students Elena Astafieva of the Paris-based National Centre for Scientific Research and Riina Elina Kullaa of the University of Maryland. The project includes a series of workshops to be held in the next academic year and beyond.

Ambassador Donald Blinken and A. Michael Hoffman, co-chairs of the institute’s International Advisory Board, made generous donations totaling $150,000. The final $100,000 came from the Columbia Academic Quality Fund. Together these funds will generate programming at the ISC for the next three years.

“It’s a wonderful challenge to assume the leadership of the institute,” De Grazia said.  “Europe is undergoing enormous changes with respect to the world and the U.S. We count on using the institute’s wide contacts with scholars and students to provide deep and local knowledge about this most complex of the world’s regions.”

In addition to its own activities, and drawing on all of the relevant disciplines, the institute works closely with the Harriman Institute, the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Maison Française, Deutsches Haus, as well as several centers, departments and schools at the University.