EMANATE Magazine Issue 2: Does it Matter?

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EMANATE the official Erasmus Mundus Association magazine

Does it Matter? Issue #2 June/July 2019

ABOUT a little bit

EMA: the association for all students and graduates of Erasmus Mundus Master and Doctoral Programmes

The Erasmus Mundus Association is an organisation created by EM alumni and students to better serve our EMAzing community! Our goals: Over 15,000 bright international students took part in the Erasmus Mundus programme already. Almost 9,000 of them are members of our Association! We offer an international professional and personal network for Erasmus Mundus students and graduates. Our members can join our professional networks and service teams to network and become active within the Association. Jobs board and special enterpreneurship section are offered to our members. EMA members are ambassadors of the Erasmus Mundus. We share the idea of international education and spread the message around the world. Since its foundation EMA members have initiated or taken part in over 150 fairs, information seminars and promotional activites worldwide, using the promotional materials of EMA. EMA serves as channel of communication for students, alumni, universities and the European Commission. We have established a Course Quality Advisory Board to respond to the suggestions of the students. Through our Programme Representatives and Country Representatives EMA enables the potential Erasmus Mundus applicants to get in touch with the current students and graduates to receive a piece of advice and recommendations based on the experience of previous generations. Who can join the Association? • Newly accepted students of Erasmus Mundus Master or PhD Programmes (only Action 1) who have received an acceptance letter. • Current students and graduates of Erasmus Mundus Master or PhD Programmes (Action 1) •Alumni of courses which no longer are offered, but retain the Erasmus Mundus brand How do I become a member? Simply register on our website: em-a.eu It’s free of any costs.


Our history: EMA was established in 2006 at the initiative of the Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Commission. The Association was driven by the Erasmus Mundus students from the very start developing into a dynamic and democratic organisation. In October 2006 the first EMA Liaison Group has met to decide on the statute of the Association, its logo and structure. The Association was ever since goverened by the Steering Committee, a motivated group of dedicated volunteers. In 2007 the Service Provider for EMA was selected, providing the technical and organisational support to the Association. In October 2007 the first General Assembly of EMA took place in Brussels, having turned into an annual main event of the Association later hosted by the universities in Perugia, Vilnius, Madrid, Budapest and Prague. In 2008 a first regional chapter of EMA in India was formed, the other regions followed and by 2012 EMA regional chapters family is complete. In 2010 EMA members voted on changing the initial structure of the Association. Four service teams are formed, professional networks are emerging at members’ initiatives. Social initiatives followed: in 2011 EMA LGBT network was formed and EMA Women was created in 2012. Photo: EMA members participated in a Training Seminar hosted by ESAAeu in Bonn, Germany. Along with Erasmus Student Network garagErasmus Foundation and Oceans Network EMA members were able to form incredible bonds and trace out possible collaborative paths for the future.


1. BACKSTAGE Take a look behindthe-scenes of EMA and hear from your representatives 6 - Letter from the Editors 8 - ESAA Funding Open Call 10 - Farewell Messages from the President and Vice President 12 - Does It Matter?: Pavan’s Story

2. CURRENT EVENTS 14 - Briefs by Fatema Imani 16 -Vacancy: Seeking Women Candidates Only? by Aditi Tandon

3. WRITING COMPETITION Find the winners in the Letter from your Editors 18 - Diversity is Planet Earth! by Seun B. Abedayo 21 - Humanity should be our religion by Elham Badalzadeheaghdam 22 - A Border Prelude by Tatevik Sargsyan 26 - The Power of Stories by Guissell Caballero 31 - Reflections on Life by Abdelrahman Mohamed


34 - Renata Campielo 36 - Fred Bonatto 40 - Mayssa Allani


42 - Zahra Salah Uddin 43 - Meerrim Karybaea

48 - ‘Does it Matter?’ Project

44 - Aqsa Khalid Talent Corner

50 - SPARK! 52 - Shining Stars of EMA 53 - #EMAmeetsESAA

Columns and articles by members of the EMA Community 54 - Grame Whims Column by Lyka Caparas 56 - Erasmus Mundus City Tour: Oldenburg by Gabriella Mikiewicz 60 - Programme of the Month: GEMMA by Dresda Emma Mendez de la Brena 63 - Food & Wine Pairing 101 by Lyka Caparas

Dear EMANATE readers, The question “Does it Matter?” is one that perhaps we as human beings could take into consideration a lot more often. This is something that we, the editors of the EMANATE Magazine, learned during the process of putting together this beautiful edition for you. One of many editorial discussions we had was that about whether or not we would include in our publication submissions from non-members of the Erasmus Mundus community. The reason why we decided to do so is because it would make no sense to craft a whole magazine advocating for respect, understanding and empathy regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, social status, religious beliefs, skin colour, diverse abilities - or any other human condition -, and then to dismiss somebody’s voluntary contribution based on them belonging or not to our beloved Erasmus family. We are happy to have reached a wider audience with our first issue “Winds of Change”, wide enough to capture the attention of individuals outside of Europe and with no relation to the Erasmus programmes. We appreciate and value their contribution and we treated them as equals as much as we would like the world to treat us all.

a letter from your editors

With that being said, we are proud to bring to your hands a second issue filled with stories from several corners of the world, that touch upon fundamental matters such as mental health, spirituality, immigration, women’s rights and much more that we highly recommend our readers to explore themselves. Furthermore, we are grateful for all the great support from our contributors and the outstanding submissions from our readers to both the Photo and the Writing Competition. Showing up next, the selected winners: Photo Competition First place: Renata Campielo Second place: Fred Bonatto Third place: Mayssa Allani Writing Competition First place: Seun B. Adebayo Second place: Tatevik Sargsyan Third place: Guisell Caballero

You, our readers and contributors are the reason why we exist. We expect to get back to you with a new issue later this year. For now, we wish you enjoy reading this “Does it Matter?” edition as much as we enjoyed working on it.


