Henry J. Leir Luxembourg Program

  • Other Activities

Other LLP-CU Activities

On November 1, 2014, we had the Leir Luxembourg Program Celebration/Reunion of all our alumni. 160 people participated. For copyright reasons we are not be able to post video clips of the event on this website or on our Facebook. But, all Luxembourg alumni are welcome to request a DVD. Just let us know your mailing address. Thank you all for making the event such a success and do stay in touch! See Event Images!

Kevin Carriere, Research Intern at The University of Luxembourg

In summer 2013, Kevin Carriere, majoring in Psychology, received support from The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Luxembourg Program, The LEEP Center and The University of Luxembourg to work as a Research Intern for the Integrative Research Unit on Social and Individual Development at the University of Luxembourg, with researchers coming from both Luxembourg and Amsterdam. The Unit's project attempts to help make the transition to assisted residential living less stressful, by examining both internal factors, such as using technology to ameliorate loneliness, and external factors, such as national identities and their influence on establishing relationships. Kevin's training in semiotics, sign-systems, and cultural processes complemented the Unit's mainstream, experimental social psychological viewpoints. As part of his work, he wrote four papers, one of which treated the theoretical importance of loneliness and technology's role as a mediating device within it.

Kevin participated in The May Term Program 2012. While allowing him to further define his area of expertise, this research also provided him with the opportunity to deepen his experience in Luxembourg.

Clark Alum, Jerry Travers, Tutor to Prince Sebastian of The Royal Family

During 2010-11, the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Luxembourg Program-Clark University supported the application of Jerry Travers to become the tutor to HRH Prince Sébastian, during his senior year at the International School of Luxembourg. Jerry reports that this wonderful experience enabled him to broaden and deepen his pedagogical skills as well as appreciate working with the Prince whom he characterized as a very nice young man. Jerry graduated with a M.A. degree from Clark's English Department.

During the summer of 2013, Jerry interned with the Luxembourg-American Cultural Society in Belgium/Wisconin.

Clark Alum, Angela Woodmansee, Fulbright Scholar to the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg

Angela Woodmansee of Clark's English Department received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship award to Luxembourg for the academic year 2010 – 2011. As Clark's first Fulbright-ETA to the Grand-Duchy, she split her time between the English program at the University of Luxembourg and the Lycee Classique (high school) in Diekirch. At the University, she co-taught courses in American Studies and Literary Theory, and in Diekirch, she assisted in English language classes from beginning to advanced levels.

Angela was the recipient of The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Student Conference Participant Award for Professor Fern Johnson's Luxembourg conference in 2010 on "Bilingual Education Policy and Minority Languages: Issues for the European Union and the United States." Also, for the May Term 2012 and 2013, Angela was the May Term Program Assistant.

The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir High School Initiatives

The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir B.A. at Clark Award

The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir B.A. at Clark Award is a newly created award for high school students from Luxembourg, who decide to study at Clark for their B.A. degrees. The award further cements the ongoing relationship between Clark's Luxembourg Program and high schools in The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, while also underscoring Mr. Leir's interest in furthering international education for young people.

The first recipient of the award was Alexandra Niclou, who joined Clark in 2011/12. She graduated from the Lycee de Garcons in Esch-sur-Alzette. As of 2015/16, Alex is now a graduate student at SUNY Binghamton.

The second recipient of the award was Antony Grueness, who joined Clark in fall 2013/14. Antony also graduated from the Lycee de Garcons in Esch-sur-Alzette. He received his B.A. from Clark University in May 2017. As of 2018, Antony is pursuing a Master's degree in Molecular Biology in Germany.

The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Grade 11 Prize and the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Prize for the Best English Essay by a Seventeen-Year Old

The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Prize for the Best Essay by a Seventeen-Year Old is awarded annually at Lycee de Garcons Esch-sur-Alzette (LGE).

Because of our shared interests in furthering academic excellence, the LLP-CU awards an annual prize to high school students for an outstanding essay in English. The prize was created to honor the Leirs, whose entrepreneurial excellence and exceptional generosity were fed by their deep and abiding interest in literature, languages, and the arts. Entries are solicited from eligible students, and the winner is chosen by a committee of the high school faculty under the auspices of the Humanities Department.

