Armand Kapaj, an alumnus of Cartography M.Sc., presented our students and alumni at the Erasmus Mundus Association’s 12th General Assembly 2019 in Vienna, Austria this year.
The Erasmus Mundus Association’s 12th General Assembly 2019 was held in Vienna, Austria from 23rd to 25th of February, hosted by the University of Vienna (more information here). More than 100 participants, being students, alumni and programme coordinators of existing and discontinued Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Programmes attended the General Assembly. The 12th General Assembly was held in conjunction with the Marie Curie Alumni Association’s (MCAA) General Assembly and Annual Conference, which was held from 24th to 25th of February (more information here). The event kicked off on Friday evening where some of the students and alumni coming from all over the World had the chance to meet each other and get along. For some of them, this wasn’t the first attendance at the General Assemblies and this way they had the chance to meet their old friends from previous EMA events. This was also a great opportunity for the new students to meet other students and alumni of EM programs and also the people who had put so much effort into organizing this activity.
The first day, 23rd February
The opening ceremony started on Saturday 23rd February with the welcoming speech of the current EMA President Pavan K Sriram. The first session went on with interesting talks from the keynote speakers, regarding human rights, equality and inclusion, and easily accessible education for all. This session was concluded by Mr Adrian Veale (Directorate General for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport) with the topic “EU Agenda on Higher Education and Future of Erasmus + Programme”. Mr Veale recognized the importance and priority of Erasmus+ programmes in the EU agenda for education by assuring higher funds and outreach of these programmes. The future plans of the EU agenda involve a unified European Student Card and promoting these programmes as branded programmes of excellence in the job market. In addition, part of the EU agenda is an automatic mutual recognition of the Erasmus+ programmes and degrees across Europe and beyond. This session was followed by the now legendary “World Coffee Break”, where EMA regional chapters exhibited the sweets, cuisines, and flavours from their countries, and the participants got a chance to taste the dishes from the world over.
The next session was focused on the co-creation of EMA’s strategy and alignment with Sustainable Development Goals for the improved future, organized in the form of workshops. Several groups were created which had to work on the SD Goals and how can they be involved in EMA’s objectives and future activities. Further on EMA alliance and collaborators (AISEC, MCAA, ESN, OCEANS, WBAA, and garagErasmus) made a short presentation regarding the scope of their organization, also ongoing and future projects that they are working on.
The last session of the first day was regarding the new structure of EMA, status amendments and therefore the voting by its members. The voting process ended with a majority pro vote regarding the changes on the statute. As a result, EMA will serve as an independent student organization under the direct supervision of the European Commission and is divided into four working units (strategic, working (students and alumni relations), admin and support unit). The highlight of the first day of the GA 2019 was the “Gala Dinner” at Albert-Schweitzer-Haus, in Vienna. After acknowledging and appreciating the work and contribution of several EMA members, the time was ripe for the “Cultural Show”, now a mainstay of the EMA General Assembly. Each of the regional chapters dressed in their traditional attires showcased their regional music and arts with amazing performances.
The second day, 24th February
The second day was divided into two main sessions. The first session was organized in the form of interactive forums and parallel sessions regarding the new structure and working units of EMA, where each member joined the unit they can contribute in the future. The second session was held in conjunction with MCAA, held as well at the University of Vienna. This session started with a welcoming note and the presentation of the keynote speakers. Among other speakers, stood out the presence of Ms Themis Christophidou, the Director-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission. Ms Christophidou assured for further support by the European Commission on Erasmus programmes and acknowledges the role of EMA and as student and alumni organizations in promoting Erasmus Mundus programmes, mentoring and advising new students. Additionally, Ms Christophidou expressed her gratitude to EMA as a student organization that is giving something back to the European Commission in response to what they gained from these excellent Erasmus programmes, and for sharing their experience.
The rest of the EMA and MCAA GA continued with the parallel sessions, where each participant attended their topic of interest. The afternoon session was concluded with the presentation of the ongoing and future EMA projects: Humans of Erasmus Mundus, EMAarathon, REALISE IT, Does it Matter, and Mentoring programs. The second day was finalized with an outreach dinner with MCAA, held at Wiener Rathauskeller, where the members could further network with Marie Curie members while enjoying the traditional Viennese cuisine.
The third day, 25th February
The third and last day of GA was also held in conjunction with MCAA and was divided into several parallel sessions, where the members had the chance to attend their topic of interest, coming from a great variety of contemporary topics in the field of research. The GA was concluded by EMA President Pavan K Sriram regarding the 2025 EMA strategy, and what the future holds for EMA, including challenges and opportunities.
For any further information regarding Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association projects, teams, statute, structure, etc., please visit the website: http://www.em-a.eu/, also feel free to contact Armand Kapaj. Stay #EMAzing CARTO J!