The 2024 garagErasmus Annual Meeting took place in Brussels this year, at the Brussels Delegation of Regione Lombardia, from the 13th to the 14th of May.

The event was an opportunity to strengthen the links between our engaged partners (institutions, Higher Education Institutions, partner associations, and local chapters) and institutional stakeholders, which were represented by over 50 participants.

This year, we saw the presence of representatives from the European Commission. Vito Borrelli, DG EAC Team Leader – Higher Education / Erasmus+, discussed the ongoing evaluation process of the Erasmus+ programme and its potential future implications. Hélène Banegas, Project Adviser – Erasmus+ International Alumni, introduced the discussion on the future of the ESAA network, of which garagErasmus is a founder. Céline Jambon, policy officer in the “Skills Agenda” Unit of the European Commission (DG for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion), closed the European Year of Skills and discussed future action points.

 

Day 1 – Monday, 13th of May

The event kicked off with a presentation by Fabrizio Bitetto, CEO and President of the garagErasmus Foundation, that gave an overview of the year’s activities, highlighting the addition of new gE4s, as well as the engagement of existing gE4s in various initiatives. He discusses key events and projects, including the Learning Garage and the Annual Meeting, along with participation in prominent events.

Vito Borrelli, DG EAC Team Leader – Higher Education / Erasmus+ from the European Commission discussed the ongoing evaluation of the Erasmus+ programme, highlighting efforts to improve its effectiveness and address emerging challenges. He elaborated on budgetary considerations, mobility initiatives, and strategies for promoting inclusion. Attendees engaged in a dialogue, raising questions and sharing insights on topics such as accommodation and support for disadvantaged groups.

Carlo Bitetto, gE Network Manager, introduced ErasMag, a new online platform designed for the Erasmus Generation. This platform will enable students to write articles about their experiences abroad, effectively becoming “Erasmus correspondents.” The project, developed in collaboration with Gruppo SAE, is set to launch in the coming months.

Later on, representatives from gE4Orense, gE4Cordoba and gE4Varna highlighted their activities and initiatives, showcasing successful practices within the garagErasmus network.

Participants shared proposals for enhancing collaboration and communication within the garagErasmus community, emphasizing strategic planning, resource sharing, and the creation of operational teams.

 

Day 2 – Tuesday, 14th of May

 The day started with a presentation by Toñi Caro, Chair of the Quality Assurance Board, which provided insights into the 2023 Quality Assurance Report, detailing gE’s objectives, financial allocations, and ongoing initiatives. She outlined the board’s tasks for the year and presented key performance indicators.

After her presentation, Martina Altea Bellinzona and Nunzia Di Francesco highlighted two projects, BRIGHTS and Digital Life Learning, showcasing their objectives, methodologies, and outcomes. Attendees engaged in discussions and posed questions about project implementation.

Later, participants discussed new project proposals, focusing on collaboration opportunities, outreach strategies, and operational planning. Ideas were exchanged for enhancing gE’s impact and expanding its network.

Carlo Bitetto presented upcoming meetings and events organized by garagErasmus, including capacity-building sessions and networking summits. He encouraged participation and engagement in future activities.

Representants members of ESAA (garagErasmus, OCEANS, ASAF, ESN and EMA) started a discussion about the alliance’s future, focusing on different topics, such as collaboration possibilities, benefits of being part of the network, and possible improvements.

 

The garagErasmus Annual Meeting was a unique opportunity for gE members and stakeholders to connect, fostering dialogue and collaboration. It also served as a reminder to all attendees of the importance of being active within the network and maintaining enthusiasm for its current opportunities.

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