Impressum Gabriella Mikiewicz, Editor-in-Chief


Estefanía Zárate Angarita, Editor-in-Chief

Erasmus Mundus Association AISBL - EMA AISBL Rue Joseph II / Jozef II straat 120 1000 Bruxelles / Brussels BELGIUM N° Enterprise: 0650.803.385


Oxana Sytnik, Head of Communications


ESAA open-call for project funding, 2019 The Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Alliance (ESAA) is launching a new call for projects in July 2019. Who can participate? The eligible applicants must be from at least one of the four alliance partners: Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association (EMA), Erasmus Student Network (ESN), OCEANS Network, garagErasmus. What are the scope of the projects? •Cluster 1: Strengthening Higher Education Quality: This cluster looks to encourage projects that serve to improve higher education and has 5 components: (1) increase skill development, (2) increase quality assurance, (2) facilitate degree recognition, (3) facilitate equal access, (4) and (5) increase employability. •Cluster 2: Spreading Erasmus+ and Widening Participation: This cluster aims to support the promotion of Erasmus+ and to increase participation in Erasmus+ initiatives and programmes. The cluster includes four components: (1) increase international cooperation, (2) increase knowledge of the Erasmus+ programme, (3) facilitate access to Erasmus+ and (4) training extra EU universities on the Erasmus+ programme


•Cluster 3: Increasing Social Inclusion, Empowerment, and Participation: This cluster encourages members of the ESAA Member Organisations to consider issues of social justice and work to address equity concerns and better serve marginalised populations. This cluster includes: (1) Give voice to marginalised populations, (2) Facilitate understanding across cultures, religions, and political divides and (3) Cultural Heritage •Cluster 4: Capacity Building: This cluster aims to increase the capacity of ESAA, Erasmus+ participants, and youth to better engage and participate in varied opportunities. This cluster includes four components: (1) Develop networking platforms and opportunities, (2) Develop knowledge exchange opportunities, (3) Provide trainings and skill enhancement to network members and beyond and (4) Facilitate collaboration among member organisations and members of different member organisations KEY DATES (Estimations) • Launch of application call: July, 2019 • Application deadline: Mid August, 2019 (23:59 GMT) • Plan to implement all activities in your project no earlier than August 2019 and no later than mid December 2019.

Organisations under ESAA Evaluation: • Experts from GSI, service provider. Peer review by 2 to 3 experts. • You can apply for any of the pillars and under different budget schemes. • The projects will be evaluated based on merit and there will be additional points for collaboration with other MOs in ESAA.

The Erasmus Students and Alumni Association (ESAA) is the organization that brings together ESN, Oceans, EMA and garagErasmus under the support of the European Commission to raise visibility and represent the Erasmus students and alumni internationally.

What is the budget? • Small projects: up to 1,500 Euro; • Medium projects: up to 5,000 Euro and; • Large projects: between 5,000 and up to 20,000 Euro. Process: Every project an EMA member applies need to run through the EMA project support Unit. This is a new unit under EMA. This process is mandatory to ensure quality assurance of the projects and also alignment with EMAs goals and objectives. Important note: Without this eligible check a member will not be given approval to submit the proposal. Don’t miss your opportunity to shine! Stay tuned for more updates on timeline! For more information about it and ESAA please visit: https://www.esaa-eu.org/


Farewell messag President and


MA has been a sense of joy, a place where I see purpose, compassion, connection, joy, belonging, and community. A community exceptionally diverse, full of changemakers and inclusive! My EMA journey started in 2009 when I was elected as the course representative for Erasmus Mundus masters programme Computational Mechanics. I had the privilege to attend the General Assembly in Vilnius, Lithuania. I still remember the day when the police in Vilnius had to drive me fast to kaunas so that I can make it to the flight on time. Such was the adventurous start to EMA. From that journey I have continued to be an active member developing new skills, building networking, gaining closer relationships, taking on more responsibility, to a changemaker and an influencer.

In 2013 during the 4th Presidential elections when I was elected as the VicePresident with over 90% votes among 180 plus delegates, I started trying to understand the feeling of what global citizen really meant. I felt EMA GA was nothing less than a United Nations assembly with delegates from all parts of the globe. A fun fact since 2009 I haven’t missed a single GA either physical or virtual (let me know how many GAs EMA has hosted til date). That was the same period I went through the worst times of my personal life. I had amazing support in Leasa, Luca, and Apiyo among the Steering Committee then. I battled, I almost gave up, stood back, fell back and was on a path which I felt I didn’t do justice to my role of Vice-President. Then even though my mind said its enough I need to move on I ran against Apiyo for the 5th Presidential elections. I lost by a margin of 7 votes, one of the closely contested elections in EMAs history. But I wasn’t sad that I lost, but I was sad I had failed the community of my promises when I stood as Vice-President. Then as they say when you dream something it does turn into reality. I got an opportunity to continue and be co-chair of ESAA which I was one of the founding members. We I had to convince the team of experts that I was indeed better than some of the past presidents to have that opportunity. This is when my passion and commitment reignited and along with Leasa, Edlira, and Apiyo I managed to ensure EMAs funding still sustains amid European Commission’s bigger plan of dissolving strands and having one pot of budget mostly as projects which is the case today. To be fair I wasn’t sure I was ready to run for the 6th Presidential elections, I didn’t even make application in the first call. Only to be called by several friends to lift me up and convince me I should take up the role. I went with half a heart, since I knew what challenges were coming and this was one of the toughest period EMA could endure. But little I knew this would be the roller coaster period with significant challenges at European Commission and Service Providers end. All the challenges were turned into ashes since I had phenix not one but 9 of them by my side. I am ever grateful and

thankful I has such wonderful comrades and avengers in Lucia, Agegie, Oxana, Amir, Kate, Tom, Carolina, Bailey, and Shiella. They had a strong set of volunteers which even until the last meeting in Bonn, Germany worked tirelessly to ensure EMAs path is heading in the right direction. I have served EMA over 11 full years, have been part of many amazing memories and for sure I can never bid farewell to EMA. My heart and emotions are etched to this #EMAzing community. I have learnt so much from each one of you I have met, you have taught me how to be a “Leader Without a Title”. We have indeed managed to make Radical changes for the sustainability and betterment of EMA, we have forged many new paths for the very first time, and the directions and ambitions have only got bigger. I am sure Katharina and her comrades will continue to develop global citizens for tomorrow and continue to transform EMA into the world’s largest intercultural student and alumni organization. Am super proud of all of you, without you all nothing would have been possible. I am going to miss you all. Lots of love Pavan Sriram


