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MUDEC Méinden Spring 2020 #9
MUDEC Méinden Spring 2020 #9
Miami UniversityJohn E. Dolibois European Center logo
MUDEC Méinden-Weekly news from the MUDEC community for the MUDEC community-#lifelongMUDEC

Spring 2020 #9-Quarantine Edition

 March 23, 2020

Thank You, Luxembourg
“The world is meant to result in a book” (Mallarmé)

Cover of the 50th Anniversary Book
A year and half ago, we celebrated the 50th nniversary of MUDEC in spectacular fashion. Over 700 guests, alumns, family and friends, joined for the festivities, reconnecting with the Grand Duchy and their student years. Close to 1,000 invitees attended the “Academic Convocation” with President Crawford presenting the doctorate honoris causa of Miami University to His Royal Highness Prince Guillaume, Heir of the crown of Luxembourg.

Many of us realized then that we celebrated the unique and enduring bond between the Miami University European Center and its alumns. I saw generations of MU(D)ECers preparing the next generations to come, and weaving into this anniversary the link between the past and the future of MUDEC.

The symbol of this engagement for the future materialized with the major $8,500,000 fundraiser launched in the wake of the 50th anniversary. The MUDEC community responded enthusiastically, and we have now reached one third of our goal.

It is concrete proof that the spectacular event of the 50th anniversary was not just a page being turned. It was a new chapter opening in the history of MUDEC.

In a few days, this metaphor will also become a reality with the publication of the 50th anniversary commemorative book at Pediment Publishing under the title Thank You, Luxembourg,-50 Years of Miami University in the Grand Duchy.

This exceptional volume offers a rich documentation about the history of the European Center, from its beginning to the present, testimonies from faculty, directors, students, staff, friends… Illustrated by a superb iconography which retraces in vivid colors the passing of time and the thriving of the future.

More than anything, Thank You, Luxembourg honors the talent and accomplishment of Miami students and of the people they become through their transformative experience in Europe. This is particularly true for Editors 
Carli Williams (before she moved to Italy) and Sarah Sax (MUDEC Fall 2018 student who has continued working on it as a student worker). For them, the 50th anniversary of MUDEC will be their first publication and—who knows? —the first step towards an unexpected career.
Dean Thierry Leterre

Dr. Thierry Leterre
Dean of MUDEC

  • MUDEC Faculty Profile-Daniel Tesch
  • ART 188-Student Final Essay 
    • Will You Be My Bretzeltine?
    • Luxembourg City Film Festival Recap
    • The Corona Column

    MUDEC Faculty Profile:

    Meet Daniel Tesch

    Daniel Tesch

    1. Tell us a bit about yourself. Where did you go to college and what did you study? Did you study abroad, if so where (or where is your favorite place to go)?

    In the 80s there was no way you could study in Luxembourg. We all had to go to another country. To study law, the only choices we had then, were France or Belgium, our laws being based on the same napoleonic system. Paris wasn’t my first choice, as I already have a clear preference for warm climates. My choices were Bordeaux or Montpellier. I was accepted by the latter, which is one of the oldest and most prestigious law universities in France. I really appreciated studying in this mediteranean atmosphere with the chirping of the cicadas, the Pastis and the friendliness of the locals. Later, I was lucky to work in Brazil for eight years and my heart somehow still remains in Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro. 

    2. How did you end up working for Miami?
    I had an illustrious predecessor, Mr Georges Lentz. He is an Oxford alumnus and one of the most celebrated businessmen in Luxembourg, as head and co-owner of the Bofferding brewery group. He was the marketing professor of MUDEC at the time and we know each other well. As he was retiring from his commission, he, at some point, suggested me to MUDEC as a potential successor. My career was, until then, mainly in international commerce and the class was about global marketing. So I was accepted by the board of MUDEC. The topic further evolved into “introduction to marketing”, but this is my zone of competence due my professional career in B2C commerce, with the Luxembourg Automobile Club. 

    3. What are you looking forward to the most while teaching at MUDEC?
    I discovered teaching with this MUDEC commission and I really enjoy this action of transmitting knowledge to younger people. One can feel that the student's brain is highly receptive (during some parts of the day :-). This allows us to -carefully- supply them with data. I focus on giving the knowledge, but as well the tools which allow them to be critical about the same data they are receiving. This is the most stimulating part. I hope that I’m successful in that sense.

    4. What do you do outside of MUDEC?
    I’m a lawyer, I chair an art association and I own a restaurant. Never a dull moment.

