Notre Dame International hosts reception honoring partnership and faculty exchange program with KU Leuven, Belgium

Author: Colleen Wilcox

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A special event was hosted on Friday, September 20 at Innovation Park to recognize the growing relationship between the University of Notre Dame and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. The day had started with the first Notre Dame/Leuven international collaborative workshop in ancient, medieval, and renaissance philosophy. Following the workshop, a reception celebrated the successful efforts by Professor Gretchen Reydams-Schils, who helped develop a faculty exchange program.

“This initiative allows us to establish an international cooperation in the history of philosophy, and more specifically in ancient, medieval, and renaissance philosophy, with a top-ranked Catholic research university, which is world-renowned in these areas and can also give us access to its own extensive international network,” says Reydams-Schils.

A delegation from the KU Leuven attended the workshop and were present during the reception and recognition ceremony. Dean of the Institute of Philosophy Gerd Van Riel signed the agreement on behalf of Leuven, with support from graduate and postdoc students Serena Masolini, Nicolas Zaks, and Chi Fo Kim.

“I am pleased that two similar institutions with a similar tradition and history can now formally collaborate,” comments Van Riel.

Mc6 9663Pictured: Gretchen Reydams-Schils and Sarah Mustillo

Mc6 9695Michael Pippenger, Sarah Mustillo, and Gerd Van Riel sign the faculty exchange agreement

“During days like ours, when people tend to fold upon themselves, it is all the more important that old partnerships are revived, showing the world that a thorough and meaningful collaboration can still happen, and that possible differences can be overcome in order to serve a greater good through reconnecting to our common legacy.”

Van Riel says the partnership will enhance the intrinsic quality of academic work by allowing scholars to profit from each other’s strengths, by exchanging ideas and by giving junior scholars exposure to a high standard international peer group.

Van Riel participated in the official signing ceremony, along with Sarah Mustillo, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, and Michael Pippenger, vice president and associate provost for internationalization.

“It is both remarkable and fitting for Notre Dame to sign this historic first faculty exchange agreement with a partner as revered as Leuven,” says Pippenger.

“We are grateful to Professor Gretchen Reydams-Schils and her drive and passion for international collaboration which led to this.”

Reydams-Schils is currently working on the first five-year plan and anticipates this partnership to expand in the future. 

Contact: Colleen Wilcox, content strategist, Notre Dame International,

Originally published by Colleen Wilcox at on October 02, 2019.