Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Vienna

EU higher education system; (Mar. 15, 2010)

There are currently hot discussions on what kind of university system students in the European Union want.

For example, Vienna is welcoming 46 education ministers of Europe on March 11 and 12, 2010 to celebrate the anniversary of 10 years of the Bologna (in Italy) accord.

In 1999, 29 European States adopted a common declaration for the creation of a “European higher education space” to be applicable in 2010, so that any university student can transfer to other universities within Europe.

For this objective, there was the need to agree on:

1.  Compatible diplomas and curriculum.  The first diploma or cycle (bachelor degree) was to be of 3 years and obtained within the Nation-State of the student; the second cycle or masters was to be of 2 years and the PhD degree could be obtained at any university selected by the student across borders.

2. This accord was to encourage mobility and promote professional formation.  Universities agreeing to compatible standards were evaluated twice a year.  Although this accord was not initiated by the EU it benefited from the active support in investment by the European Investment Bank for modernizing university programs and infrastructure toward research/development and innovation/competitiveness.

While the ministers of education are celebrating, a counter movement is actively demonstrating in Vienna.  The movement is denouncing the non-democratic accord (non participation in reforms by the people) and worrying that universities are being transformed into centers for market oriented products (students) instead of graduating well-rounded conversant graduating students in world challenges and problems that require global resolutions.

Ulrich Beck, a German sociology emeritus professor who regularly teaches at Harvard, is worried that the first cycle of 3 years is inevitably dropping general knowledge courses and pressuring students to attend 60 hours of courses per week.  He claims that universities are still educating within the Nation-State concept.

For example, the notion of Nation is transformed into Nation-State, society in general into national society, and history into the national history in order to strengthen national unity and cohesion.  These programs inevitably translated into imperialism tendencies in mentality and practices.

Thus, modern general knowledge in Europe should no longer be exclusively focused on national education (this should be the job in secondary schools), but emphasis should be on modern international understanding of challenges and problems.

Global resolution is the job of the educated masses as well as the elite classes.

General knowledge should be intended into forming international citizens ready to participate in solidarity with developing states

I suggest that the accord of Bologna restructures the academic first cycle program as follows:

First, the first cycle needs to be split into two qualifications or degrees and extended to 3 and a half-year.

Second, Qualification (A) of 18 months should be related to world challenges such as environment, poverty, health, deforestation, decimation of species, solidarity associations, NGO, the European Union organization, policy making procedures, and so forth.

This general knowledge on world challenges and global resolution program can be selected by the student among the universities across borders that have excellent current general knowledge programs; anyway, most subtends would love to spend time away from their nation-state for a change as they graduate from high school.

Third, Qualification (B) of 2 years will focus on the fields of interest for market demands or job carrier.  This cycle will be done within the nation-state universities.

Otherwise, many universities will experience harsh competition from heavy weight more famous and solidly grounded universities in the more developed States in Europe and be forced to close down.

This suggestion combines the need for global general education and encourages universities to upgrade their programs related to global challenges and resolutions.

This reformatting of the first cycle is a pragmatic solution that transforms universities into centers of equality among classes differing in financial means and privileges.

It is imperative to bridge the chasm between inter-connected cosmopolitan elite and the medium and lower classes in matters relevant to decisions on global resolution.

Otherwise, middle classes people will be forced to think and work locally; thus, unable to compete globally and reduced to frequent upheavals in a fast internationally changing environment.

The barbaric Catholic Church; (October 13, 2009)


            There is a resurgence of Islamophobia in France couched under the pretext of discovering the origins of European civilization as a combination of Greek and Christian cultures. It would be worthwhile to set the historical facts straight for any meaningful reply.

            Since 325 AC to around 700 AC there was a Christian Empire dominated by Byzantium with Capital in Constantinople. This empire was to the east of the Euphrates River, crossing Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, all the way to England and including North Africa. It was basically a Mediterranean Sea Empire.  To the west of the Euphrates River there was a Persian Empire, mostly under the Sassanide Dynasty.  The Arabic Empire did not conquer the western part of Turkey which remained with the Byzantium Empire until 1450 when the Ottoman Sultan Muhammad 2 entered Constantinople and spread all the way to the borders of Vienna in Austria.

            In around 1000 a major schism in Christianity split the Catholic Church of Rome with the Christian Orthodox Church of Constantinople. Actually, the initial Crusade campaigns had for objective to conquer Constantinople and coerce the Orthodox Church into uniting with Rome. That is what took place and Constantinople was ransacked and burned before the Crusading forces marched on toward Jerusalem. The other successive Crusading incursions had for objective to capture Egypt and free the spice routes directly to Europe without paying taxes to the Moslem Kingdoms along the maritime and land caravan routes.

            Thus, from 325 to 1450 Europe was Christian.  Why Greek civilization, if Europe insists on taking the source of its culture from antique Greece, was not prevalent during over 11 centuries?  Why Europe remained barbaric till the 15th century?  Is it because the Christian dogma of Rome was barbaric and refused other civilizations and cultures to infiltrate Europe?  Certainly the Christian clerics were at least bilingual, mostly Latin and Greek, and consequently, if Greece had any culture it would have been translated into Latin. Some would give the lame excuse that the scholars in Europe, mostly the clerics, could read the Greek manuscripts in their original forms and had no need to translate any manuscripts into Latin or other live languages; this would be another proof that the Catholic Church of Rome was barbaric and refused philosophical and scientific disciplines to penetrate into Europe.

            Europe experienced a demographic surge around 1000 AC; it is after getting in contact with the Near East culture and civilization (under Arabic/Islamic kingdoms) during the Crusading campaigns that culture entered Europe from the open door.  Even after the total defeat of the Crusaders in 1200 the Near East culture permeation would continue via Andalusia in southern Spain. The Arabic/Moslem civilization in Spain was the main source for the transfer of sciences into Europe until the “Christian” Spanish monarchs conquered completely Spain in around 1400 and chased out Moslems and Jews from its territory.

            Greece after Aristotle did not produced much in culture.  It was just a brilliant century for the City-State of Athens during Pericles period, as so many glorious periods for a dozen other City-States that dotted the Mediterranean shores and the Euphrates River, from Mary, Harran, Edessee, Ugharite, Tripoli, Byblos, Beirut, Sidon, Tyr, and much later Alexandria, Antiochus, and Ephesus, and on that scholars and archeologists have to start focusing on for the origins of civilizations.  The proof is that the Byzantium Empire that was established in Greece for over 11 centuries is no where mentioned as source for any worthwhile civilization.

            Macedonian warriors under Alexander conquered the Near East; it is not because the Near East people, from Alexandria, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and coastal Turkey, who assimilated the Greek language and spread their own culture and civilization in the Greek language that Europe has to claim its civilization to Greece. Europe should not. It is the Near East culture and civilization that assimilated the languages of the various conquerors (Mesopotamians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs from the Arabic Peninsula, Ottomans from the Turkish Plateau, French colonialism, and English colonialism) that absorbed and disseminated the fundamental cultures and civilizations to its neighboring environment.  

            It is not because of the invasion of nomadic warriors from the Arabic Peninsula that Arabic civilization should be labeled Arab.  Why the Mogul Empires that lasted longer than many Empires and stretched much further than many are not given any civilization?  It is a shame that Europe still feels the urge to attribute civilization to military conquering warriors.


Note: The title was meant to be catchy to drive through the purpose of the topic. I have no zeal to dwell into religions of any kinds. I would like readers to refer to my recent post “Damascus saved the Greek culture”.




October 2020

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