Belgian Consul to Lecture on European, American Patriotism at Mercer

November 3, 2009

Media Contact:
Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037

MACON — Mercer University’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures will host a lecture by M. Benoît Standaert, the Belgian consul general in Atlanta, titled “War and Peace in Europe and the United States since 1945.” The lecture will be held at 6 p.m. on Nov. 5 in Room 251 of Stetson Hall as part of National French Week.

Standaert’s lecture will contrast the European and American patriotism, as each has developed since 1945. Standaert’s contention is that European patriotism is based on a strong pacifist stance, whereas American patriotism has strengthened through participation in a number of wars since 1945. Both these contrasting attitudes have their strengths and weaknesses. For example, Europe still has no real defense capability, preferring to rest behind the American military shield, Standaert contends.

“With Belgium poised to assume presidency of the European Union in January, it will be interesting to hear the Belgian consul’s views on the varying forms that patriotism has taken in the U.S. and Europe,” said Dr. John Dunaway, professor of foreign languages and literatures and director of Mercer Commons.  “And we may gain further insight into how we can better collaborate with our European partners in the increasingly complex world of foreign relations during an era beset by terrorism.”

Standaert was born in Warsaw, Poland, and prior to his posting in Atlanta served as a Belgian consul in Kenya, New York, Burundi, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and the Philippines. He has also served in several positions in Belgium’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prior to joining the diplomatic service, Standaert completed his university training in philosophy and has held various teaching postings in French and philosophy and worked as a publisher in Cameroon and Belgium. Standaert has also written a book on Belgian philosopher Rudolf Boehm and translated one of his works into French.

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,000 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.
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