EU ambassador to discuss EU-U.S. transatlantic trade agreement in IUPUI lecture

The head of the European Union’s delegation to the United States will speak at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis this month.

EU Ambassador Joao Vale de Almeida will deliver a guest lecture from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, in the IUPUI Campus Center theater, on the lower level of the center at 450 University Blvd. The ambassador’s talk will focus on current negotiations for a transatlantic trade agreement between the European Union and the United States.

“The proposed trade agreement would bring together the two biggest economies and trading powers in the world,” said John McCormick, professor in the Department of Political Science at IUPUI. “Combined, the EU and U.S. economies account for almost half of global economic output and about a quarter of global trade.”

Indiana is the EU’s biggest trade partner after Canada, according to McCormick. During Vale de Almeida’s visit to Indiana, the ambassador will also hold meetings at Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s office Nov. 22.

Before presenting his credentials as ambassador to President Barack Obama in 2010, Vale de Almeida served as the director general for external relations at the European Commission, the EU’s executive body. In this position, he helped formulate and execute the EU’s foreign policy and played a key role in preparing for the new European External Action Service introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon.

Vale de Almeida has held several positions with the European Commission, which he joined in 1982 after spending seven years as a journalist. He holds a degree in history from the University of Lisbon and has studied and received training in journalism and management in the United States, France, Japan and the United Kingdom.

The ambassador’s talk, sponsored by the Department of Political Science in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, is sponsoring the event, which is free of charge and open to the general public. Parking, fee applicable, is available in the Vermont Street garage, 1004 W. Vermont St., west of the IUPUI Campus Center.

Rachel Armstrong to Deliver Lecture at the Indianapolis Museum of Art on October 30

The IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute and the Indianapolis Museum of Art will co-sponsor a free public lecture on “living architecture” by TED Fellow Rachel Armstrong on October 30 at 7pm. The event, part of the IAHI’s Lecture & Performance Series and the IMA’s STEM to STEAM Lecture Series, will take place at 7pm in the DeBoest Lecture Hall at the IMA. Reserve your free tickets below.

Rachel Armstrong is Co-Director of AVATAR (Advanced Virtual and Technological Architectural Research) in Architecture & Synthetic Biology at The School of Architecture & Construction, University of Greenwich, London. Senior TED Fellow, and Visiting Research Assistant at the Centre for Fundamental Living Technology, Department of Physics and Chemistry, University of Southern Denmark. Rachel is a sustainability innovator who investigates a new approach to building materials called ‘living architecture,’ that suggests it is possible for our buildings to share some of the properties of living systems. She works collaboratively across disciplines to build and develop prototypes that embody her approach.

Dr. Armstrong was a member of the RESCUE “Collaboration between the natural, social and human sciences in global change research” Working Group, an interdisciplinary body of European experts making recommendations to the EU for strategic investment in interdisciplinary/scientific research of climate change. She was also part of the TARPOL report Targeting environmental pollution with engineered microbial systems, for the European Commission which will be published by Wiley this year. In 2011 Rachel was named as one of the top ten UK innovators by Director Magazine, featured in the top ten ‘big ideas, 10 original thinkers’ for BBC Focus Magazine, and selected as one of BMW/Wired’s Change Accelerators. She has also just released a TED Book on Living Architecture.

“Scientists need to work outside their own areas of expertise to make new technologies that are pertinent to the 21st century and to collaborate, both with other scientific disciplines and the arts and humanities.”

Rachel Armstrong

Dr. Armstrong innovates and designs sustainable solutions for the built and natural environment using advanced new technologies such as, Synthetic Biology – the rational engineering of living systems – and smart chemistry. Her research prompts a reevaluation of how we think about our homes and cities and raises questions about sustainable development of the built environment. She creates open innovation platforms for academia and industry to address environmental challenges such as carbon capture & recycling, smart ‘living’ materials and sustainable design.


Dr. Armstrong’s work includes the study of protocells.  Protocells are a form of organic hardware that is not technically ‘alive’ since they do not possess any DNA. Yet they are capable of life-like behaviour that draws from the self-organizing potential of their ingredients. In keeping with Stuart Kauffman’s notion of ‘order for free,’ the protocells are equipped with remarkable, emergent properties such as, movement, sensitivity and the production of microstructures.

While protocells have numerous engineering applications, which Dr. Armstrong explains in this short video, ‘Toward a Living Architecture’.

Dr. Armstrong is also interested in investigating the artistic potential of new materials, working collaboratively with specialists in the arts and humanities.  With the architect Philip Beesley and the cybernetic engineer Rob Gorbet, she participated in the Hylozoic Ground installation shown at the Venice Biennale in 2010. The group enlarged protocells and encased them in flasks, which were distributed throughout a lattice of small transparent acrylic meshwork designed by Beesley and Gorbet. The protocells performed like smell and taste receptors, sensing carbon dioxide produced by people in the gallery. When carbon dioxide was present, the protocells changed from blue to green or pink to purple.  See a video of the installation here:


In addition to her other accomplishments, Dr. Armstrong has given a number of TED and TEDx talks.  Her talk, “Architecture that Repairs Itself,” will be featured at TEDxIndianapolis on October 22.

TEDFellows Talk: Creating Carbon Negative Architecture


TEDFellows Talk: Architecture that Repairs Itself


Get you free tickets to see Rachel Armstrong’s lecture on October 30 at 7pm at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.


Bolivian author and poet María Cristina Botelho presentation

María Cristina Botelho, renowned author of several books of poetry and short stories, will give two presentations on Monday, October 7, 2013. From 12:00 – 1:15 she will be presenting on the culture and politics of her native Bolivia, “Cultura y política de Bolivia,” in CA 211. From 1:30 – 3:00 in CA 508, Ms. Botelho will be speaking on her own literary works, especially her latest book of short stories, and her inspiration as an author and how she acquired a love for reading and writing from her father.

