Normal Name, Strange University: The Global Network of the European University
June 15, 2012 1 Comment
After writing about private universities in the Balkans last year and the “Oxford” award that a number of universities in the region have received (here, and here), there is another institution that caught my attention. It did not make it into my top ten list, because its name is less interesting and nothing immediately caught my eye, but eventually it did. There is a university in Belgrade, called European University.
Not only by name, it appears to be a very European institution:
So the founder and rector Milija Zečević, who features prominently on the main website (and most other pages here, and here , it is the university’s version of where is waldo?), has a long list of honors, which give the impression that he is in the elite of European Academia, he is a president, an academician, doctor hc, Grand Doctor of Western Philosophy and a Commander of the World Order Science. Wow. That all sounds very impressive. So let’s look at these honors and achievements:
He has an honorary doctorate from the Albert Schweitzer University in Switzerland. Never heard of it? You should, it’s a truly international institution. Its website is in English and Spanish and its president is in Madrid, its rector in Argentina and other functionaries in Warsaw, Spain and Alabama. Very international, but its seems that neither rector or president or any other leading official is based in Switzerland. As the university points out, “ASIU does not grant academic degrees,” but it does seem eager to grant honorary degrees.
And courses does it teach? Well, it seems to offer no courses of its own (“Traditional academic classes will in fact be but a small part of our activities”), but it does refer to a number of institutions, including the London Diplomatic Academy (which among its publications offers the Royal Book of Diplomacy and Science which ”gives biographical data on our members and lists the most important addresses of the diplomatic missions accredited before United Nations. It is a publication of quality and distinction” and some important documents that are hard to obtain elsewhere such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (New in the 2004 edition) and can be purchased for 100 Euros or in the luxury edition for 170 Euros)…. and the European University in Belgrade.
The rector also has a “Grand Doctor of Western Philosophy” and is Commander of the World Order Science from the European Academy of informatization. Now I have never heard of a “grand” doctor, but presumably it is bigger than a regular Doctor. The European Academy of Informatization does not have its own website. There are, however, some sites and online fora suggest that this might not be an entirely serious institution. According to an article in La Libre, a Belgian publication, this Academy also granted a title to the late dictator of Turkmenistan Saparmurad Niazov for his achievements.
Now, the rector is also President of the European Academy of Science. The European Academy of Science is not to be confused with the European Academy of Sciences, or the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. The European Academy seems at least to have the same webdesigner as the European University and is an NGO based in Vienna. It is an exclusive club of just 16 members, according to the website. As one member helpfully points out, being an academician is a great honor as, “one Academician per million people”. This gentleman also happens to be or have been the Director of the London Diplomatic Academy; President of the Albert Schweitzer International University, Geneva and Vice-President, International Center of Informatization in Brussels which might just have something to do with the European Academy of Informatization. Four other members are from Belgrade. Another member is Eduard Evreinov, who is also responsible for the European Academy of informatization and something called the World Distributed University (aka World Information Distributed University), and has been associated with a number of universities and institutions that are suspected on internet fora to be diploma mills (see here , here , here).
Now, if you are impressed with this dense network of academicians and scholars, here is something else. According to the Serbian accreditation of the European University, this university has the following “members” abroad (Чланице Европског универзитета из иностранства):
European Academy of Science, Vienna
European Academy of Informatization, Brussels
MIM – The Center for European Master and Doctoral Studies, Budapest
Institut Franco-Americain de Management, Paris
Sales Manager Akademie, Vienna
London Diplomatic Academy – London
Albert Schweitzer International University, Geneva.
It would seem that the European University in Belgrade thus a prestigious network of “members” abroad that have been honoring the rector of the university they are part of with all these outstanding honors.
And now I think I have earned a Grand Doctorate.