    5. What inspires you?
    Humanity (with caps “H”) inspires me. The good sides of human beings are in my eyes key to all our existence. I consider that these positive sides are at this moment being heavily challenged by insidiously toxic, polarizing discourse. These voices are, at this moment in time, very present in the new media, which is the main source of information for most people. I can’t accept that the ideas of fact and reality are being attacked and I like to share my impressions on this with my students, just to make them aware that there is more than one side to all things. It is as well a matter of general knowledge, which many people lack, in my eyes, due to overspecialized education. Specifically, I’m currently very concerned by the human relationship with nature. I’m seriously inspired by the question on how we can turn our positive potential towards saving our environment.

    6. What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
    Certainly not the sanitary crisis, which we are currently going through, but I remember enjoying a lot, getting accounts from my students on their travel experiences and adventures they have, especially in the beginning of their travel activities in Europe. Some stories they tell are definitely hilarious. I can’t single out any story in particular, as I vowed to remain silent. 

    7. What do you want to be when you grow up?
    I always wanted to be a diplomat, but, for some silly reason, I didn’t "follow my bliss” (referring to the American scholar Joseph Campbell). As I still have a few years left, I’m trying to go somewhere where I can contribute in making a difference for other people throughout the world, with my Oxyclean® project, which is a high-impact, environmental project. As I can’t become a diplomat any more, I’m going to invent myself a new job, which can potentially supply me with an equivalent feeling of satisfaction.

    ART 188 Sprint Class

    Professor Claudine Bechet-Metz
    In the midst of last week's corona chaos, Spring sprint classes finished up. Students in Professor Claudine Bechet-Metz's ART 188 class wrote an essay for their final and below you will find the story behind it.
    "At the end of the ART 188L sprint class, I asked the students to reflect on how the art that they encountered during their stay in Europe influenced or reflected their experiences and emotions. I asked them to illustrate their moods with three different works of art seen in class or during their weekend trips. The responses were overwhelming and below is an essay from Hailey Kingsbury as an example. There are many others that are very representative of what the students experienced during their study abroad, and this one is just one example that I would like to share. Hailey agreed to have it published to the MUDEC community because I think a lot of people can relate to it."

