The Institute of English and American Studies, joined by the Hungarian-American Fulbright Commission, is celebrating the silver jubilee of its foundation this month at the University of Debrecen.
It was in the wake of the so-called political regime change in the 1990s in Hungary that institutions and schools offering American Studies as a university discipline could be established. At the legal predecessor of UD, students could take courses in American Studies for the first time in a new, officially recognized, format as of the 1991/1992 academic year. As founding director of the institute Zoltán Abádi Nagy
recalled at the conference “English and American Studies Then and Now,” launched on September 2, the contemporary management of the University of Debrecen regarded it important to establish the institutional framework for this newly offered discipline in an institute comprising the already existing program in English studies, which consideration then resulted in the foundation of IEAS.
Vice-Rector for Educational Affairs Elek Bartha also pointed out at the opening of the conference that looking back upon the events that had taken place twenty-five years ago could also function as a review of the time period we recognize as one of political transition.
Parallel with the official recognition of programs in American Studies, the American Fulbright Commission could also launch its initiative to open an office in Hungary for providing prestigious scholarship opportunities to Hungarian and American scholars. Executive Director of the Hungarian-American Fulbright Commission Károly Jókay also underlined the fact at the opening event that the
University of Debrecen had been among the first founders of their joint program in Hungary.
During the course of the past twenty-five years, there have been almost thirty visiting and guest professors teaching and doing research in Debrecen as international Fulbright scholars.
At the conference on September 2 and 3, participants could even attend a lecture on contemporary Native American humor, but the series of recollections about the foundation of the institute would also continue through a number of other events spanning the whole month of September.
, Head of the North American Department of IEAS, said that there would be a reunion of former students of American Studies during the second half of September, where the alumni could talk about their individual career paths since graduation, but the department would also be present at the upcoming event called Kutatók Éjszakája
[Researchers’ Night] with several projects, one of which would be focusing on an expert analysis of the currently running US presidential campaign.