In 2018, the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir English Essay Award presented at the Lycee de Garcons Esch-sur-Alzette was awarded to Ms. Marème Lakhoune. Lakhoune, pictured here with Director of the Lycée, Pascal Bermes, and Director of the Leir Luxembourg Program, Prof. Michael Butler, following the ceremony in June last year, was awarded for her essay on immigration related issues in the United States and Europe. Discussing the role of immigrants in establishing what is now the United States, Lakhoune criticized hypocritical views regarding immigration in present times. Lakhoune condemned many recent changes in American politics, such as the presidential election of Donald Trump which was followed by the Trump administration’s attempts to ban certain communities, such as Mexicans or Muslims, from entering the US. Instead, she calls upon politicians and community members to be more welcoming of refugees and immigrants. As Lakhoune wrote, “Instead of being biased and disrespectful against foreigners, we should listen to them because we can learn a lot from them.”

In 2017, the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir English Essay Award presented at the Lycee de Garcons Esch-sur-Alzette was awarded to Abou Mersch. According to LGE Director, Pascal Bermes, Mersch (18) is a very talented student. His prize-winning essay is an analysis of the recent changes in US foreign policy in the aftermath of President Trump’s election. More specifically, Mersch examines Trump’s “America first” concept and finds that: “Trump is a nationalist, not an isolationist. He isn’t seeking America’s complete withdrawal from the global economy and international politics. Therefore, even if the country’s role as the undisputed international peacekeeper and role model comes to an end, the United States remain one of the leading powers of this planet. ... The country might adopt a more unilateral approach than we are used to and the links with its foreign partners might become less tight than they were before but in the end it will still participate in the international system and remain a more than important force in the world.” According to Director Bermes, Mersch intends to study business and management at a university level next year. See photo here.

In 2016, the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir English Essay Award presented at the Lycee de Garcons Esch-sur-Alzette was awarded to Maxime Theisen for his essay: "In Search of Identity: Travels with Charley: In Search of America" by John Steinbeck. According to LGE Principal Nico Decker, eighteen-year old Maxime is a brilliant student and the first allowed to change from the mathematics to the natural sciences stream without needing to take admissions tests. Maxime himself writes: "I participated in the American Essay Contest because I have been passionate about English for a rather long time. It is, in my opinion, a language that conveys emotions like few others while simultaneously being exceptionally beautiful and elegant. To me personally, winning this prize was a great honour and I'm very thankful to my school and teachers for supporting me. I'm aspiring to become a scientist, possibly a bioengineer, as I'm very fond of both biology and physics. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, especially poetry, and I'm interested in photography."

In 2015, the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir English Essay Award presented at the Lycee de Garcons Esch-sur-Alzette was awarded to Isabelle Zigrand, an outstanding mathematics and science student who received the award for her paper entitled, "What Then is the American, This New Man?". See photo here.  The picture shows, from left to right: Directeur-Adjoint Pascal Bermes , Headteacher Alex Werne, Minister of Education Claude Meisch handing over the certificate to, Isabelle and Directeur Nico Decker.

Also in 2015, the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Grade 11 Prize at the International School of Luxembourg was awarded to Juliette Leader who has received academic accolades each trimester of each year since Grade 9. Juliette is an activist and a student with a passion for justice and understanding. Recently she was awarded 2nd place nationally by Zonta Young Women in Public Affairs. Her contributions, including raising awareness, initiating clothing drives and participating in local conferences, have helped make the Global Initiatives Network a respected club. Juliette has helped local asylum seekers learn English, she helps our younger students gain confidence in subjects in which they struggle, and is always the go-to person for in-class help. She is the co-founder and editor in chief of Ampersand, a school-wide literary magazine and an executive editor for two international literary and art magazines.

In 2014, the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir English Essay Award presented at the Lycee de Garcons Esch-sur-Alzette was awarded to Amela Skenderovic, a language student who received the award for her paper entitled, "Analysis of the Poem'The Gift Outright' by Robert Frost". Apart from speaking her native Serbo-Croatian, Amela has obtained native speaker proficiency in Letzeburgish, French, German, Spanish and English. She takes a special interest in English and American literature.