    ART 188 Final Paper

    Hailey Kingsbury

    Engaging with art across numerous centuries and from different stylistic periods, it is difficult to single out the most impactful works. This varies for each individual, but the three works that describe my European experience of the past seven weeks include Claude Monet’s Water Lilies in the Musée de L’Orangerie, Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, and Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer above a Sea of Mist.
    Claude Monet, Water Lilies, ca. 1915-1926. Oil on canvas.
    Monet-Water Lillies
    Monet-Water Lillies 2
    Monet-Water Lillies 3
    As one of the defining painters of the Impressionist movement, Claude Monet created the defining aesthetics of this style. With a primary focus on capturing the source and effect of light, Monet, like other Impressionist painters of the time, painted outside in order to capture the fleeting nature of light. Monet is credited with having created over 2,000 paintings during his lifetime, and over 250 of these paintings are a part of his Water Lilies series. Inspired by the picturesque water garden on his Giverny estate in Normandy, this series allowed Monet to capture the dynamic nature of the daylight and reflections on the water on his canvas.
    As a member of the Chicago Art Institute, Monet’s Water Lilies were always my favorite paintings at this museum’s collection. With my visit to Paris in February, I eagerly sought out the Musée de L’Orangerie to view the Water Lilies that clad two oval rooms in this museum. The eight panels featured in the Musée de l’Orangerie create an immersive experience and display the vast greatness of these masterpieces in an all-around calming exhibit.
    The anticipation of viewing these pieces and the ultimate awe I felt in the presence of them parallel my experience when coming to Luxembourg. This semester was an adventure for me, and each experience, while unique, contributed to my overall experience abroad. This idea is paralleled in the Monet’s technique for his Water Lilies paintings. When looking close upon the canvas, each brushstroke is defined, but it is his layering of pastel colors that creates unity in the piece. There is spontaneity in some of his brushstrokes, but they create a cohesive image. The dancing of the light on the canvases is carefree, yet precise.
    Monet’s paintings have a peaceful aura and there is a sense of comfort with them. Straying from the dark coloring used by Romanticists, the pastel coloring in these paintings draws the viewer in and creates a serene ambiance. For me, Luxembourg felt like home; walking through my neighborhood in Pfaffenthal to venturing around the Chateau, I felt tranquil and jubilant in this foreign setting. While Monet’s paintings are meant to convey peace, I also experience unspeakable joy from them. The sheer magnitude of these paintings astounds me. Everywhere I travelled, I could not help myself from smiling, as each experience was new and exciting. 
    Leonardo da Vinci, Last Supper, ca. 1495–1498. Oil and tempera on plaster.
    The Last Supper
    As one of the most iconic Renaissance painters, Leonardo da Vinci introduced his novel sfumato style. In one of his most famous paintings, Last Supper, da Vinci captures the last supper of Jesus Christ with his disciples. Spanning 15 feet by 29 feet, this 15th century mural is housed in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. While I personally never had the opportunity to visit this painting, our class discussions of the ambitious projects of da Vinci intrigued me.
    Differing from Monet’s Water Lilies, humans are the subject of this scene with the point of focus on Jesus. While there is anxiety and tension in this scene, the fraternity of the disciples with this last meal is symbolic of the relationships that I formed at MUDEC. The community of students in Luxembourg was welcoming, and although our time was cut short, we all formed meaningful relationships with one another.
    During our ART188 field trip to Metz and Saarbrucken, we stopped in Saarbrucken for lunch. After recently learning about this piece in class, a few of us students recreated da Vinci’s painting at the end of our meal. Our reenactment of this painting was carefree, contrasting the tension that da Vinci depicts in his painting. However, the intense excitement and realism the da Vinci captured was present in our own reenactment, as the facial expressions of each character are varied and unique; it is not idealized.
    While at this point in time, our interactions were lighthearted, we later experienced the gravity that da Vinci depicts in the Last Supper when faced with the news of the cancellation of our program. The farewell barbeque held on the Thursday night after MUDEC had been cancelled, was our final farewell before departing Luxembourg, just as it was Jesus’ final goodbye before his crucifixion. The broad range of emotional responses of the disciples that da Vinci captures parallel those experienced by us students, including fear, anger, anxiety, and sorrow. 
    Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above a Sea of Mist, 1817–1818. Oil on canvas.
    Wanderer Above a Sea of Mist
    The final part of my journey in Luxembourg and my current state can be best described by Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer above a Sea of Mist. Caspar David Friedrich was a Romanticist landscape painter. In Wanderer above a Sea of Mist, Friedrich includes a subject in his oil painting, departing from his earlier style of solely painting the physical environment. There is a solitary man centrally located in the painting. With the point of focus directed on the man’s head, it is uncertain as to whether or not the viewer is looking onto the man or is supposed to identify with the man.
    When this painting was introduced on the first day of class, I viewed it as an eerie and distant piece. I did not fully understand the meaning behind it until we further explored Romanticist art toward the end of the class. Originally, I would identify as a bystander, looking onto the man, but not fully identifying with him. After the stress, confusion, and uncertainty of the past week, my perspective of this piece has changed, and instead of being an outsider, I view the painting from the perspective of the subject standing on the rocks. 
    There is a sense of mystery surrounding the scene, with the mist shrouding the background. Since the mist hides what lies below, there is a clear indication of uneasiness with the scene. With the subject standing firm on the rocks, this lends the reminder that we must find peace in this time of uncertainty and have knowledge that the mist is only temporary and will clear. This provides all of us MUDEC students with hope that, with the clearing of the mist, we will all be provided with a more defined path. The shading of the piece gives off a darker aura, but Friedrich seeks for the viewer to contemplate on the sublime and sheer power in nature. With time home, we now have time to ponder how to find the light in the dark situation of the moment.

    Will You Be My Bretzeltine?

    Professor Bechet-Metz kneeling with pretzels in front of her class
    Professor Bechet-Metz cutting a pretzel Professor Bechet-Metz handing out pretzels
    Yesterday was the great Luxembourg tradition of Bretzelsonnden (Pretzel Sunday). Of course, in the typically complicated Luxembourgish language, half of people call it Bretzelsonndeg. Before Valentine's Day was really celebrated over here, guys would give the object of their affections (how's that for modern language!) a sweet pretzel exactly 3 weeks before Easter. The "object of their affections" would then have 3 weeks to decide whether to accept the offer or to send the guy packing.
    As 2020 is a leap year, the tradition is reversed and girls had to give the object of their affections a pretzel and will now wait 3 weeks for the response. That response would be either chocolate Easter Eggs for a positive response or an empty basket for a negative response. But more on that tradition in 3 weeks.
    With Social Distancing, this became the new Olympic sport of the 2-meter (6-feet) pretzel toss instead. Due to the untimely end to the Luxembourg part of the MUDEC semester, MUDEC students were unable to participate in the Pretzel Sunday tradition in person, other than those who were in Professor Claudine Bechet-Metz's class, as she brought pretzels to her class a couple weeks early.
    For the rest of MUDEC, see below for Pretzel pictures from recent travels and various quarantine and lockdown locations. And if you like to bake and have a bit of time on your hands, and you know you do, have a look at Luxembourg Celebrity Chef Anne Faber's Pretzel Cookies Recipe.
    Haiiley Kingsbury Kayla Jones
    Andy Adams
    Joseph Vari with a super-imposed pretzel Philippe Briot with a pretzel in the background
    Dean Leterre with a pretzel