Ms. Botelho is the daughter of famed Raúl Botelho Gosálvez, who wrote eight novels and was the winner of the highest literary award in Bolivia, but who is known also for his diplomatic appointments. Both presentations will be in Spanish.

Sponsored by the Spanish Club and the Program in Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures. For information please contact

New book by John McCormick makes the case for ‘Why Europe Matters’

The news coming out of Europe in recent years has not been good: high unemployment, recession, austerity, threatened bank collapses, and speculation that the bold experiment of the euro might be on the verge of collapse. But an IUPUI professor of political science argues that the pessimism is misplaced and it is well past time to get the debate back on a productive track.

In his new book, Why Europe Matters: The Case for the European Union (Palgrave Macmillan), John McCormick argues that the European Union is widely misunderstood — on both sides of the Atlantic — and that the debate has for too long been dominated by critics known as euroskeptics.

“Many of their arguments are based on myths and misrepresentations about what the EU does, rather than on a fair and informed assessment,” McCormick said. “They say that the EU is undemocratic, that it is expensive, that it is unresponsive, that it means more — not less — regulation, that it is unpopular, and that it reduces the sovereignty and independence of its state members.”

But while the EU is far from perfect, McCormick said, euroskeptics have exploited confusion and misunderstandings to make its problems seem much worse than they are.

McCormick, professor of political science in the School of Liberal Arts, has been studying and writing about the EU for more than 20 years. A citizen of both the U.S. and the U.K., he was awarded a Jean Monnet Chair in European Union politics from the EU in 2010, and he just spent several months in Europe as Fulbright-Schuman chair at the College of Europe in Belgium.

There has been a rising tide of euroskepticism since the early 1990s, he said, which has moved into high gear since the sovereign debt crisis broke in Greece in 2009.

“The euro suffered from the perfect storm of fallout from the global financial crisis, problems in the design of the euro, a failure by several of its member states to respect the eurozone rules on budget deficits and some foot-dragging by EU governments reluctant to bail out countries that misbehaved,” he said.

The euro crisis zone has created a depressed mood for much of Europe, McCormick said, which has led to several rough years for the EU.

“But people have tended to forget all the good and positive things that have come out of the EU, and more people need to step up and speak up to balance the debate,” he said. “That’s why I wrote the book. I’ve been a longtime supporter of the EU, still believe strongly in what it does, and thought it was time that someone made the case for Europe in the face of all the myths being generated by its critics.”

McCormick why europe matters

John McCormick, Why Europe Matters. The Case for the European Union (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

McCormick argues that the EU has helped bring a lasting peace to Europe (for which it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year); has created new jobs and opportunities; has helped Europeans learn more about what they have in common; and has helped individual member states work together in being a substantial global actor and wield the kind of influence they could not if working alone.

“The EU has a population of more than half a billion,” he said. “It is the wealthiest marketplace in the world, is the biggest trading power in the world, is the biggest source of (and magnet for) foreign direct investment and has shown that it is possible to wield influence without relying on military power.”

McCormick’s book “Why Europe Matters,” argues that the European Union is widely misunderstood on both sides of the Atlantic.

During the time McCormick has been researching and sharing his extensive knowledge of the European Union with IUPUI students, he’s helped bring the Euroculture program to IUPUI, and for 20 years ran a Model EU for students around the Midwest. McCormick has also been a prolific writer, with 13 books to his name.

Included in his publications are textbooks designed to help students understand the complex issues surrounding the European Union. His book Understanding the European Union will soon be coming out in a sixth edition and has been translated into Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Ukrainian, Croatian and Macedonian.

Unlike previous books that focused on an academic audience, “Why Europe Matters” was written for a general audience. McCormick wanted a book that was accessible for readers, feeling that the scholarly research on the EU and its academic nature was contributing little to the debates on the topic.

“I didn’t think that another academic tome would contribute as much to the debate as a book that tried to reach a broader audience by making some of the academic research more accessible and relevant to the debate about the EU,” McCormick said. “And even though the book is about Europe, Americans also stand to benefit by learning more about how the EU works and how its approaches and values are distinctive.”

(The above article was written by Josh Flynn and originally appeared in Inside IUPUI)

Call for applications Paris IAS / Academic year 2014-2015

Call for applications Paris IAS / Academic year 2014-2015

The Paris Institute for Advanced Study welcomes applications from all over the world from established scholars and scientists in the fields of the humanities, the social sciences and related fields for periods of five or nine months, respectively.  Paris IAS will host  twenty international guest researchers for 2014-2015 to work freely on the project of their choice, to benefit from the scientific environment of the Institute, and to create contacts with researchers in the academic institutions of Greater Paris.

Date of publication: February 1, 2013 
Deadline for applications: April 30, 2013

Applicants may request residencies for the following periods:

• 1 September 2014 to 31 January 2015 (5 months)
• 1 October 2014 to 30 June 2015 (9 months)
• 1 February to 30 June 2015 (5 months)


Researchers from all countries are eligible.

Applicants, who have spent more than a total of 12 months in France during the last 3 years prior to the application, are not eligible.

This call for applications is open to :

• Senior Fellows: having a full professorship or seniority at the professor-level and having a minimum of 10 years of full time research experience

• Junior Fellows: Having the status of postdoctoral researcher, holding  a position in a university or research institution, and having  a minimum of 3 and maximum of 9 years of full-time research experience after the Ph.D.Knowledge of French and English is required.


The application, in English or French, should be submitted via an online application system (see our website for a detailed description of the procedure).  Paper applications are not accepted.

For additional information :
About Paris IAS :

Terms and conditions :

Fellow’s Charter :

E-mail address :