ges from EMA’s Vice President


ear EMA family,

It feels strange to be writing this message as I am wrapping up my mandate of EMA’s Vice President 2017-2019. I started volunteering with EMA in 2011 as Country Representative of Slovakia, then I got elected as President of the European Chapter 2013-2015 and the Regional Chapters Coordinator 2015-2017 (part of the previous Steering Committee), until finally assuming the position of current EMA Vice President. I never planned or imagined to be involved with EMA for this long yet here I am and for the first time in the past 8 years, I have no position lined up. EMA became part of my daily life. Sometimes it consumed me so much that it felt like my EMA duties were ruling all of my decisions - when to take holidays or how to organise my social life so that I could still take the team call or attend a meeting. Essentially, I have not taken a personal vacation as I spent all of my annual leave days on attending EMA events. I have no regrets whatsoever because what some see as a sacrifice I enjoyed thanks to the wonderful team of volunteers and the EMA spirit that just refuelled me with great energy that made me who I am. I have found true life-long friendship, mentors and created a new family through EMA. Pavan, Oxana, Agegie, Kate, Amir, Carolina, Tiago, Katharina, Tomas, Cristina, [INSERT YOUR NAME HERE]. All of you were part of this experience and an unforgettable part of my life which I will cherish. Your knowledge expanded my own horizons, I learned valuable lessons about myself and working with people from all walks of life, across disciplines that are priceless and unique. Let me say, that I am very proud of the outgoing team that had accomplished a lot thanks to their passion and love for EMA as well as all contributions of their team members and volunteers. Thank you, my dear Steering Committee, for your trust and lessons as well as for your patience in putting up with my flaws and for willingness to learn from each other on how to become better leaders and humans. Thank you all the EMA members who had voted for me and supported me during this journey. I truly hope that this is a not a definite goodbye and who knows, I might join EMA actively again in the future (EMA addiction is real :) but for now it is a time to pass on the baton and focus on my career and personal life. I am leaving with confidence that EMA is in good hands of the upcoming leaders who already showcased their qualities. I would like to take this opportunity to call upon all of you EMAzing people to provide your support to the new presidency and the board to steer EMA forward in the coming years. It has been a pleasure and a great ride EMA! I wish you success and good luck and hope to meet you all around the world in the future! Lucia Loposova



hese past days I have been reflecting on my life journey especially when my presidential journey with EMA is coming to an end. A journey no less than a roller coaster! During this time, I have aimed to make progressive changes to adapt, to learn and to acknowledge the situations happening around me, and most importantly the willingness to let go of some deep scars. Sometimes smiles have been the mechanism of comfort to hide all the pain, struggles and challenges. Smiles have shown me the path to be resilient and to see the brighter side of life. Growing up in a very normal middle class family in Bangalore (India), I had most basic necessities met, so I cannot complain about that. By not having my biological father by my side, I forged a meaningful relationship with my grandfather. So much so that I never

in Mechanical Engineering. I secured offers from 4 high profile companies, and chose the opportunity to work with the company that provided me an opportunity to spend a year in the US, and the savings from that job and loans I built a house when I was still only 22 years old. At that juncture in life, I wondered what really mattered to me. In 2008, this question brought me to look for opportunities to study abroad. Was it luck, hard work or a leap of faith? It must have been a dream, sometimes I still cannot believe became a reality - well let’s say I got lucky with the prestigious #ErasmusMundus scholarship to pursue a Masters in Computational Mechanics in Europe. Well, the story goes on and so does the quest on breaking boundaries and smashing walls in my own mind.

Does itPavan’s Matter? stor missed fatherly love and care. Nonetheless, I experienced significant amount of bullying, physical and sexual abuse. The grandfatherly love did not prevent me from trying to kill myself few times, either by drowning in a lake, by eating rat poison or trying to hang onto a ceiling fan. I could not even speak to my own mother until a month ago - the child in me blamed her for not protecting me enough. Fortunately, the positive spirit deep inside me never gave up, so I survived! From a person who was almost tagged as a failure, I made choices and worked harder towards becoming one of the top 3 in the class and the top 1% among 3000 graduates 12

My life book turned to an #EMAzing page and a journey started with Erasmus Mundus Association (EMA) - yeah, well did it matter? Let me tell you‌. I tried, I ran, I jumped, I gave up. That was my personal and professional life colliding together since I was stuck trying to reach the success which was defined by the norms of society. Post Erasmus Mundus syndrome, I continued to work in the UK but something was missing, I could feel a void inside. Then Norway happened, PhD happened which was on track, along with great volunteering work for #EMA. It was too good to be true, a major failure in


relationship dragged me back - well I chose to keep my family happy more than my own happiness. This dragged on for 5 years, only to be tortured and extorted by failures in the system and perceptions that exists in the Indian society. Amidst all the personal chaos, the quest of being part of EMA was what kept me going. I found lifelong friends who stood by me, supported me through the worst possible phases of my life, encouraged me to live on, and most importantly made me believe in myself once again. Yes, all this really mattered to me. What did not matter were what the colour, religious views, sexual preferences, social class, nationality and all those boundaries that exist. The unique phenomenon of coming across such loving and giving open minded souls like in EMA, does not happen anywhere else. Today, professionally, I am standing on an excellent ground contributing to the future of research and innovation addressing societal challenges in the EU. I am finishing my presidential term leading the transformation of this wonderful association of changemakers

with over 18000 members across 194 countries, and I have managed to have my own beautiful nest in central Oslo (Norway). All this led to the true journey of “Does It Matter� which has made me a stronger believer and changemaker who makes a difference for myself and for the people around me. Well, I am sure there are more hardships which people have suffered or still struggling with. All I wanted to convey is never lose faith in oneself, there will always be struggles, there will always be people who will have their perspectives and opinions about you, including your own family. All one can do is seek the path of progression, seek the path of being good and doing good. Not sure where the journey will take, but hey, I am making efforts and choices to lead the path in what I believe is right for me. I CAN control my words and my choices to make a change in me and around me!


1 2 3 Briefs

by Fatema Imani. EMANATE Staff Writer The writer tweets at @FatemaImani27. She is based in Hamburg, Germany and works at a marketing startup. She’s passionate about books and mental health issues.

Did you know a female astronaut is set to walk the moon in 2024 and potentially Mars? In one of the most exciting developments of the 21st century is the announcement that a female astronaut will walk on the moon in 2024 as NASA plans to return to the moon to test a generation of space aircraft preceding an eventual mission to Mars. Appearing on a radio show, NASA head Jim Bridenstine also said that it is likely that the first person to land on Mars is likely to be a woman.