    Luxembourg City Film Festival 

    Volunteer Recap

    Ohio sunrise
    Anthony's quarantine sunrise over Marblehead, Ohio

    MUDEC student Anthony Raffin volunteered at the Luxembourg City Film Festival a few weeks ago. Here is his experience:
    "For my role as a volunteer with the Film Fest I got to work the morning shift throughout the week! This was definitely the best time to work because it was when all the school children were brought to watch cartoons for class. It was also so much fun being able to greet them every morning with a “Moien.” I also spent my spare time in the morning wandering around the city as my boss had recommended a lot of great places for breakfast!
    Back in High School I was a film nerd; in addition to taking multiple film classes I would always attend Cleveland's yearly International Film Festival. So, when I heard that Luxembourg had a film fest, a nostalgic part of me really wanted to see what it was all about. After looking into it, I realized that a volunteer position would be perfect as I would be able to hang out in Luxembourg City, meet some of the locals, and be able to attend films for free. 

    Mostly I worked the morning shifts for the Film Festival. This was really cool because the festival did not show any true films during the morning and only showed children's cartoons. So every morning I woke up bright and early, and caught the 6:30 a.m. train in order to welcome kindergardeners. This was my favorite part because I was able to practice my Luxembourgish and French with them, and it always made me smile to see how happy and excited they were about the cartoons. 

    In addition, with my festival pass I was able to see several films throughout the week of the festival. One evening, I was able to score free tickets for my friends and myself to two films -- the Ukranian film Atlantis and the Australian tearjerker Babyteeth. We all enjoyed the films and had a fun evening in the city!"

    The Corona Column

    Welcome to the Corona Column, the section of the MUDEC Méinden that features students' independent travel throughout the semester. This week, we will be traveling to various basements, homes and quarantined places around the United States because of, well, Corona.
    A dog looking very frightened
    Catherine Wegman's dog looking very concerned for her while in quarrantine
    Emma Cousino family leaving dinner for her on the steps
    Emma Cousino's mom left dinner for her at the top of the basement steps because she is not allowed to leave the basement.
    Maya Ruswinkle's cat sleeping
    Maya Ruswinkle's cat sleeping while Maya is in quarrantine
    Maya Ruswinkle's dog making homework a litte hard to do
    Maya Ruswinkle's dog looking wide-awake while Maya is in quarrantine
    Laura Kelly's dog looking shocked by being in quarrantine
    Laura Kelly's dog, Cody, wanting to leave quarrantine and go outside.
    Hailey Kingsbury's dog practicing social distancing by not shaking Hailey's hand
    Hailey Kingsbury's dog practicing social dstancing by not shaking Hailey's hand, now that's a good boy.
    Odds and Ends
    Birthdays This Week 
    Have a Corona-tastic birthday! Wishing you all a wonderful year ahead!
    Emma Baumgartner (Tuesday March 24)
    Morgan Higgins (Thursday March 26)
    Dan Falokun (Friday March 27)
    Alex Perez (Saturday March 28)
    Emma Baumgartner
    Emma Baumgartner
    Morgan Higgins
    Morgan Higgins
    Dan Falokun
    Dan Falokun
    Alex Perez
    Alex Perez
    This Week's Schedule

    Monday: Online Classes
    Suggested Activity: Make Anne's Faber's Pretzel cookies (recipe link above)

    Tuesday: Online Classes
    Wednesday: Online Classes

    Thursday: Online Classes

    Friday: Online Classes

    Château & Administrative Hours
    Aerial view of the Château de Differdange, where Miami's Luxembourg campus, the John E. Dolibois European Center, often abbreviated to MUDEC, is located

    Administrative Hours

    Monday-Friday: 8:00-12:00

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