The Faculty of Law and Political Science (FLPS) at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) and the Division of Political Science and Sociology at the University of Salzburg Austria initiated their third year of cooperation in July 2021 based on the Joint MA Political Science – Integration & Governance (PoSIG) degree program and the European Union’s Erasmus+ funding for master’s and bachelor’s degrees. The agreement with Austria offers one fully covered semester abroad to study comparative politics and political communication, as well as a two-year MA degree program with a comparative focus on Central Europe, the Balkans, and the Caucasus region.
The first group of four FLPS Erasmus+ students registered for the joint program in Austria in the fall of 2019 and arrived in the City of Mozart on Valentine’s Day, February 2020, only to face a total lockdown of the campus as of the 10th of March, three weeks into their studies. However, they were able to successfully finish their semester in Salzburg. Whereas the first contingent was made up of two MA and two BA students, the second group consisted of two BA students, who attended classes virtually from Lebanon as of mid-February 2021 and arrived in Austria in late March, carrying out a combination of blended online classes and person-to-person interaction with professors and fellow students.
Dr. Franz Kok, the Executive Director of the PoSIG consortium, pointed out that this cooperation is laying the foundation for our future work in the Levant and greater MENA Region. “We are very satisfied with the Lebanese participation from NDU. Students are able to grasp both theoretical frameworks and political theories, as well as applied fields.”
Professor Eugene Sensenig from FLPS, emphasized the importance of these exchange programs not only with Central Europe but also with universities in the Balkans which share a common history with Lebanon. Sensenig said: “Despite the lockdown, we were able to prepare our FLPS students and equip them with micro and macro skills, in addition to the right tools to succeed abroad.”
For the coming academic year, the University of Salzburg is again offering FLPS students a one-semester scholarship, and one student has already been selected for the Fall term 2021. In addition to the semester abroad Erasmus+ scholarships, PoSIG provides political science master's students with a two-year degree program in which they study good governance and European integration. In the first year, students take courses at one or both partner universities in Salzburg or Ljubljana Slovenia. Courses in the second year are offered in one or two of the Western Balkan partner universities. Applicants from Lebanon for PoSIG may apply via FLPS.
Jennifer Houeiss, a FLPS graduate just finished her first year in Salzburg university and is currently preparing her second year as an MA candidate in Eastern Europe. Houeiss considered her intensive experience this year to be a new bridge between NDU and central and Eastern Europe, stating: “I became aware of the shared struggles we have with respect to rule of law and integration.” Despite the dire situation in Lebanon, Houeiss would like to invest her acquired knowledge in her country’s future after graduation.
Links and Pictures available at this link.
: First Group of Erasmus Plus FLPS-NDU students at the Austrian Embassy in Beirut.
: First Group of Erasmus Plus FLPS-NDU students with Dr. Franz Kok in the University of Salzburg.
: First Group Erasmus Plus FLPS-NDU students with Dr. Franz Kok in the University of Salzburg celebrating a successful semester.
: Second group Erasmus Plus FLPS-NDU students meeting with MA PoSIG student in Salzburg.
: Jennifer Houeiss celebrating a successful first year with PoSIG in Salzburg with Dr. Franz Kok.