“NASA is committed to making sure we have a broad and diverse set of talent and we’re looking forward to the first woman on the moon,” Bridenstine said. “These are great days.” So who will she be? No one knows for sure but the female candidate will most likely be selected from NASA’s current line-up of 12 female astronauts. More power to womankind!

Did you know G20 has agreed to reduce marine plastic waste? G20, which is a group of 20 major economies, have agreed on a deal to reduce plastic waste that is heavily contaminating the seas, although little detail was given on how that would be done. Environment and energy ministers of G20 economies met in Japan to cinch the deal.

One of the primary issues discussed during the meeting was marine plastic waste as pictures of plastic-polluted beaches and dead animals with stomachs full of plastic have ignited an outpouring of anger, with many countries banning plastic outright. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that he wants his country to lead the world in reducing marine plastic waste - including developing biodegradables and others alternatives. With climate crisis alarms sounding off all over the world, this is a much-needed step in the direction of tackling climate change.

Did you know detailed simulations have solved 40-year-old black hole mystery? Earlier this month in June, scientists uncovered the most detailed simulations of a black hole that solves a 40-year-old mystery.

This discovery comes fresh on the heels of the firstever photo of a black hole that mesmerised the world. Now astrophysicists are closer to understanding how the black hole forms and develops.

A black hole is formed when a large star collapses in on itself. As they suck in a matter such as gas, dust and space debris, they form an accretion disk - a churning mass of super-accelerated particles - which can be seen as a blurry halo around the image of the black hole that was revealed this year in April.




Seeking Women Candidates Only? Aditi Tandon, EMAnate in-house writer Twitter @ByAditiTandon

A Dutch engineering university has taken a radical step to improve gender diversity among its staff – by allowing only women to apply to its jobs. The Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is opening up its vacancies for permanent academic staff exclusively to women in the first six months of recruitment, according to a statement by the university. “For the next year and a half, this will apply to 100% of vacancies, after which the university will review the percentage covered by the scheme each year. The measure is intended to achieve a better gender balance. In the coming years, the university will have some 150 positions to fill,” said the statement. Currently, only 16% of full professors, 15% of associate professors and 29% of assistant professors are women. The aim is to bring up the numbers to at least half for assistant professors and a third for full and associate professors The step, to be implemented starting July 1, is part of the university’s new Irène Curie Fellowship program, under which new female staff will receive an extra starter package, 100,000 euros, for their research line. The university claims it to be part of “positive discrimination” to increase the number of women staff members – something they have been trying to do for years without any success – and remove gender bias favouring men when hiring. The news made it to European and international media. Responses to their announcement on social media showed divided support for the university’s decision. Those in disagreement with the decision termed it sexist, discriminatory, patronising and with a potential for a drop in quality of professors. On the other hand, those supporting the decision emphasised that it was legal in the Netherlands and a drastic step was warranted given that the university had been trying to get more women on board for a long time and eventually, this would benefit in making the organisation a more diverse and nicer place to work at. Where are the women in STEM? Historically, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields have been predominantly male. While there have been several attempts to aggregate data, even by UN organisations, on underrepresentation of women in STEM globally, there is a general agreement that it is hard to have an analysis that would be true of all countries, as the situation differs from country to country and even from specific positions within the STEM fields. 16

In the European Union specifically, data from the She Figures study on gender balance in science, for 2018 emphasises that, “The presence of stereotypes is especially strong in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), where women remain underrepresented at all levels starting as students (32% at Bachelor, Master or equivalent level) up to top academic positions (1%). Furthermore, women still make up a minority of top academic positions.” In two countries though, Norway and Lithuania, there were a higher proportion of females in science and engineering fields in 2017, among the total labour force, compared to men, the study found. In trying to compute reasons for the gender inequality in STEM fields, studies and experts have stated a wide range from societal and psychological aspects with some controversial explanations even attributing the skill in STEM fields to be gender traits, suggesting that men have an innate skill for the subject compared to women. Efforts are on…but are they enough? While explorations into the lack of gender diversity in this education field continue, there are emerging efforts that are looking to bridge this gap. Organised efforts like groups promoting STEM at school level and mentoring programs, while promoting positive role models, are globally seen as a successful technique for encouraging girls and women to pursue an education in STEM fields. At the policy level, there is greater recognition of the need to get more women into STEM fields in several countries. The European Parliament particularly has recognised the economic need for women in STEM fields to fill the insufficient supply of skilled workers in STEM fields for growth in the European Union and called upon member states to propagate the study of STEM subjects, particularly among women. While small steps have been taken all around, over years, to improve the situation, the continued lack of gender equality in these fields raises the question of whether these steps are in fact sufficient. Will gender equality ever be achieved if institutions continue working within their comfort zone? TU/e, through their decision to open up jobs only for women, presents a case study which could perhaps be pathbreaking. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. In either case, it will be a call for institutions all around Europe to rethink their gender diversity plans and question whether what they are doing is enough.



Diversity is Planet Earth! Does it Matter? by Seun B. Adebayo

Coming to Europe in 2015 as an international student under the Erasmus Mundus Master program with the Erasmus+ scholarship changed my life forever! In the past three years, I have lived, studied and worked in 9 countries, mostly in Europe. With several other opportunities to travel across Africa and North America. Since, after my graduation from the Master’s programme, I have received a full scholarship to continue my studies as a PhD researcher in a country in Europe. So, I can say that I am becoming ‘European.’ Therefore, in this article, I will be documenting my reflections on my experiences in Europe! In my travels across Europe, I have enjoyed the beauty of culture, customs, traditions, and diversities in nature. In Spain, I appreciated the fun-loving communal spirit, and the strong need to preserve traditions even if it takes the Spanish attaching every holiday to a festival! In the Netherlands, I became intrigued by the bike culture, my experience living in Amsterdam developed in me a passion for staying healthy and contributing to environmental sustainability by cycling. I am now a cycler for life!

