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Students from Leipzig to attend 2005 Baker Peace Conference

ATHENS, Ohio (April 21, 2005) -- A group of 15 Leipzig University undergraduates will attend the 2005 Baker Peace Conference on April 21-22 as part of a week-long visit to Ohio University.

The students are collaborating with an Ohio University history class on a research project examining recent tensions in U.S.-European relations. The German students' visit is part of an international research project on "Challenges to Western Unity in the Post-Cold War World" that is being carried out by Ohio University's Contemporary History Institute, department of History and E.W. Scripps School of Journalism in conjunction with their counterparts at Leipzig University.

The project is designed to explore current and recent relation strains between the United States and its European allies, notably France and Germany. Topics include appropriate responses to international terrorism and Islamic radicalism, trade disputes and the economic impact of globalization, war criminals and international courts of justice, global climate change, women's reproductive rights and challenges to U.S. cultural hegemony.

According to Michael Grow, director of the Contemporary History Institute, the Leipzig students' visit is a unique opportunity for students from two countries to collaborate on a common research project and discuss their nations' international disagreements face to face.

"This visit will significantly advance our joint research project with our Leipzig colleagues and further strengthen the long-established Ohio University-Leipzig linkage," Grow said. "But perhaps more importantly, it will provide an unparalleled intellectual and cultural experience for the students involved."

Under the direction of History Professor Gunther Heydemann, the Leipzig students have spent the current academic year investigating U.S. and European responses to Sept. 11, utilizing primary documents and secondary sources. While visiting Ohio University, the Leipzig students will work with the students in History Professor Chester Pach's seminar on recent U.S.-European relations by sharing documents, examining competing interpretations of events and debating issues. In addition to attending the Baker Peace Conference, the Leipzig students will also meet with Ohio University's Cutler Scholars to discuss differing U.S. and European strategies for confronting international terrorist organizations such as al Queda.

The tie between Ohio University and Leipzig University dates back to the late 1800s when John P. Gordy and James E. Le Rossignol received their doctoral degrees from Leipzig and proceeded to join the Ohio University faculty. However, the current exchange program began shortly after the German unification and included the academic areas of contemporary history and journalism. Discussions between these two programs resulted in the first student and faculty exchanges between the universities.

Since then, the Ohio-Leipzig Exchange Program has expanded to include a variety of ways for the two universities to interact. Long and short term academic study sessions encourage students to study their specific major at the partner institution. An internship program has allowed students to fulfill the requirement overseas while giving them the opportunity to work as colleagues in a day-to-day environment. New technology has inspired the use of video conferences for frequent communication between the universities, and campus visits offer students an international experience. Students can also engage in language study through the Ohio Program of Intensive English or the Herder Institute.

In addition, the Ohio Leipzig European Center (OLEC) gives students of all academic majors and years the opportunity to study in Leipzig for college credit. Accompanied by an Ohio University faculty director, students learn about the political, economic, social and technological changes within the European community.

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Media Contact: Media Assistant Marisa Long, (740) 597-2938 or longm1@ohio.edu  

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