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Celebrating 20 Years of Erasmus Mundus: Impact at a Glance

The Erasmus Mundus programme celebrated its 20th Anniversary with the conference “Beyond Borders and Boundaries: 20 years of Erasmus Mundus”, held on 27-28 May 2024 in Brussels, Belgium.


The event showcased vibrant panel discussions, parallel sessions with rich discussions, a poster exhibition, networking opportunities, and an award ceremony. Four members of the Management Board represented the Erasmus Mundus Student and Alumni Association (EMA), President Dr Ashiqur Rahman, Vice-President Ruturaj Trivedi, Outreach and Capacity Unit Director Rajon Bhuiyan, and Students & Alumni Relations Unit Director Nikshan Paudel


Dr Rahman was a panellist in the ‘Erasmus Mundus - 20 years of Impact at a Glance’ panel discussion, while Mr Trivedi participated as one of the moderators & panellists for the ‘Erasmus Mundus in the Future – Charting the Way Forward’ session. Mr Trivedi and Mr Bhuiyan also contributed to the impact study report ‘20 Years of Erasmus Mundus’. The first day of celebrations was further enriched by a keynote speech delivered by Sristi KC, an alumna of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Choreomundus and a dedicated EMA volunteer in Nepal. 


Participants of the Erasmus Mundus 20th Anniversary Conference pose together for a group shot in the conference's venue.
Participants of the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Erasmus Mundus, held in Brussels, Belgium. Copyright: European Commission

The Unique Impact of Erasmus Mundus

As mentioned above, Dr Rahman participated in the panel session  ‘Erasmus Mundus - 20 years of Impact at a Glance’. The panel was moderated by Irina Ferencz, Director of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA), also featured insights from Axel Aerden (Managing Director Flanders, Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO), Belgium (Flanders)/the Netherlands), Clare McManus (Head of Central & East European Studies, Dean for Global Engagement –Southeast Asia & Australasia, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom), Loreta Paulauskaite (International Contact Point for Erasmus+ Spanish National Agency (SEPIE), Spain, Philippe Ruffio (Head of Sector, European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), Belgium) and Mara Thiene, Department Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry (TESAF), Rector’s Delegate, Joint Degree and International Ranking, University of Padua, Italy), each contributing to the celebration of two decades of impact and innovation in higher education through Erasmus Mundus.


Dr Rahman emphasised the high satisfaction levels among alumni as a cornerstone of the Erasmus Mundus programme's success He noted that "the rigorous academic environment, combined with rich cultural experiences, results in graduates who are not only well-prepared for their careers but also highly satisfied with their educational journey." This satisfaction fosters strong alumni networks and a lifelong connection to the programme, creating a community extending well beyond graduation.


Photo of panellists sitting on the stage, moderated by Irina Ferencz, Director of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA), also featured insights from Axel Aerden (Managing Director Flanders, Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO), Belgium (Flanders)/the Netherlands), Clare McManus (Head of Central & East European Studies, Dean for Global Engagement –Southeast Asia & Australasia, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom), Loreta Paulauskaite (International Contact Point for Erasmus+ Spanish National Agency (SEPIE), Spain, Philippe Ruffio (Head of Sector, European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), Belgium) and Mara Thiene, Department Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry (TESAF), Rector’s Delegate, Joint Degree and International Ranking, University of Padua, Italy), each contributing to the celebration of two decades of impact and innovation in higher education through Erasmus Mundus.
Photo of panellists during the session  ‘Erasmus Mundus - 20 years of Impact at a Glance’. Copyright: European Commission

He shared an anecdote about a graduate who secured a leadership role in an international organisation, crediting their Erasmus Mundus experience for the skills and diverse perspectives he acquired during his studies. The graduate said they were instrumental in their professional advancement. Such stories, Dr Rahman asserted, are common among alumni, underscoring the programme's effectiveness in enhancing employability.


What Sets Erasmus Mundus Apart

Dr Rahman highlighted the comprehensive approach of Erasmus Mundus as its defining feature. "Erasmus Mundus doesn’t just provide financial support; it offers a holistic educational experience that combines academic excellence with international mobility and cultural immersion. This unique blend sets it apart from other funding programmes," he said. The international mobility component, allowing students to study in multiple countries, exposes them to different educational systems and cultures, broadening their academic and professional horizons.


The programme's global outreach, attracting students from all corners of the globe, fosters a diverse and multicultural learning environment. "This global mix of students promotes mutual understanding and cooperation, essential skills in today’s interconnected world," he emphasized. Furthermore, the programme’s commitment to interdisciplinarity and multiculturalism allows students to integrate knowledge across different fields, promoting innovative thinking and problem-solving skills.


Copyright: European Commission

Dr Rahman also underscored the role of alumni in sustaining the programme’s legacy through grassroots activities at the local level. "Their efforts have significantly increased awareness and interest in the programme among prospective students," he said, highlighting the alumni’s commitment to making a positive impact in their communities.


Addressing Visa Issues

During the Q&A session, Dr Rahman addressed ‘the pressing issue of visa challenges faced by students’ when the topic arose, following a vote of questions put forward by the audience. He outlined several reasons behind these challenges and called for a clear approach to expedite and simplify the visa process. Dr Rahman underscored the importance of a streamlined visa timeline and requested a call to action and a comprehensive declaration involving all key stakeholders to resolve these issues. His call to action received high praise from the audience, underscoring the urgency of this matter.


Key Ingredients for Success

Reflecting on the key ingredients that have increased the Erasmus Mundus programme's impact, Dr Rahman highlighted the fundamental role of motivated students and alumni ambassadors. "Their dedication and enthusiasm amplify the programme’s reach and reputation," he stated. Additionally, the combination of innovative institutions, forward-thinking policy set by DG EAC, and dedicated management by EACEA has been instrumental in ensuring the programme's success.


The impact of the Erasmus Mundus programme is evident in the high satisfaction and employability among graduates, and the unique advantages of its holistic, interdisciplinary, multicultural and global approach. As Erasmus Mundus moves forward, it is crucial to continue emphasising these strengths, ensuring future editions can benefit from this transformative experience. Dr Rahman concluded with a resonant statement, "Once in Erasmus Mundus, always and forever in Erasmus Mundus”.


You can watch the first day of panels and discussions here




Last Updated: 24 June 2024

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