President of Ireland Michael D Higgins.Photocall

On Monday, September 28, Irish President Michael D. Higgins will deliver NYU Law School’s lecture on the state of the European Union.

This year’s lecture will be on the topic of “The European Union, Towards a Discourse of Renewal and Hope,” and will be followed by a question and answer opportunity with the president. There will also be a reception with Higgins immediately after the lecture, which is open to all attendees.

“This lecture is an annual event in honor of Emile Noel, a former secretary general of the European Commission,” Professor Grainne de Burca tells the Irish Voice.

“It’s organized every year by NYU Law School and we normally invite a head of state or a very senior European figure to reflect on the state of the European Union at present. In a way it’s meant to mirror the State of the Union in the U.S.”

This is the 11th year of the lecture series, and the participation of Ireland’s president is a terrific coup for the university and for de Burca, who has organized it this year.

“He’s such an interesting public figure, quite apart from being president of Ireland. He happens to be a very eloquent speaker and someone who is already involved in so many public debates so we’re really delighted.”

There have been times when the state of the European Union elicited a yawn rather than excitement from lecture attendees; this is a time when it is certain to do the latter.

“I’m a European Union scholar and I’m used to people switching off when I announce my subject,” says de Burca, “but they haven’t been doing that for the last five years.

“First we have had the euro crisis, now we have the refugee crisis; we are lurching animatedly from one issue to another it seems. But these are important issues, and crisis often bring opportunity. It will be interesting to hear how President Higgins sees the way forward.”

The lecture will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Vanderbilt Hall, Tishman Auditorium, 40 Washington Square North.

Registration is required to attend the lecture and the reception. Visit