IU President Michael McRobbie recently completed a trip to Europe where he attended several events to strengthen the relationship between IU and several European Universities and institutions.
McRobbie visited Florence, Warsaw and Bologna to celebrate the long-standing relationships with both the University of Bologna and Jagiellonian University in Warsaw. McRobbie also announced during his trip a plan to aid the Uffizi Gallery in Florence by creating digitized, 3-D models of all of its priceless works of art.
During his time in Bologna, McRobbie celebrated the 50th anniversary of one of IU’s most successful foreign study programs. IU has had a partnership with the University of Bologna since the 1960s, during which time more than 1,600 IU students have participated in the program. IU Senior Mila Aharon is one of those students.
“A lot of people do this program without ever having been overseas before, so you fall in love with the city immediately,” Aharon said.
Aharon also said the program isn’t just an academic pursuit for some, but can also be a life-changing moment, with many in the program either returning to the city immediately after college or never even returning to America.
“There are so many people who did the program and never left,” Aharon said. “They finished the program, moved here, got married and had families.”
While in Italy, McRobbie also announced an initiative to collaborate with the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The initiative will seek to scan, digitize and catalog three dimensional models of more than 1,200 priceless works of art.
The project is anticipated to last five years and is being spearheaded by IU professor of Informatics Bernard Frischer. According to an IU press release, officials expect this effort will lead to further collaboration with the Uffizi Gallery and IU’s Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art.
During the later half of his European tour, McRobbie visited Warsaw-based Jagiellonian University. He was joined by Lee A. Feinstein, former U.S. ambassador to Poland and a founding member of the IU School of International Studies.
IU has had a partnership with Jagiellonian University since 1976, a partnership noted due to its establishment during the Cold War, at a time when U.S. relationships with Eastern Europe were strained.
The partnership with Jagiellonian University began in earnest with a joint effort to found the American Studies Center in Warsaw and the Polish Studies Center in Bloomington. It was formalized 20 years ago when the universities began an initiative to begin an exchange program that would involve swapping both faculty and students.
While in Warsaw, McRobbie also signed an agreement with the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews that will allow IU students to intern at the museum during their time in Poland. The museum also has an agreement with the university for a book series called “Jewish Lives In Poland.”
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