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Chair’s message – November 2016

In 2017 UACES will mark its 50th anniversary. When we began planning the celebrations we could not have known that 2017 would also see the start of negotiations between the UK and the EU27 to take the UK out of the European Union.  The UACES committee confirmed in its meeting of 7 October 2016 that the association, from its base in the UK, remains committed to supporting its members in their academic study of European integration, and we welcome thoughts from our membership on how UACES we may best do this in the coming years (email admin@uaces.org). Members will find food for thought on the matter of the UK-EU saga in issue 4 of our online, open-access journal JCER in the form of substantial reflections from Helen Wallace (our honorary president), Michael Shackleton (UACES patron) and several other colleagues to whom we are very grateful for their time and support.

For now as an organisation we are focused on our sustainability, and this includes limiting our exposure to the risks of ‘Brexit’.  In this regard we have already been successful in securing new funding that underpins our ability to serve our members.  Our partnership with the James Madison Charitable Trust (JMCT) has delivered a 2-year (2017-2018) programme to expand the student travel fund that we currently run for our doctoral student members: here, we are doubling the number of scholarships available (worth £1500 each) in 2017 and 2018 from four to eight.  The collaboration has also allowed us to create a new prize for the best article published by an early-career scholar in JCER. The prize, worth £500, will be named for our late Executive Director Luke Foster, and will be awarded on the basis of readers’ votes.  Two runner-up prizes worth £250 each will also be awarded, and our 2017 annual conference in Krakow will be the first occasion for the celebration of these prize-winners. We are delighted that the JMCT trustee charged with overseeing our venture is none other than Stanley Henig, a former UACES chair and renowned scholar of European integration. He will be closely involved in shaping our new partnership which also includes funding to support our 2017 and 2018 annual conferences and a one-off event in 2017: a UACES 50th birthday celebration.  Details will follow in due course.

Funding-wise I am also pleased to announce the success of our European Commission Jean Monnet funding bid (worth €60,000 over 2017-2018). Our project is entitled Europe in the Archives, Europe in the Future and will fund a number of opportunities revolving around the transfer of our half-century of archives to the Historical Archives of the European Union at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy.  We are working with the EUI to plan a flagship event and other activities and I will report in more detail in the next newsletter as our plans unfold.  Once the UK becomes a 3rd party country outside the EU our eligibility to apply for such funding – typically a core source of UACES income – will of course change, and we will be keeping ourselves informed as best we can.  In this context we will continue to seek to diversify our income streams, and to this end I am grateful to committee member Simon Lightfoot for taking a lead role in exploring what our strategy might look like in this respect.

Sustainability is indeed not only a question of funding but of people willing to serve on the committee or otherwise support the association. Crucially, we are now looking for a new Secretary to succeed Rebecca Zahn when her term of office expires in September 2017.  Rebecca’s part in steering the association through the last few difficult years has been absolutely vital, and I know that she will be happy to informally discuss the nature of the role with any interested parties. Please just get in touch if you think you may like to stand for the post.  Which brings me to my own successor.  I am currently serving a second 3-year term as Chair and this comes to an end in September 2018 (at the Bath annual conference).  The election to stand as chair will take place in Spring 2018 and I would encourage my successor to shadow me in June 2018 as I did my predecessor Richard Whitman, a long time ago in 2012.  Please give serious thought to who you would like to see as UACES chair at what will be a hugely fruitful time for the study of Europe, and get in touch (h.p.drake@lboro.ac.uk).

I end on the sad note that one of my predecessors as UACES chair, Clive Archer, sadly died on 13 September 2016. We remember him in detail here but as chair I would like to extend my condolences to Clive’s family and friends. Clive was always supportive and smiling and I personally have touching memories of his kindness.

Helen Drake, Loughborough University

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