A European Summer

Emily Lapworth

This past spring I traveled outside of the United States for the first time in my life. I was on my way to Freiburg, Germany to spend four months in the IES European Union Program. I chose this program because of my interest in international politics and travel, and this opportunity afforded me a lot of both. I learned more about the EU than many European citizens know and I traveled to 13 different countries. It was an amazing experience in every aspect. I made great friends and had lots of fun traveling and visiting cities like Rome, London, Copenhagen, and Tallinn. I went sledding down an entire mountain in the Swiss Alps and I went hiking on the cliffs of the Mediterranean Ocean in Cinque Terre. I visited the UN in Geneva, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, the Reichstag in Berlin, and even interned at the European Parliament in Brussels for a month.

My internship was probably the most exciting and interesting aspect of my study abroad experience. I lived in Brussels for a month and went to work at the European Parliament in the office of Zita Gurmai. Mrs. Gurmai is a socialist member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Hungary whose main interests are women’s rights and gender equality. While compiling information for Mrs. Gurmai’s visit to the U.S., I realized that gender issues are basically nonexistent in American politics right now. I also learned that socialism is a legitimate political ideology in Europe, and although it is a dirty word in American politics, many democratic positions are closer to socialism than democrats would care to admit. Europe as a whole is further left on the political spectrum than the U.S., although many social programs that Europeans take for granted are in danger of being cut by austerity measures. The Socialist & Democrat Party (S&D) that Mrs. Gurmai belongs to is strongly opposed to these cuts.

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IGS Conversations, Nov. 16, Green Growth: Environmentally Smart Economic Development

Do we have to choose between the economy and the environment? Do emerging countries have to destroy their environments to thrive?

What if you could have “green growth?” What if you could eliminate the carbon emissions of 400,000 cars, cut a developing country’s international debt and, in the same deal, shift the economy toward more efficient agriculture?

It’s not fantasy. It’s forests. Fifteen percent of the world’s carbon emissions come from deforestation – more than all the world’s cars, airplanes and trains combined. Cut deforestation and you cut greenhouses gases – with minimal effect on economic growth.

Last year Greg Fishbein of The Nature Conservancy struck the deal I just described in Indonesia; he has arranged similar packages for Brazil, Costa Rica and is working on similar deals in Mexico and China. On Wednesday, November 16 he’s coming to Brandeis to join our next IGS Conversation: Green Growth: Environmentally Smart Economic Development

Wednesday Nov. 16, 7 PM (6:30 for pizza)
Mandel Center Reading Room (3rd Floor)

Featuring Greg Fishbein
Managing Director—Forest Carbon, The Nature Conservancy

Greg will be joined by Stephanie Karol, ’12 and Ben Rifkin, ’12, IGS seniors who will talk about what they learned about green growth while studying in Argentina and Madagascar respectively.

I hope you can join us!

New IGS Class! IGS 150a: The Rise of India

One-Seventh of Humanity.  An Exploding Economy.  Key to Every Global Debate on the Environment, Security and Development.


 IGS 150A: The Rise of India

Spring 2012; Block V: T,Th 5:00 PM–6:20 PM

Taught by Dr. Avinash Singh (avinash@brandeis.edu)