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Friday 9 July 2004

 

Professor Helen Wallace

Public Orator, Professor Dave Allen presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony held on Friday 9 July 2004 at 3.00pm.


Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and other officers of the University…..Honorary Graduands, Ladies and Gentlemen and Graduands.

Helen Wallace is today one of the leading scholars of the European Union. She has an international academic reputation that encompasses Europe, the United States and all other parts of the world where an academic interest in the European Union is to be found. This short address will focus on two themes. that for me best sum up Helen Wallace’s contribution. Firstly Helen has always sought to establish meaningful links between the disciplines within the academic community, and between the academic community and the world of practice and applied expertise – a world which includes but which is not limited to government. Secondly, Professor Wallace has worked throughout her career to identify and involve the very best young researchers in Europe and the United States .She has worked tirelessly to prevent the study of the European Union from becoming either indulgently introspective (isolated in ivory towers) or the victim of the exclusivity and cronyism of a particular generation or group of scholars. Wherever in the world the European Union is considered important you will find leading academics and practioners who have been taught by, encouraged or worked alongside Helen Wallace. Her writings are to be found in every University library but it is the network of scholars who recognise both intellectual and personal debts to Helen Wallace that is most striking.

Professor Wallace studied at Oxford and at the College of Europe and had intended to work in the Treasury. Marriage instead took her to Manchester where she completed a PhD on the domestic policy-making implications of Britain’s then EC application – a subject which in the late 60s early 70s Helen characterized as the ‘domestication’ effect of EU membership. Helen’s pioneering work in this area was some 2O years ahead of what has now become the sprawling notion of ‘Euuropeanisation’. Helen was appointed to UMIST to a newly conceived Department of European Studies, similar to and established at the same time as the then Department of European Studies here at Loughborough.

At UMIST Helen and her husband (Professor William (now Lord) Wallace) gathered together a then small group of EC/EU scholars to produce the first edited research text on EU policy-making – a text which is about to be published in its 6th edition and which is recognised internationally for its cutting edge scholarship produced by a constantly updated mix of established and new scholars, From UMIST Helen moved to the Civil Service College including a secondment to the FCO and then in 1985 to the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) to direct the West European Programme. During these years Helen’s own research and writing covered a wide variety of aspects of European integration from work on the Council of Ministers the EU Presidency and EU finances to a study of British and European space policy. Her teaching focused in particular on the need to bring academics and practioners together to mutually enhance their understanding of the workings of the EU – a subject which despite the clarity of Professor Wallace’s writing still mystifies many including, I suspect some of our own graduands here today.

In 1992 Professor Wallace was appointed to a chair at Sussex and there she founded the Sussex European Institute. Under Helen’s leadership the SEI rapidly established a global reputation and has become a formidable and much respected competitor for other centres, such as Loughborough working in this field. In 1998 Helen was appointed to direct one of the largest research programmes on the EU conceived in the UK. The ‘One Europe or Several’ Programme funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council was notable for its pioneering work on the then projected enlargement of the EU and for the platform that it gave most especially to young scholars – a far-sighted strategy pursued by Professor Wallace but not always appreciated by some of older colleagues ( I hesitate to use the term old lags) whose work was not funded. In 2001 Helen moved to the European University Institute in Florence to become the Director of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Study where she has continued to pursues the study of European integration, emphasizing the two themes that I mentioned at the beginning of my oration – encouraging the disciplines like History, Political Science, Economics and Law to work together , encouraging academics and practioners to work together and - above all – encouraging young scholars to work with and to challenge their peers so as to advance our understanding of Europe.

It is pleasure to welcome Helen Wallace back to Leicestershire where she has close family connections and to the University where she was the first external examiner in the then Department of European Studies. Therefore Chancellor I have the honour to present to you and to the whole University, Professor Helen Wallace for the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa.

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Loughborough University - Degree Speeches 2004

H.D.McCullam@lboro.ac.uk, July 2004
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