The International Studies Institute sponsored a lecture Wednesday featuring Noelle Lenoir, a French international lawyer.
Her talk titled “Europe Reborn: Taking Stock of the European Union’s Response to the War in Ukraine” was held in Morgan Auditorium at noon before an audience of about 30.
Lenoir shared her observations of Europe through different types of conflicts and crises, which she discussed based on four specific crises: the influx of migrants, the bursting of the stock market bubble that led to the 2008 economic crisis, Brexit, and the COVID-19 crisis.
She said all these instances shook confidence in the E.U., then she considered those situations and the E.U.’s responses to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Europe is a political entity, so to avoid war inside Europe and to build together a strong economy, originally this was the project,” she said.
She said that initially the European Union was created to preserve peace internally, but now it has extended its vision to defending democracy against the anti-democratic forces across the world.
Ukraine was invaded by Russia early this year and Lenoir said that the response of the European Union to this conflict was as expected. Different countries across the E.U. came together and publicly supported Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky.
Even Sweden, which has a right-wing prime minister, has been publicly supportive of Ukraine and Zelensky, she said.
Lenoir said that because Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had once said that the greatest mistake of this century was the fall of the Soviet Union, this demonstrated that his ultimate goal has been to overtake surrounding countries.
Lenoir also talked about the rise of extreme political movements, which has caused conflicts and escalated violence.
In Italy there is a president with Mussolini-inspired ideologies, and in France there is Emmanuel Macron, a radical populist, she said.
“I think we were so obsessed with the polarization and divisions in our country, it is important to hear from somebody outside of the United States that similar issues are happening everywhere,” said Gitty Amini, associate professor of political science. “As she mentioned, we (see) the rise of the extreme right and extreme left in lots of places around the world.”
Ahmed Ispahani, professor of business and economics, said that the event meant a lot to him since Lenoir was the first woman to have served in the French Constitutional Court as justice from 1992 to 2001.
He said he hopes she was inspiring to women students here.
Jason Neidleman, interim chair of the International Studies Institute, said that he was pleased to have Lenoir come and speak here.
“We see it from our perspective, but to get it from the perspective of a European who can share with us how that continent is trying to cooperate and coordinate in response to the attack (in Ukraine) that’s what I thought was one of the best parts of the lecture,” Neidleman said.
Lenoir was this year’s Benazir Bhutto and Ahmed Ispahani International Lecture Series speaker.
The series was created by a former student of Ispahani current ULV board of trustees member Paul Mosely in memory of Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister of Pakistan and Ispahani’s cousin, who was assassinated in 2007.
Liliana Castañeda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a previous version of this story, Gitty Amini was referred to as an associate professor of history. She is an associate professor of political science. The Campus Times regrets the error.
Liliana Castañeda, a senior communications major, is the Fall 2022 news editor of the Campus Times. She has previously served as editorial director, arts editor, copy editor and a staff writer.