In France, I am astonished by the love for and the quantity of the famous baguette consumed daily. In fact, my first few words I learnt living in France are Je veux un baguette. Initially, it was weird for me to see folks in Paris carrying so many baguettes at early hours of the morning. But now I can say that my taste buds have not remained the same after my encounter with baguette. In Malta, experiencing more than 1000 years of history and culture was a dream come true for me. I also appreciate the fact that the Maltese I met are proud of how their complex history made them who they are today, this, I believe, is empowering. Oh Norway, I couldn’t resist participating in the Norwegian Constitutional Day. One of the few occasions I saw so many Norwegians on the street smiling and celebrating a day that means a lot to them. My stereotype on how Norwegians are as cold as their weather was totally shattered on May 17. My friends in Oslo remain a cherished group. I will always be grateful to have met them in my European sojourn. Up till today, I am still bewildered by what it means to be a ‘Belgian,’ the ethnic, social groupings in Belgium is like having a plate of salad. But my 19

experience living in Belgium has made me aware of the benefits of accepting each other’s differences for a national cause. Ah, my beautiful Tuscany region in Italy, its diverse natural landscape is breath-taking! The countryside is fantastic, peaceful and abundant in nature. The warmly Italians I met love their traditions and villages. I guess the cities are meant for young people and tourists! It is quite a life-changing opportunity to live in Europe because you don’t have to travel long distances to experience different culture and nature. I experienced this going through the beautiful Alps in Switzerland, sophisticated hilly Luxembourg, the enchanted castles in Portugal, and the aesthetic German roads. Also, I have encountered different species of animals across Europe, and they are cultural pride to the places they live. A drawback, in my opinion about Europe, is the prevailing negative attitude and mind-set towards the increasing influx of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Europe. From personal experience, it is quite sad that diversity suddenly becomes a problem when it comes to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers (‘outsiders’) in Europe. Does it matter that they are ‘different’? Does it matter that the above categories of people add more colours to life? Does it matter that they represent the most essential attribute of Planet Earth – Diversity? It is my view that promoting stereotypes about the ‘outsiders’ is like shooting ourselves on the legs. Diversity


is all around us and above us – the birds in the sky! Diversity is Planet Earth, and we should enjoy and embrace all of it because we will not even be here for long. Does it matter? Seun is a PhD researcher at the School of Education, National University of Ireland Galway. He holds a BSc (Hons.) degree in Political Science from the University of Lagos and an Erasmus Mundus Joint MA degree in Education Policies for Global Development (GLOBED) from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in partnership with University of Oslo, University of Amsterdam and University of Malta. Seun has worked with Aflatoun International in Amsterdam, UNESCO HQ. in Paris, UNESCO Office in Monrovia (Liberia), the European Research Council Executive Agency of the European Commission in Brussels, and the UNICEF Office of ResearchInnocenti in Florence, Italy. Seun has also worked as Political Editor in a media outlet and a teacher in a community school in Nigeria. His research interest primarily includes education policy, teacher policy and professional development, culturallyresponsive pedagogy, youth development, Sub-Saharan Africa, SDG 4, progressive education reforms, conflict/post-conflict contexts, quality education, issues of equity and social justice. Seun has extensive research experience and has published some of his research results in peerreviewed academic journals, and presented at international conferences.

“Humanity should be our religion, and love should be our race.” Elham Badalzadeheaghdam, Mediterranean Forestry and National Resources Management (MEDFOR)

“Human beings are members of a whole, in creation of one essence and soul. If one member is afflicted with pain, other members uneasy will remain. If you have no sympathy for human pain, The name of human you cannot retain.” (Saadi) I am Elham Badalzadeheaghdam, an Agricultural Engineer who wants to change herself to make the world a better place to live. At the time of our creation, the Spirit of God is blown into the presence of each of us. When we die, we will return to him. So with any color, race, religion, and gender, we can raise the Spirit of God in ourselves. All human beings are the branches of God’s seedlings. Each of us has a unique story. Each of us has a mission that we should achieve in the best way. As a Muslim, as a Jewish, as Christian, as a Buddhist, as an atheist, as a man or woman, with any skin colour we should make our world a better place to live not for ourselves but also, for our next generations. Like the prism, we have different lights and colours but we have a point of resemblance and that is humanity. As Malala Yousafzi said; “It does not matter what’s the color of your skin, what language do you speak, what religion you believe in. It is that we should all consider each other as human beings and we should respect each other and we should all fight for our rights, for the rights of children, for the rights of women and for the rights of every human being.” We should try to have a world without war and racism, a world which every child despite color or gender could have education and human right. In the Erasmus Mundus programs, we are together from all over the world and different countries and cultures, and it can be the best place and a strong inspiration to start working on ourselves for being a better human, for making our world a better place. We should accept each other’s differences. We could change the world together because we could change ourselves. “Find the sweetness in your own heart, then you may find the sweetness in every heart.” As a human male or female or any gender with any sexual orientation, the soul of all of us when we are born is like a white and bright plate, we should not defile the souls and spirits with the filthy stains of discrimination and prejudice. Selfishness, self-reliance, and self-interest have led to this discrimination. It does not matter who we love only love does matter.


A Border Prelude by Tatevik Sargsyan

Tatev is an artist and a public programming enthusiast, dedicated to facilitating community learning and enhancing access to cultural and educational resources. She was born in Armenia, spent her teenage years in Russia, and moved to the United States at the age of 19. She studied Anthropology in Los Angeles and assisted in research with spider monkeys at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. She completed a graduate degree in Media and Communications in London and is currently working in for the publisher of Science magazine (AAAS). Tatev is inspired by the imagination and creativity of her aunties, diversity of beings, and building idiosyncratic connections. Say hello! www.tatevsargsyan.com | tatevsargsyan@gmail.com Because I like to play with something presented to me in the moment, when I know I should play, here it goes. What really got me thinking about preludes is this one: A photo that was taken at one of those airport security booths before you enter the United States of America. You should know that the day I was able to take a photo and quickly pass through the line of people to enter is far from the years where I wasn’t sure if they’d


let me in. This look is how I feel about the system’s check-mark. You cool. A lot for years I worried about getting deported. Especially the first six years with a pending asylum case and before that, an education visa that fell through. I stopped the asylum case before it was too late... I grew hopeless, I hadn’t seen my parents between the ages of 19-25. My grandfather passed. My mom had chemotherapy and took the bus to go to her sessions a few times. When I saw her the following summer, she had no hair and I was so mad. She didn’t tell many details about this; they wanted my sister and me to not worry in faraway lands. My aunt works in the Jewelry District in LA and has been illegal in this country for 25 years- you should see her fingers- they are swollen, and she works in really bad BAD conditions. She couldn’t go back home when her father died. When her mother died. Can you imagine that pain? The immigration officers: Immigrants themselves, who often choose to be reckless with the powers granted to them. I was in immigration court one day when a man whose family was in a war-torn country had to come back for his hearing a year from that date because the courthouse was going through renovations and they had misplaced his case. I’ve played by the rule and politely


responded to immigration authorities often demeaning questions, taking deep breaths. I learned the short history of the US for my citizenship test: there was only one mention of a woman, one mention of the native people, and 2 questions about slaves “from Africa”. They talked to me in English for an hour and then asked me to write “the president lives in the white house” as proof of my literacy. When my naturalization (?) ceremony was held a year late and I got tired of finding no answer on immigration forums, I assumed (halfjokingly) that they either have photos of me flipping the white house every time I pass by it or they know I’ve been in too many protests, advocating for decency.


