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Gateway Week

November 13, 2015
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IU Europe Gateway Office Information

Indiana University recently re-affirmed its ties to the Freie Universität Berlin and inaugurated IU’s new Europe Gateway office in Berlin, Germany and due to my participation in the Graduate student transfer program between IU and Freie, I was invited to the celebratory events. The week kicked off on Monday, November 2, 2015 with a seminar concerning transatlantic data privacy, “The Data Dilemma: A Transatlantic Discussion on Privacy, Security, Innovation, Trade, and the Protection of Personal Data in the 21st Century.” This panel included the Hon. Julie Brill, US Federal Trade Commissioner; Hon. Dr. Alexander Dix, Berlin Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information; and Fred Cate, Vice President for Research, Distinguished Professor and C. Ben Dutton, Professor of Law, Indiana University; serving as moderator. The main discussion between the panelists was the European Court of Justice’s recent decision to invalidate the Safe Harbor covenant, which previously functioned as a transatlantic agreement between countries enabling them to transfer data between the United States and Europe. The two hour discussion focused on the many repercussions of this nullification, such as the re-creation of United States data privacy regulations with respect to data collections of European employees and/or companies. All panelists agreed that HR 2048, the U.S. Freedom Act, is a good start to the needed privacy revisions, but in order to fully comply with the ECJ’s mandate, more modifications are needed. Overall, all agreed that heightened data collection procedures will result in a stronger global connection between the U.S. and Europe, and all were confident that the current dialogues regarding data privacy were a step in the right direction.

On Thursday, November 5th, Indiana University’s President McRobbie inaugurated the new IU European Gateway office in a formal ceremony at the CIEE Global Institute. Located in the Kreuzberg section of Berlin, Germany, IU’s newly opened office will serve as a home base for IU’s European activities. IU students in Berlin will now have a home university office from which to access academic activities such as conferences, research programming as well as executive and corporate training. Various individuals received recognition for their part in establishing IU’s Gateway office, such as Mark Renner, a 1994 graduate of IU who came to the U.S. via a DAAD scholarship. Mr. Renner is currently the president of the Berlin chapter of the IU Alumni Association and was instrumental in opening the Gateway office in Berlin. He received the Distinguished International Service Award for his efforts in the project. After President McRobbie unveiled the new plaque for the Gateway office, participants at the ceremony were treated with an operatic performance by IU Jacobs School of Music alums Nadine Weissman, mezzo-soprano and Andrew Crooks, pianist, both of whom are accomplished European musical artists. As one of the many individuals in attendance that night, I can truly state it was an honor to be witness to the historic Gateway opening, and in this age of globalized connections and cooperation, I was struck once again by the close and long-lasting ties between Bloomington’s Indiana University and the Freie Universität Berlin.

IU Europe Gateway Office

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