Our second 2014 Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Grade 11 Prize, at the International School of Luxembourg, was awarded to Keana, whom the ISL Principal, Nicki Crush, describes as, "a wonderful student who exels not only in the classroom but also on the sports field and the stage. She has chosen to pursue her dream and next year hopes to study the Performing Arts in the United Kingdom. Keana is passionate about Street Arts and has researched a unique course which may well lead her becoming a creative producer and designer when she graduates."

In 2013, the first Henry J. and Erna D. Leir English Essay Award presented at the Lycee de Garcons Esch-sur-Alzette was awarded to Kevin Coimbra Lopes, a mathematics student who wrote on "The Future Relationship between the United States of America and Europe." Directeur-Adjoint Nico Decker writes about Kevin, "He is a very lively and intelligent young man who has chosen mathematics, informatics and physics as his main study subjects. He is also the Vice-President of our Student Committee and a whizz-kid when it comes to organizing social events, such as the school feast. He wants to be an airline pilot and obviously would like to become one in the US, a country he admires enormously. He is also interested in politics and a member of the Youth Section of the Luxembourg Liberal Democrat Party."

Also in 2013, the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Grade 11 Prize at the International School of Luxembourg was awarded to Anna Leader, whom the ISL Principal, Nicki Crush, describes as, "one of our top students who simply excels in everything she does. Her grades are excellent and she regularly receives certificates for her outstanding academic achievements. Anna also sings in the choir and plays in the Symphonic Band. She has participated in MUN, our Global Issues group and represented the school at the ISMTF (International Schools Maths Teachers League) annual Mathematics Competition. She is a fantastic, multi-talented and highly dedicated student.." The winning essay was entitled, "Commentary on 'the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls' by e. e. cummings."

In 2012, The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Grade 11 Prize was awarded to Diana Marin, ISL, for her essay on Doris Lessing's, "A Sunrise on the Veld." Characterized by her teachers as intelligent, articulate, level-headed, and disciplined, Diana both excels academically and involves herself in a variety of activities at the ISL that reveal her abilities outside the classroom. Over the last academic year, Diana led a group of four peers into the final rounds of the Generation Euro Award hosted by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany; she has organized High School Global Issues Awareness Days on her campus; and, in March of this year, Diana was a key member of the organizing committee for the 7th Annual Global Issues European Conference, which brought together over 300 student participants. Diana also plays for the ISL volleyball and basketball teams, providing even further proof of both her commitment to excellence and the range of her abilities. An engaged and engaging member of the ISL community, Diana is an inspiration to both her teachers and her peers.

In 2011, The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Grade 11 Prize was awarded to Megan Greeley for her essay on Siegfried Sasson's, “A Working Party.”

In 2010, The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Grade 11 Prize was awarded to Silja Lehtinen in 2010, for her essay, “A Reading of John Ashberry's The Painter.”

In 2009, The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir 11th Grade Prize was presented to Wilfried Genest whose paper adumbrated on the importance of thinking, rather than simply accepting, a theme reflected in the ISL's mission, Clark University's challenge to create a better world, and Mr. Leir's motto, "aut viam inveniam aut faciam": either I'll find a way or I'll make one.

In 2008,The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir 11th Grade Prize was awarded to Ethan Schrieberg for his essay entitled "The Use of the Color Green in The Great Gatsby".

In 2007,The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir 11th Grade Prizewas awarded to Wesley McMinimy for his essay entitled "Myrtle Wilson in Relation to the Valley of Ashes in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby."

In 2006,The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir 11th Grade Prizewas awarded to Priyanka Verma, for her essay, "Commentary on the First Paragraph of Germinal."

Maxime Rischard received the first annual prize in the summer of 2005 for his essay on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's novel, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir High School Speaker

Mr. Ed Bindel, who survived the Holocaust as a child, delivered a talk to the University Park Campus School and the Claremont Academy, entitled, “A Personal Account of Surviving the Holocaust in Middle Europe.”

In addition, the LLP-CU has supported conversations between Clark’s Education Chair, Tom Del Prete, and a girls school in Luxembourg for the purpose of exchanging ideas on pedagogy, especially in multi-lingual, socio-economically deprived contexts.

The May Term Reunion

A reunion will be held in the fall after each summer.