On September 11, 13 years after being here, I had a ceremony at the Federal Courthouse across from the Capitol, where I was announced a citizen of the United States of America. I didn’t hold my hand to my heart during the anthem, I didn’t feel patriotic. “All people under one God” only makes sense if you separate God from religion. Religion be damned. It was a beautiful ceremony only because of the humans from across the globe who have been through their own journeys (very different from my own) to be able to pass through airport security with an automated picture machine. I try, but I can

never fully understand those different life experiences. I don’t need to understand the difference to be respectful of it. That difference is what makes life endlessly fascinating. Challenging notions aimed at dividing us as I go through life is what I am here for. Do you hear me, US customs and border protection?

and, most importantly, myself. I treat human beings as human beings and I talk to my plants. Funny, the first song in this playlist behind the photo is Bienvenidos (Maiche Anawateuo) by Tonolec on the album Cantos de la Tierra sin Mal -- which translates to ‘Welcome’ by Tonolec on the album ‘Songs of the Earth Without Evil’.

As I cross Borders and Customs, I look and listen. I hear my intuition. Little tolerance for convenient assimilation or avoiding uncomfortable topics. I challenge my family, my colleagues, my friends, my community, strangers on the street,

photo: screenshot of Tatevik’s Spotify profile with top playslists showing.


The power of stories by Guissell Caballero Globalization has played a major role in breaking borders and transforming them into bridges allowing: information, people, ideas, and products to go through. Through the years individuals have enhanced means of communication, production, education, transport, and many more. Although the global community has made progress, there is a harsh reality in regards to discrimination based on: gender, religion, sexuality, race, and ethnicity.

five friends, four


breaking borders. 26

Throughout history, time has taught how conflicting and destructing discrimination can be, whether it is the “Separate but Equal� ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States during segregation to the anti-Semitic ideals which prevailed in World War II. Nonetheless, history has also witnessed how liberating equality can be such as the Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. I strongly believe in the power of stories; for that reason, I will portray my arguments by telling the story of a friendship that could have been impossible 100 years ago. I applied to study a semester abroad in the United States back when I was in university studying my bachelor’s degree in Nicaragua. A few months after the submission of my application, I got an email explaining I would be able to study in West Palm Beach, Florida for a semester. To this day, I still remember vividly the joy and excitement that ran through my body. Two other girls from my university, Lucia and Elizabeth, joined me and together we lived the most empowering and wonderful learning experiences. Being women was probably the only thing we had in common, except for Lucia and me with whom I shared the same nationality; on the other hand, Elizabeth was from El Salvador. I was living my dream, being part of a group of women who were getting their education. Many may take education for granted; however, for centuries women from all over the world were denied access to education. Gender should not limit anyone from obtaining education or jobs. Once the girls and me were settled in our new university, we were thrilled to get to know our professors and classmates. The semester of spring 2017 officially began and on campus there were students from all over the world including: Australia, India, Sweden, Argentina, Cameroon, the Bahamas, and many more. I found delight in looking at the flags from different countries moving, almost as if they were saying welcome. A few weeks into the semester and a beautiful friendship had blossomed just like most of the flowers during spring. One cold night, Elizabeth introduced

, [ [ ; { } . ...


Lucia and me to Dave and Matt who were both from completely different countries. Dave was born in Cameroon while Matt was born in Australia. Both guys played for the basketball team. They were also studying business administration. There were five friends instead of two. On campus, we were the most diverse group of friends out of all. The majority of students would rather hang out with others that where from the same country of origin or who at least spoke the same language. However, that was not the case for my friends and me. Together we defeated any sort of language barrier, even though, it was not extremely difficult considering we all spoke English. The five of us had different accents, races, and religions. Elizabeth was raised in a catholic family, unlike the majority of catholic families; my friend was different than any other I have met. Elizabeth’s personality was sweet, charismatic, noble, and happy. In fact, she is the happiest person I have met. Her faith was remarkable; every Sunday she would be the first one to get up to go to mass. Catholics have a holiday called Ash Wednesday. On this day, Catholics go to mass and the priest marks a cross on their face, which symbolizes the beginning of Lent. This religious tradition allowed for everyone in the group to learn more about Catholicism. Moreover, everyone on campus was curious about Elizabeth’s “thing” on her forehead. On that day, more than twenty students told her to clean her forehead because she had some dirt. Every time such thing happened, my friend explained the meaning of the cross. My group of friends and I felt respect for Elizabeth’s devotion. For us, seeing our Salvadorian friend go to mass, without her parents having to force her, was different and admirable. We always respected and supported her beliefs. I remember one time, Dave who had never gone to a Catholic church decided to go with Eli, as a way to understand more about this religion. Up to this day, all five of us remain really good friends through Internet because we are all back at our home countries hoping to reunite soon. Undoubtedly, many have been subject of discrimination due to their religion whether it is Catholics, Muslims, or others. The truth is neither religion nor gender should matter. The richness of different cultures grows non-stopping moving from one place to another. Personally, I believe the beauty of diversity lies in three major components: being open minded, understanding, and embracing change. For some reason, the world surrounding us has changed but the prejudice in the shape of thoughts has not. It is about time to get rid off discriminatory barriers, which only exacerbate inequality.




