More than sixty students from associated universities of Italy, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Finland and Turkey have discussed the issue of mobility and the new European Commission's programme Erasmus for All, which will enter into force in 2014 and will eventually be opened to non-European students, at the first Forum of Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED) students.
According to a press release from the Euro-Mediterranean University EMUNI, the Forum, held in Istanbul on 15 and 16 July, saw the students discuss issues related to academic mobility in the Mediterranean region, with the aim of contributing to form a new "Mediterranean generation" in order to break down physical, ideological and religious barriers which could prevent people from meeting each other, students and researchers from travelling, pursuing new job opportunities, developing a sense of belonging to a multicultural space like the Mediterranean basin, and fostering the dream of Mediterranean exchanges, meetings and collaboration.
Three workshops were held during the Forum:
* Mobility: Visas and practical obstacles to the free movement of people;
* Mediterranean mobility programmes: "Erasmus for All", "Erasmus and Leonardo da Vinci EuroMed"
* Training and Mobility of students into the world of work: What are the prospects?
Following these workshops, students drafted a joint document that was approved during the Plenary Assembly.
seeks to draw to the attention of the European Commission and also of national and international institutions, the necessity and urgency of strengthening students’ mobility in the Mediterranean region and in particularly improving the following aspects:
* New opportunities for Mediterranean students ensuring the allocation of at least 10,000 Erasmus grants per year to students from the Southern Mediterranean;
* Visa barriers: designing an ad hoc package of visas for university students of the Mediterranean region in order to expedite visa procedures, making full use of the opportunities offered by the EU Visa Code;
* Integrating the following in the "Erasmus student charter": To guarantee a "special legal status" for students studying abroad in order to ensure respect of their own religion, culture, traditions and personal convictions.
UNIMED believes that this important event in Istanbul can contribute to the creation of a platform for dialogue among university students of the Mediterranean region in the field of Mediterranean cooperation and providing a forum for discussion aimed at developing a shared and lasting strategy for mutual understanding and the construction of a network of students of the area.
EMUNI is an international university based in Slovenia. It represents one of the six projects of the Union for the Mediterranean, which were confirmed within the common declaration, adopted in Paris, on July 13, 2008. It aims to contribute to harmonisation of higher education and research and contribute to lasting development of the wider social-economic and cultural environment in Euro-Med countries. (EU Neighbourhood Info
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. Erasmus Mundus
EU Neighbourhood Info Centre - European Commission launches
new dialogue on higher education with Southern Mediterranean neighbours (02-07-2012).
EU Neighbourhood Info Centre video – Education Cooperation with Southern Neighbours
EU Neigbourhood Info Centre webpage – education and training