German, French officials join URI discussion on European crisis, free trade, April 17

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KINGSTON, R.I. – April 2, 2013 – Friedrich Löhr, retired consul general of Germany, and Fabien Fieschi, consul general of France, will be among the panelists discussing “Is Europe Back? From Crisis Region to Transatlantic Free Trade Area?” on April 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the University of Rhode Island.

The program will take place in the Lippitt Hall auditorium on the URI Kingston campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Others participating in the panel discussion are URI professors Gordon Dash, business management, Silvia Dorado, entrepreneurial management, Michael Honhart, history, and Richard McIntyre, economics.

The panel will explore topics ranging from the argument against austerity and the development of movements for an alternative Europe to European bond volatility, corporate social responsibility and national and European identity.

“Whether the European Union can survive the crisis and what that union should be are still up for grabs,” said McIntyre. “Is the Cyprus affair the bad joke at the end of the financial crisis, or a sign of continued problems? Can the Union create a new social model or is it just ‘Europe for the Bankers’ as some on the Left claim?”

Panelist Löhr had a long career in foreign affairs for the German government. A Rhodes Scholar with degrees in law and international relations, he served in the German embassies in Yugoslavia, Sudan, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Algeria, among other assignments, from 1977 to 2002. He later was minister and deputy chief of mission at the German embassy in Beijing before becoming ambassador to North Korea. He concluded his diplomatic career as German consulate general in Boston from 2008 to 2012. He is a distinguished international scholar at URI this semester.

Fieschi served as consul general of France in Tokyo from 1995 to 1997 and later led disarmament and non-proliferation efforts at the French Strategic Affairs Directorate. He returned to Tokyo as the first secretary at the French Embassy before joining the French Permanent Mission to the United Nations as first secretary in charge of human rights from 2006 to 2009. After a stint as an advisor to the prime minister on strategic affairs and relations with European and Asian nations, he was named consul general in Boston.

For more information about the panel discussion, contact Sigrid Berka at or 401-874-4700.