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Grant Funds EU Student-Exchange Program

Buffalo State has been awarded a four-year, $194,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to manage a four-college consortium and student exchange for the study of transatlantic public administration. The program, called the European Union–United States Atlantis Program, is funded by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE).

Buffalo State received $51,500 for the first year to oversee the U.S. side of the program with SUNY Cortland. EU partners are Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom and Babeş-Bolyai University in Romania. They are funded separately by the European Commission for an equivalent amount.

The funding allows three Buffalo State and three SUNY Cortland students to study overseas during upcoming semesters. In the spring, three British students will study at Buffalo State and three Romanian students will study at SUNY Cortland. Three Romanian students will study here in fall 2010. The funding also allows faculty from the four colleges to travel and lecture abroad.

“The Atlantis Program brings Europeans and Americans together at the ground level for a transatlantic network to learn about what is involved in public policy,” said Laurie Buonanno, professor and chair of political science, who applied for the grant.

Buffalo State’s Political Science Department, which houses the program, is currently seeking three students to study in Manchester in the spring. The deadline to apply is Sunday, September 20. Interested students must be juniors or seniors with a minimum GPA of 2.5 who are majoring or minoring in political science, public administration, international relations, or legal studies. Each will receive $5,000 to defray travel and living expenses.

Students will take courses in politics, ethnic studies, public policy, and foreign language. They will also participate in a public policy internship at a local or regional level, or at an international level with organizations such as the European Commission or the United Nations.

“The students will establish a transatlantic network of lifelong friends and colleagues that will help them become more effective public administrators,” Buonanno said. “The networking that students will experience is so valuable; you never know when you might need to work through transatlantic issues with your counterparts in other countries, especially issues involving regulatory policy and good governance. In the future, they might work together on competition policies, international trade negotiations, or food safety regulations. We need public administrators who are conversant with European and American institutions and policies, and speak the same regulatory language. Globalization no longer permits insulated regulatory regimes among the world’s two largest trading partners.”

Buonanno said transatlantic public administration is an emerging field. She will work with the consortium to produce at least one edited scholarly volume on the subject and create a shared minor by the end of the four years.

Buonanno hopes the exchanges continue long after the grant’s end.

“This program helps us globalize our curriculum,” she said. “It will also strengthen teaching and research for faculty.”