The idea of establishing the Institute had its origins on the Danube River in the early 1990s. Robert and Elizabeth Nanovic were participants in a Notre Dame-sponsored tour of central and eastern Europe, complemented by daily lectures with J. Robert Wegs, a history professor at Notre Dame. “We had been thinking for some time about what we could do for Notre Dame,” Bob Nanovic remembers, “The idea of a program that could grow, evolve, and have an impact on the lives of students appealed to me.”

The Institute was created in 1992, first as a center for European studies which sponsored an annual conference and administered an undergraduate Minor. Following the expansion of its programs, it was designated an institute in 1997. The Institute’s second director, A. James McAdams, oversaw the development of the Institute’s first formal strategic plan in 2002. The goal of this plan was to use the Institute’s resources to provide greater intellectual coherence of the educational experience of undergraduate and graduate students, integrate faculty research, and enhance the internal and external visibility of European studies at Notre Dame. McAdams also led the development of the Institute’s second strategic plan, which established the Institute’s ongoing presence in Notre Dame’s global gateways.

Download the Nanovic Constitution (10/29/2004)

Directors of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies

Clemens Sedmak (Interim Director, 2020)
Professor of Social Ethics, Keough School of Global Affairs

William Collins Donahue (2018 - 2020)
Rev. John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C., Professor of the Humanities

A. James McAdams (2002-2018)
William M. Scholl Professor of International Affairs

James Robert Wegs (1993-2002)
Professor of History Emeritus

Year in Review 2018-19

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Year in Review Archives

The Nanovic Institute aims to increase the impact of European Studies at Notre Dame by fostering interdisciplinary research of our faculty fellows, visiting scholars, and guest speakers. By promoting research on the historical, political, and cultural challenges to European unification as well as Catholicism in Europe, we hope to address Europe’s compelling problems with contemporary resonance.  The Institute creates an annual publication highlighting our activities from the academic year.