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The European Union Centers of Excellence in the United States is a network of eight university programs dedicated to the promotion of the study of the European Union as well as the strengthening of ties between the people of the EU and the United States. The centers operate through teaching programs, as well as academic research and community outreach. Their development has allowed for the growth and improvement of EU studies in US higher education and made them a source of information for a far-reaching US audience.
The centers receive funding from the Delegation of the European Union to the United States and the “Centers of Excellence” title is awarded to those with the highest quality, variety and depth of their programming.
The European Union was created in 1948, post World War II in order to unite European communities. Some of the institutions that make up the European Union are the European Parliament, European Commission, and the European Council. While the United States is not a part of the European Union, the two work together and collaborate in various global issues and trade relations.
EU Centres of Excellence were established in the US and Canada in 1998, based in American universities that best promote the creation and strengthening of people-to-people ties across the Atlantic. There are now 37 Centres located in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States. The grant program in the United States is managed by the Delegation of the European Union to the United States, the representative body of the EU in the dealings with the US government.
The fifth cycle of the grant competition of the EU Centers program took place in 2014, with the following eight centers chosen as the winners:
American Consortium on EU Studies
University of Colorado - Boulder
FIU and University of Miami
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Pittsburgh
University of Texas - Austin
University of Washington - Seattle
In his speech announcing the winners of the 2011 competition, Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, head of the EU Delegation to the United States, 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."
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