The Villa Paola Years Begin
By Richard Bellamy (Director of the Max Weber Programme)
After three years in the Badia, the MWP is on the move again and has just taken possession of Villa Paola. Situated between the Badia and Villa Schifanoia, we retain the benefits of being at the heart of the EUI, while regaining the advantages of being largely co-located in our own building, with many of its own facilities – such as a seminar room, that we possessed when based in Villa la Fonte. However, the MWP will still preserve a toe hold in the Badia in the form of a new MWP Common Room within the refurbished Emeroteca and the location of second years in the tower. We shall be producing a self–assessment report on the Badia years over the coming months. My impression from the Fellow surveys is that the incremental reforms introduced over that period have by and large been well received. The Programme has grown by almost a third, with more Fellows than before enjoying a second year. It remains very competitive and with a global reach, with our placement record continuing to be outstanding – all of the current cohort ultimately secured a position. Meanwhile, the thematic groups and master classes with the Max Weber Lecturers have been broadly welcomed, as has the increased flexibility for Fellows to pick and choose which elements of the Programme they take.
As ever, the efforts of Laurie and Alyson in particular are singled out for praise, along with the support offered by the whole Max Weber team – an appreciation for whom I heartily endorse in my turn. Of course, that does not mean that there is not plenty that can be improved. In response to the comments of current Fellows, we are working on ways to increase the amount available for missions for the incoming cohort, and to improve the thematic groups and the contact with departments. Hopefully, the new building will also facilitate interactions among Fellows and the sense of intellectual community, which are among those aspects of the Programme they continue to appreciate the most. So I look forward to at least three more years as Director inaugurating the Villa Paola era of the Programme.