The Centre for European Studies (CES) is a multi-disciplinary department in the School of International Studies with 7 core faculty members and more than 60 enrolled students. The Centre aims to promote and enhance understanding and expertise on Europe, the European Union (EU) and Indo-European/India-EU affairs. Since this Centre is multi-disciplinary in nature, teaching and research are done by exposing students to various social science subjects with Europe specific issues, going beyond their parent disciplines. Emphasis is also placed on developing students’ skills for broad-based theoretical research and analysis.
This is one of the new Centers in the School of International Studies which became functional in 2005. The Centre is an outcome of the larger restructuring exercise initiated by the School in 2004. The Centre has come into existence as a result of the merger of the West European division of the erstwhile Centre for American & West European Studies as well as East European division of the erstwhile Centre for Russian, Central Asian and East European Studies. In the context of the swift developments like collapse of the socialist system in Eastern Europe and the ongoing processes of European integration it became obvious that there was no longer any compelling reason to study parts of Europe separately.
Although the Centre is new, it draws on the expertise of very experienced faculty. The West European Studies programme at the School of International Studies was one of the oldest centres in Asia which offered advanced teaching and research programme on contemporary Europe. Prof. Girija K. Mookerjee founded the European Studies programme as part of the Department of International Politics and Organization at the Indian School of International Studies (ISIS) in 1964. He also founded the programme at Jawaharlal Nehru University when the ISIS merged with it in 1971 and West European Studies acquired the status of an autonomous programme in the CAWES.
Similarly, the programme of East European studies had been in existence for over four decades in the School. With changing geo-political realities, this programme had worked within the framework of four different nomenclatures. During the late fifties and sixties it was a part of the International Politics and Commonwealth Studies Programme at the ISIS. In the late sixties it became part of Centre for Russian and East European Studies. In 1975 it started working within the larger Centre called Centre for Soviet and East European Studies. From Soviet disintegration to the latest restructuring, it functioned within the Centre for Russian, Central Asian and East European Studies. The division has seen its role changing from studying Eastern European countries under the socialist system to understanding radical economic and political transformations of the region towards democratic societies and market economies.
At present the Centre offers courses on Research Methodology; European Economic Integration; European Security; EU in World Politics; Identity Issues in Europe; Politics and Society in Central and Eastern Europe; Politics and Foreign Policy of Germany; Foreign and Security Policy of the Baltic States; Social Structure & Dynamics in Europe; Energy Security in Europe; Geopolitics and Regions in Europe; Major Themes in Contemporary Europe; and Europe and the Mediterranean Region. Centre also offered compulsory courses in German and French languages at MPhil/PhD level. The Centre faculty regularly update their courses by adding new readings and is now in the process of extensive revision of the existing courses as Ph.D courses.
The Centre also has an in-house library called the Erasmus Collection which was started by the generous gift of € 50,000 by the Prime Minister of The Netherlands, H.E. Dr. Mr. Jan Peter Balkenende when he visited JNU as part of his state visit to India in 2006. Prof. Ummu Salma Bava coordinated the visit and library. Since then, many more volumes have been added through special Area Study grant by the UGC.
In view of the growing importance of European Studies in India, the University Grants Commission (UGC) recognised the Centre for European Studies as the Centre of advance studies and research on Europe and granted special assistance under the Area Studies Programme.
The Centre has pursued projects in partnership with universities and research institutions and think tanks working on Europe from around the world and aims to continue building on this. International and national academic conferences, workshops, ambassadors’ roundtable and special lectures are regularly organized by the Centre on matters related to Europe and Indo-European affairs and the Centre continues to do so in future. A number of prominent speakers from academia, politics, diplomacy and media regularly deliver lectures at the Centre on European developments. The Centre plans to sponsor a series of public lecture on Europe featuring distinguished speakers from both India and Europe.
In 2018, recognizing the Centre’s work, expertise and contribution to European Studies in India, this Centre has been awarded the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for European Union Studies in India by the European Commission. The Centre of Excellence is being coordinated by Prof Gulshan Sachdeva. The Centre faculty is recipient of four Jean Monnet Chairs held by Prof. Rajendra K. Jain (retired), Prof. Bhaswati Sarkar, Prof. Ummu Salma Bava and Prof. Gulshan Sachdeva. The Centre also got awarded three Jean Monnet Modules and four Jean Monnet Networks and Projects by the European Commission so far. Faculty members of the Centre are part of committees, boards and academic bodies both in India and abroad. Currently the Centre has 74 enrolled research students. The Centre has produced 141 MPhil and 40 doctoral research, and our students are working in academia, government departments and thinktanks .