Does it Matter


Reflections on life. By Abdelrahman Mohamed

Life is a journey everyone is obligated to have, through it every person develops his own character and set of experiences and skills. It’s like a diet, what you eat defines what your body is going to look like. My own life wasn’t that bright for me, I began a naive pure soul who just wanted to have fun all the time. My mother did her best to raise me and my two siblings but it was too much for her and it wasn’t her fault, we were locked up in our house never allowed to go out. But that wasn’t the subject of our concern as we were trying to escape the psychological torment that we were subjected to. After so much torment my soul became dark, my heart became more and more cruel and harder each time I went through a depression and my tears dried out after so much crying. So I continued living, constantly being drained out of my childhood. And so I continued living, I was an insecure unsociable kid trying to understand what was happening around me, I made mistakes that I kept being scolded for even so I had so much inside me, but I chose to keep silent, never letting anyone know of the tempest inside of me ‘cause I knew better than that as I tried so much, so many time did I shout for help but in vain, no one never understood me, not even the closest one in my life. So I kept silent. But I learned and understood, I grew up, but at what cost, a childhood ruined, hopes and dreams being stepped on, every kind of emotion being driven out of me and opportunities missed, the cost of maturity. Now my eyes are wide open, I know what I have to do but I doubt I have the strength or the ability to do it. Depression is now a familiar guest, I am

used to it in a way that makes me know each time it comes, I just sit quietly and drift off with my imagination ‘till it passes off. But life goes on. Why is it worth it to live such a life, in such a world, surrounded by such people? One of the many questions that I had kept asking myself when I was a kid and I think I have worked out an answer. Being alive is to have a purpose, some people find it in a place that they want to reach, they are the people seeking success. But I am not that type of person, I think the happiness that I have been looking for my entire life lies in my freedom. Freedom to not be afraid, freedom to have the ability to take a stand in the face of tyrants and say what I believe is right without being punished and freedom to dream, dream about a life of my own where I do and study whatever I love and to dream to have a person that understands me and accept me for who I am. Only then will it be worth it. Only then will it matter.

Note from the Editors: As members of an international organisation of young people such as the Erasmus Mundus Association, we are aware of the impact of Common Mental Disorders such as anxiety, and stress in younger generations. We would like to encourage all of our readers to raise awareness of the necessity of addressing these issues in our families, communities and society in general. If you are experiencing any discomfort related to your mental health, please reach out to any organisation or hotline in your community that can provide support.


Competition W




‘Does it Matter?’ Photo Competition “Does it matter when we participate in traditional democracy? If my voice represents such a small fraction, what can motivate me to step out of my comfort zone and take action? This photo was taken in June 2018, two years after the Brexit referendum when almost 30% of the possible electors did not vote. The consequences of Brexit are yet to be known but its repercussions have a sound impact in the everyday life of those affected by it.” - Renata


First place: Renata Campielo European Master in Migration and Intercultural Relations (EMMIR) 2017-2019. 35


Second place: Fred Bonatto Mundus Journalism, 2013-2015 fredbonatto.com 37



“Does it matter why I want to go?” It was 2012, about 6 months into the lifting of a call for travel boycott to Myanmar, and I was constantly asked by friends why I wanted to visit. I didn’t and still don’t have a concrete answer other than, to take photographs.


My name is Mayssa Allani from Tunisia. I’m currently pursuing my Master’s in France. I’m an EMA representative of the Master MIM: Crossing the Mediterranean towards Investment and Integration. One of my goals while living on this earth is to watch the sun set on the cliffs as much as I can.. even during the most stressful days. Does it matter if we go through stressful times?.. Last minute, I decided to run to the seaside barefoot to chase the sunset and watch the last rays before they fade into horizon. What a breathtaking view! It took all my stress away and reminded me that it doesn’t matter to have a bad day. All I need to do is go to the seaside, feel the wind in my face, watch the sun set and remember the blessings each day can hold. Thankful for the moments of peace each sunset had to offer. Watching the sunset in different countries of my Erasmus program was beyond amazing.


Third place: Mayssa Allani MIM: Crossing the Mediterranena towards Investment and Integration, 2017-2019


Honorable mention: Zahra Salah Uddin MIM: Crossing the Mediterranena towards Investment and Integration, 2017-2019

“under the golden sun, we are all one.�


Honorable mention: Meerim Karybaeva European Master in Law and Economics (EMLE) 2013-2015 DOES IT MATTER how much money is in your pocket, when cuddling with the kid and a piece of a colored paper cost nothing? I have a 3 years old kid who goes to a private kindergarten. Despite the high tuition fee, parents of the kindergarten insist on collecting of additional funds for teachers and administration. Every two months I feel forced to contribute money on top of the contractual fee so that my kid does not get discriminated or put aside. This month I spoke about inadmissibility of these extra-contractual money collections because there could be lone parents in our group or other hard life circumstances, to which opponents responded in a hard way. Instead of giving money, I decided to teach my kid to make cute postcards. We made one on a sunny day while chatting and cuddling with my girl. DOES IT MATTER how much money is in your pocket, when cuddling with the kid and a piece of a colored paper cost nothing?


Talent Corner: Aqsa Khalid European Master in Migration and Intercultural Relations (EMMIR) 2018-2020 Entry and poem for photo competition Instagram: @aqsa_khalid91

Nature doesn’t discriminate It evolves and gives space Nature likes diversity It gives colors to light spectrum and shapes to leaves I asked a leaf why are you different than others? It said, “So, I can absorb sunlight”. If we ask a human, why he/she is different? Wait, we don’t ask. We don’t step ahead and try to understand. We go against nature. We get upset when someone is unaware of our music genre But tell me then, we don’t know theirs, do we? We are here to learn and blossom We are building ourselves Like unfinished Sagrada Familia; but still worthy And capable to explain our differences.





The ‘Does it Matter?’ Project: Breaking Stereotypes, Building Empathy and Global Citizens Erasmus Mundus students and graduates have always been confronted with stereotypes about our country, religion, social-economic situation, sexuality and many more within and outside of travelling out of our countries. The big question is why do we have tendency to believe in stereotypes? How do they them and why is it so hard to get them out of our minds? We at EMA are working on the recipe to break the stereotypes in our minds, and start seeing the world for what it is, embracing its diversity and beauty. We are continuously working on daring us to be free thinkers with global mindset, who are global influencers and change-makers in our own ways.


