The network of European Union Centers of Excellence promotes the study of the EU, its institutions and policies and EU-US relations through teaching programs, scholarly research and outreach activities in their local and regional communities. The Delegation of the European Union to the United States funds this initiative as part of a broader effort to promote people-to-people ties across the Atlantic.
In 1998, the European Union organized a competition to support European Union Centers in American universities, devoted to promoting the objectives of the New Transatlantic Agenda, and in particular building civil society "bridges" across the Atlantic.
The EU Centers program has helped create a foothold for EU studies in US higher education and served as an information resource for a broad US audience, with extensive outreach to regional audiences and the policy community. The recipients of awards are designated "Centers of Excellence" in recognition of the high quality, variety and depth of their programming.
2011 marked the fifth cycle of competition of the EU Centers program, with 10 universities chosen from a very strong group of competitors.
Ambassador Joćo Vale de Almeida, head of the European Union Delegation to the United States, in announcing the winners of the grant competition, said, "The EU Centers of Excellence play a vital role in highlighting the importance of the transatlantic relationship and help inform students and the public at large about the European Union. Since it was launched in 1998, the EU Centers of Excellence program has helped EU studies in US higher education, served as an information resource for a broad audience, and facilitated an informed debate about EU-US relations."
The EUCE website (www.euce.org) serves as a portal to the individual Center pages as well as an archive of outcomes and best practices contributed by the network members.
The EU Centers of Excellence grant program is administered by the Washington Delegation of the European Union. The Delegation represents the European Union in its dealings with the US Government for all matters within EU competence or purview. It reports on US developments to headquarters in Brussels and acts as a liaison with other international institutions in Washington, DC. The Delegation's Public Diplomacy program, which includes the EU Centers of Excellence, is a key priority.