EU European Commission President Barroso to Give Lecture at Pitt

Issue Date: 
September 21, 2009
José Manuel BarrosoJosé Manuel Barroso

José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission of the European Union (EU), which represents 27 European nations with a population of 500 million, will speak at an invitation-only luncheon at the University of Pittsburgh on Thursday, Sept. 24.

Barroso, who will be in Pittsburgh to represent the European Union at the Pittsburgh Summit of the G-20, first visited the University of Pittsburgh on Feb. 10, 2006, when he toured the University’s European Union Center of Excellence and European Studies Center and gave a lecture that attracted a standing-room-only audience.

“We are delighted that President Barroso will be returning to our region and our campus,” Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said. “We also welcome the opportunity to hear from an individual who embodies the ideals of the University of Pittsburgh—intellectual curiosity, high achievement, humanitarian commitment, and engagement in a purposeful life—and whose accomplishments on the international stage have made him an authority on matters of global importance, including the European Union and its energy policy, prosperity, and future.”

Barroso, former prime minister of Portugal, became president of the European Commission in 2004. In June of this year, the European Council unanimously forwarded his nomination to serve a second five-year term to the European Parliament.

During Barroso’s first term in office, European lawmakers and leaders reached agreement on more than 470 Commission proposals, including a landmark package of laws to fight climate change and promote clean energy. He has championed economic and labor market reforms designed to make Europe more competitive globally. Under his leadership, the European Union Commission was the first international institution to produce a credible recovery plan to confront the global economic downturn.

After graduating in law from the University of Lisbon, Barroso earned a diploma in European Studies and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Geneva. As a distinguished academic, he lectured in political science at the University of Geneva, was a visiting professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and was head of the International Relations Department, Lusíada University. In 1985, he entered the Portuguese Parliament and rose quickly through government ranks as state secretary for home affairs, state secretary for foreign affairs, and then minister for foreign affairs. He was elected prime minister of Portugal in 2002 and two years later resigned from that position to assume the presidency of the European Commission.

He is the author of numerous publications and holds more than 20 decorations, including Portugal’s Grã-Cruz da Ordem Militar de Cristo in 1996; the 1992 Casa da Imprensa Prize for politics; and Spain’s “Medalla de Oro de la Ciudad de Zamora” in 2005.

The European Commission, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, is the executive branch of the EU, setting policy, proposing legislation, and promoting the common interests of the EU.

The University of Pittsburgh’s European Union Center of Excellence and European Studies Center are part of the University Center for International Studies (UCIS). UCIS has been recognized by the Council on Learning as one of the exemplary international studies programs in the United States. The University’s European Union Center of Excellence (EUCE) is one of only 11 centers in the United States to receive this designation by the European Commission. The European Studies Center has been designated as a National Resource Center by the U.S. Department of Education.