Thursday, 23 November 2017

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Erasmus+ brings people together across Europe

Erasmus+ kick off event, Brussels

2017 marks the 30th Anniversary of the European education exchange programme, Erasmus. Over the past 30 years Erasmus has given around 9 million people the chance to study and work abroad in an exchange programme that spreads across Europe. It is now so popular that when talking about Europe it may be even more well-known than the Eurovision song contest.

The Erasmus+ programme, organised by the European Union, started in 1987 encompassing 11 countries. It offered students and staff mobility between universities. The ‘plus’ was added in 2014, to include teachers, youth workers, volunteers, apprentices, vocational students, and expanding the programme across continents. 

At the kick-off event – ‘From Erasmus to Erasmus+ - Celebrating 30 years of enriching lives and opening minds’ – EU speakers and Erasmus+ alumni highlighted that mobility of students and teachers is more important now than ever before, at a time when migration is at an all-time high and xenophobia is rising in many countries.

The event spread the same message as the United Nation’s Together Campaign for respect, safety and dignity for all.

Tibor Navracsics, the EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, stated that ‘Erasmus gives students a chance to see other points of view, and rethink their own’, those who take part are ‘building bridges between countries and cultures’.

‘Erasmus students can be the antibodies to the spreading disease of discrimination and war’ stated Silvia Costa, Chair of the committee for culture and education.

Erasmus+ now has more funding and aims to widen opportunities for even more students across the globe, as they open up the programme to more and more countries outside of Europe.

Students who have already taken part in the programme are said to return home more mature and adaptable, and able to identify themselves not only with their city or country, but with Europe and the world as a whole.

Erasmus+ event opening

As Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, ‘together, let us stand up for human rights. Together, let us build bridges, and together, let us transform fear into hope’, and this is exactly what Erasmus+ has the potential to do.

Events will continue throughout the year to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Erasmus. A highlight will be the European Youth Week running from 1 – 7 May. For more information on events near you see here

 

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