The EU and Global Challenges
28 Ideas from the Erasmus Generation
In the light of the great success of the conference organized by the School of Political Science and the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence of the University of Florence in May 2012 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ‘Erasmus’ program, the University intends to propose a second edition of the event, by maintaining the original format - except for the fact that there will be 28 rather 27 national teams involved.
The purpose of the conference is to allow a group of students coming from all over Europe (two from each Member country) to present specific proposals and discuss their views on the European integration process and its current challenges with representatives of EU institutions.
The original idea of this event stems from a series of eight roundtables on “The costs of non Europe” that the School of Political Science organized in 2011. The results of the roundtableswere summarized in a manifesto (Declaration of Florence – the World won’t wait for Europe) officially presented and discussed with Giuliano Amato during the first Festival of Europe jointly promoted in May 2011 by the European University Institute, the city of Florence, the University and other local Institutions. In the Declaration, the University of Florence committed to an annual initiative to draw attention to the process of European integration, involving academia and Erasmus students “who are the symbol of a common Europe that already exists. Only by re-launching the project originally envisaged by Jean Monnet and Altiero Spinelli, can young Europeans hope for a better future, raise the stature of Europe in the world, and reverse the perception of an inevitable European decline.” (Declaration of Florence. The World won’t wait for Europe 06 May 2011).
The University of Florence has chosen a university partner for each of the EU Member States on the basis of current exchange programs. The partner Universities are responsible for selecting two students (a male and a female) currently attending a European Studies or International Relations program. As a further requirement, the two students should have spent a period of study in another European country, preferably as Erasmus students, and should be in good academic standing in order to contribute effectively to the success of the project. The selection process was completed by early March 2017.
The 28 teams are asked to write a position paper on the issues that are – in their view - a priority for revitalizing the European integration process.
In order to encourage the exchange of views among the participants and to stimulate a joint exercise, the local organizers have set up an online platform for the group. The documents prepared by the students will be submitted to the local organizers by mid-April, in order to be forwarded to MEPs and other EU institutional representatives taking part in the event at least two weeks before
The local organization covers travel and accommodation expenses for all the students. Participants
will stay in Florence for four five during the first week in May (from 1 to 6 May).
A list of Partner Universities can be consulted here
The students will present their proposals and discuss them with MEPs from different political groups and members of the Commission and other EU institutions, like High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
Outline of the event
The conference is scheduled during the Festival of Europe which takes place in Florence every two years and runs for a week. Students will arrive in Florence on Monday 1 May and leave Saturday 6 May. Tuesday 2 May will be left for them to visit the city. In the afternoon the Mayor will host them for a guided tour of Palazzo Vecchio.
The forum will start on Wednesday with the whole day devoted to students interacting with each other and finalizing themes and proposals to be discussed the following day with the European Institutions' representatives. In detail, students will gather in thematic working groups during the morning; a Rapporteur will be chosen for each thematic group.
In the afternoon, students will gather in a plenary session, in order to learn about the work being carried out in each thematic area. The Rapporteur will be in charge of illustrating his/her working group's dossier to the students of other working groups, and exploring the possibility for wider agreements.
Students will receive technical support from the local scientific committee and additional experts, so that every group will have a tutor. There should be approximately six different thematic groups. Thursday 4 and Friday 5 May the students will interact with the MEPs and representatives of other EU institutions attending the event. There will be two lectures and six different panels. For each of them, the Rapporteur chosen by the students will open the discussion.
All working documents will be made available online. Students’ departure is scheduled for Saturday 6 May.
The whole program is available here.
Students' position papers are available here.
Local organizing committee
Prof. Dr. Valeria Fargion ( Jean Monnet Chair)
Prof. Dr. Laura Leonardi ( Jean Monnet Chair)
Ksenyia Dekurno (kseniya.dhotmail.it)