By: Shiella C. Balbutin, EMA Southeast Asia Chapter VP
The beautiful city of Prague, Czech Republic was the host of the Erasmus Mundus Association’s 6th General Assembly last June 22-23, 2012. The event was held at the Faculty of Education, Charles University.
Close to 160 participants from all over the world, who are members of the EMA Steering Committee, boards of EMA regional chapters, representatives of Erasmus Mundus courses, officers of the European Commission and other members of the association, gathered together for the annual event. As in the past, formal presentations and discussions are usual features at the GA. It opened with the welcome greetings from Radka Wilddova, Dean of the Faculty of Education of Charles University; Martine Dere from the Directorate General of Education and Culture of the European Commission; as well as from Jean Carlos Pelicano and Hady Abi-Nader, President and Vice-president of EMA.
Other presentations were from Jordi Curell, Director of Lifelong Learning: Higher Education and International Affairs of the European Commission; Katarina Nevedalova, member of the European Parliament and VP of the European Youth Forum; Jana Fiorito and Edith Genser, representatives from the Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the European Commission; and Tahia Devisscher, Erasmus Mundus Quality Advisory Board. Moreover, there was a discussion on the “Erasmus for All” proposal; voting session of the EMA statute; and the meetings of the service teams, professional networks and regional chapters.
Despite the packed two-day schedule, the GA also organized interesting social and cultural activities which delighted the participants. One of which was the “City Hunt”, conducted the day before the GA. During the game, participants were divided into groups and were given tasks to accomplish within a given period of time. It was a great way to establish camaraderie and to see the sights of Prague, albeit hurriedly.
Other highlights of the event included the fellowship dinner on the boat while cruising along Vltava River and passing through Charles Bridge. The beautiful sunset and skyline of the city served as backdrop of the cruise.
Moreover, it was a time of firsts. For the first time, the GA put the spotlight on the EMA Regional Chapters via the “World Map Session”. It featured the presentations of all chapter representatives wearing their traditional costumes. This certainly reinforced EMA’s rich cultural diversity. As VP of the South East Asia Chapter, I was tasked to introduce and present our chapter’s accomplishments and activities.
Another first-time feature was the “World Coffee Break”. Prior to the event, we were requested to bring sweets from home and these were showcased and put on display at the chapter booths. It was a very interesting experience as the participants enjoyed sharing and eating the variety of food from different parts of the world. I brought the Philippines’ famous sweet dried mangoes and they were such big hits!
It was another productive and successful GA. It certainly proves that for all the members, finishing our EM courses is not the end but the beginning of a happy journey with EMA.
Read more about EMA alumna Shiella Balbutin’s Prague trip on her blog.