USF St. Petersburg Signs First American University Collaboration Agreement with South East European University

Interim Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock (left) and Professor Blerim Reka from South East European University sign the collaboration agreement.

Interim Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock (left) and Professor Blerim Reka from South East European University sign the collaboration agreement.

(May 25, 2018) – At a signing ceremony last month, USF St. Petersburg became the first American higher education institution to form a collaboration agreement with South East European University in Macedonia. The agreement signed on April 24, 2018 promotes joint educational and research activities between the two universities, such as allowing for the exchange of visiting scholars to participate on joint projects.

It also begins discussions for developing a future undergraduate and graduate exchange program that would offer students from both universities the opportunity to study in a different country and experience that nation’s culture.

“We are excited for the research opportunities this agreement will give our students and faculty and is just another example of developing new ways for our community to engage globally,” said Interim Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock during the signing event.

South East European University is the first and only private-public not for profit university in Macedonia, established in 2001. It focuses on five concentrations, which are Contemporary Sciences and Technologies; Languages, Cultures and Communication; Law; Public Administration and Political Science; and Business and Economics.

“In 15 years we have become the second largest university in the country, with almost 6,000 students,” said Blerim Reka, Professor of International Relations and Law at SEEU and a former Ambassador.

Reka, who has written two dozen books, is an expert on the Balkans and involved in the development of constitutional frameworks for Macedonia and Kosova, came all the way from Skopje, Macedonia for the signing. While here, he also gave a talk for the USFSP community on the “Geopolitics of the Balkans: Between the West and Russia.” The talk detailed the recent geopolitical events and issues impacting the Balkans, influenced greatly by energy demands, culture, history and the competing forces of the European Union and Russia.

USFSP Political Science Professor Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan, Reka, Tadlock and College of Arts and Science Dean Frank Biafora pose after the signing event.

USFSP Political Science Professor Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan, Reka, Tadlock and College of Arts and Sciences Dean Frank Biafora pose after the signing event.

The collaboration agreement was initiated by USFSP Political Science Professor Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan, who was a Fulbright scholar in Macedonia during the Spring 2017 semester. McLauchlan taught constitutional law and civics courses at South East European University and at the University of Tetovo. Her time in the country – and a previous Fulbright scholarship to Moldova – form the basis for her current research on how civil society can strengthen rule of law efforts.

“At our Undergraduate Research Symposium this year, students from SEEU joined our students via Skype to present research posters comparing and contrasting decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights on different civil liberties issues,” said McLauchlan. “This is just the kind of research collaboration that we hope to foster even more with this agreement.”