IU Bloomington announces series of events commemorating 100th anniversary of start of World War I

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                           

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- On a day that marks the 100th anniversary of the inception of World War I, Indiana University is announcing a series of events for the 2014-15 academic year on the Bloomington campus that will commemorate the impact, importance and legacy of one of the deadliest conflicts in history that fundamentally changed the world.

Along with conferences, lectures, seminars, special classes and other educational activities that will begin this fall, the campus-wide commemoration, “1914-2014: The Great War and Its Legacy for Today’s World,” will feature a one-day roundtable discussion -- to which ambassadors from all of the countries involved in the conflict have been invited -- about the lasting effects of the “war to end all wars” on contemporary global society.

Among those already confirmed to attend the Nov. 4 roundtable event are Hans Peter Manz, Austrian ambassador to the U.S.; György Szapáry, Hungarian ambassador to the U.S.; Philipp Ackermann, deputy German ambassador to the U.S.; and Stephen Bridges, consul general of the United Kingdom in Chicago.

IU’s representatives at the roundtable will include former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, a professor of practice in the IU School of Global and International Studies; former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, a professor of practice in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the School of Global and International Studies; and Lee Feinstein, former U.S. ambassador to Poland and newly appointed dean of the School of Global and International Studies. 

“The true significance of World War I can be found in both the catastrophic loss of life and the war’s continuing impact on the world,” said IU President Michael A. McRobbie, who will chair the roundtable discussion. “World War I truly changed the course of history, and though it began 100 years ago, its impact continues to reverberate in so much of what is familiar to us today, including modern-day warfare, ethnic nationalism, global terrorism, political extremism, government expansion, international peacekeeping and the problems of the Middle East. Indeed, its study continues to help offer understanding of some of the most complex and difficult world problems, many of which we hope to explore during this yearlong commemoration, featuring ambassadors from the countries involved in the tragic conflict, acclaimed historians and other recognized experts on the war.”

World War I has been called The Great War because it is the first modern European conflict that saw the intervention of countries geographically removed from its territory, including Australia, Canada and the U.S. The war also set in motion a series of historical events that culminated in a second world war, which began in 1939 and is the deadliest military conflict in human history.

But the appellation also stands, perhaps above all, for the conflict’s historical legacy and impact on global affairs. The Cold War, the failures of the European colonial powers and the collapse of the Soviet Union and its consequences are all long-term indirect effects of the conflict. 

The IU Bloomington commemoration will also include:

  • Conferences and lectures involving several major World War I scholars, including historians Christopher Clark (Cambridge University), Sir Michael York (Yale University) and Robert Kagan (Brookings Institution).
  • A film series at the state-of-the-art IU Cinema featuring, among other titles, “La Grande Illusion,” “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Gallipoli.”
  • A concert of Benjamin Britten’s “Requiem” organized by the IU Jacobs School of Music, at 8 p.m. Nov. 4.
  • A guided tour of World War I-related art in the IU Art Museum.
  • Interdisciplinary classes and seminars that touch upon many of the various aspects related to the conflict.

The commemorative program will be directed and coordinated, at the request of McRobbie and IU Executive Vice President and IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel, by Andrea Ciccarelli, dean of the Hutton Honors College at IU Bloomington. Ciccarelli is also a professor of Italian and chair of the Department of French and Italian in the College of Arts and Sciences.   

More details about the commemoration, including specific dates and times of events, will be available soon.

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