Over the weekend of February 23-26, 2019, EMMIR representatives made up of students, alumni, and staff attended the Erasmus Mundus Association's General Assembly in Vienna.
The General Assembly had the theme of "#Changemakers" and thus keynote speakers and focused on education and activism. The inspiring speakers came from all backgrounds. Keynote speakers included: Rita Izsak-Ndiaye, UN Human Rights Expert, Yazidi journalist Nareen Shammo, and Xenia Siminciuc, Human Rights, Equality, and Inclusion Expert for OHCHR. There was also a focus on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how EMA and Erasmus Mundus programmes can use the framework of these goals to bring about change.
Representatives and coordinators from various Erasmus Mundus programmes were also involved in the EMA General Assembly. EMA members, volunteers, and representatives were invited to brainstorm sustainability and SDGs to our diverse fields within the scope of EMA and Erasmus Mundus.
A keynote speaker of the European Commission presented the EU agenda on higher education and the future of Erasmus+ programs, e.g. the doubling of the budget for EM programs. Based on this, EMA’s president gave insights into the organization’s new strategy in alignment with SD goals for an improved future. The collaborators of EMA presented themselves (AIESEC, MCAA, ESN, OCEANS, WBAA, gragErasmus). To discuss the strategic developments of the organization, a panel discussion on the Erasmus Mundus brand, its sustainability and jointness was held. The EMA members further formed working units, in which they discussed several topics for further development, such as the improvement of relations between alumni and students. The agenda also included a session on voting on new statue amendments and a new structure by EMA members.
This year, for the first time, the EMA GA was linked to the Marie Curie Alumni Association's Annual Conference, which was attended by over 500+ researchers and scientists from all over the world. At this conference, important themes such as the future of research were discussed.
The agenda of the MCAA Conference included keynotes and training sessions that aimed at addressing the evolving research environment - from how to write proposals for individual fellowships and European Research Council grants, to starting an entrepreneurship venture, and transitioning from academia to industry.
Of interest was a specific panel relevant to EMMIR at the MCAA Conference: "refugees in higher education". During this panel, “Science in Exile”, a documentary about how the recent conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq have threatened the lives of researchers. Around the world, scientists are often targeted based on their professions and many are forced to flee.
If you’re interested in Erasmus Mundus programs and education in Europe, check out EMA’s website: www.em-a.eu!