DOES IT MATTER? Does it matter that we’re not the same? that we carry different names? Does it matter what colour you are? that you travelled from afar? Does it matter what religion you belong to? what they may think of you? Does it matter what we look like, or that we’re not alike? Does it matter what language you speak? how you talk and breath? Does itmatter how you act? how they will react? Does it matter what you choose? or if you win or lose? Does it matter where you are from? Does it matter for some, does it matter for none? Does it matter to whom god you pray? or which country you want to stay in? What stereotype did you believe in? How did you overcome it? What have you learnt? We will be applying for a large project under the ESAA scheme. Reach out to communications@em-a.eu and share your story with us!


SPARK! Sustainable Partnerships through combined Actions, Resources and Knowledge.



The strategic project SPARK is focused on fostering close collaboration between ESAA MOs (ESN, garagErasmus, OCEANS) and EMA through development and implementation of projects beyond the ESAA framework. SPARK’s main aim is to enhance and support EU’s objectives in the area of international dimension of HE and Erasmus+ through better integration of EMA in the HE policy processes and projects.

“ “ “

EMA’s SPARK team members Ingrid: In the past two months working as part of the SPARK team in Brussels, I have discovered myself in the midst of an ever-changing environment, which pushes me out of my comfort zone every single day, and I know that down the line I will be more than grateful for this experience. A real testament to the importance of SPARK and the responsibility that has been bestowed upon us comes from the sheer amount of times that “SPARK” is mentioned when discussing the sustainability of our organization. In many ways, I feel honored to be an ambassador for all of our #EMAzing members and the Erasmus generation. Joana: Being part of the Spark Project team has been very beneficial in personal and professional terms. Throughout the first two months of this professional experience, I had the unique opportunity of meeting key stakeholders in the European educational sphere and discuss about EMA’s contribution in the internationalization of European Higher Education and its continuous involvement with most pressing issues such as social inclusion, gender equality and women empowerment. Besides, I feel very privileged to represent the voices of EMA’s members and to share EMA’s values across Brussels and beyond. Caroline: Working with the SPARK Project under EMA has opened new opportunities for me to learn new skills specifically on project management and partnerships establishment. I had the opportunity to work closely with the Steering Committee of EMA and meet with current and prospective partner organizations. I am looking forward for more adventurous and enriching experiences through this project especially in terms of contribution for the sustainability and visibility of EMA in the future. Last but not least, I am beyond grateful to be part of SPARK Project and the EMA family. More information: https://www.em-a.eu/en/projects/spark-project.html 51

The Shining Stars of EMA by Sarah B. Haider, EMANATE staff writer Twitter: @bohotsaara Becoming an Erasmus Mundus student is surely a life-changing experience for students from across the globe. The programmes are not only academically rich but also culturally; living and studying in different countries and making friends from different cultures definitely broadens a student’s horizon. EMANATE recently reached out to some Erasmus Mundus students and alumni - or “Shining Stars”, as we like to call them - who have not only completed their studies with flying colours but who are also making the most of their studies in their respective professional field or communities.

Daniel Uriel Ventura Caceres Hailing from a moderate background and growing up in Bogota, Colombia, 28-year-old Daniel Uriel Ventura Caceres always had a passion for learning the English language.

However, as he attended a public school, his English skills could not improve. “Despite learning the language for 12 years in school, I was still unable to formulate a complete sentence in English,” Daniel recalled.

Congrats to our Shining Stars, Daniel Uriel Ventura Caceres and Muhammad Afsar Raza!


Even though it shook his confidence, he developed a keen interest in the language and dedicated all his energy to master it. By the time he completed his bachelor, his proficiency in the English language had improved to such an extent that he luckily got selected for the Erasmus Mundus programme GLITEMA (German Literature in the European Middle Ages). Daniel’s hard work and dedication not only enhanced his own academic experiences, but as he deeply felt for his fellow countrymen, he decided to do something for them as well. “To help students who have a knack for learning languages but are held back because of their socioeconomic backgrounds, I came up with the idea of starting Lingglo, an int’l academic Information Communication Technologies (ICT) project that aims to enable financiallydisadvantaged students in Colombia. The project allows students to have a language and cultural exchange through online courses with other students abroad as a part of their academic school programmes,” he told EMANATE. Like this, Daniel not only made the most of his Erasmus Mundus

master experience but has also helped thousands of students to move forward and learn the languages they love.

Muhammad Afsar Raza A look at Afsar’s impressive academic history shows that he is an extremely hard-working and passionate individual who believes that nothing is impossible in life. Hailing from Mianwali, Pakistan, the 26-year-old student not only passed his bachelor’s in chemicals and materials engineering with a distinction from Pakistan’s National University of Science and Technology (NUST), but soon afterwards, he also won the prestigious Erasmus Mundus Master’s scholarship in Functional Advanced Materials Engineering (FAME) to study in Europe. “Throughout my master, I showed utmost dedication towards my studies, so much so that I not only successfully obtained a distinction in my master’s thesis but also landed a PhD position at The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium,” he explained. Afsar is not only dedicated to his studies but also has future plans for the betterment of students from his country. Talking to EMANATE, he revealed that he owes his success to his beloved parents, Akhtar Raza and Taskeen Raza, and said that after the successful completion of his doctorate degree, he would like to do something positive for Pakistan. “I would like to transfer my knowledge among the Pakistani youth and would like to carry out sustainable energy development projects”, he added.

#EMAmeetsESAA2019 by Nikhil Persad, EMA Communications Team #EMAmeetsESAA2019 The crisp Bonn air wafted against our faces as we made our way to GSI Institute for the annual meeting of the Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Alliance (ESAA). And what a day to begin: summer solstice! From the onset, it was evident the Erasmus experience extends beyond years of study. In a jovial mood, a handful of hard working EMA persons met along with the Steering Committee – introducing themselves to or reconnecting with fellow volunteers. Day 1 began with an afternoon session where ongoing and newly completed ESAA projects were highlighted to an audience of attendees from our sibling organisations: Erasmus Student Netwrok (ESN), gargErasmus and Oceans Network. The charismatic Konstantinos Maragos gave a resounding presentation for the impressive WEAfriHug project while a charming Isabel Casillas Barragan of EMA communications Team excited us about the new issues of EMAnate. After the day’s icebreaker sessions, dinner felt like a relaxed evening with family! The second day saw scheduled parallel working sessions on Alumni Management, Stakeholder Participation Management and Project Management. Attendees were distributed across all sessions where they were engaged in practical and participatory work. This was aimed at honing various skills within each organisation in order to ensure their continuity with changing times. The day ended with a delicious dinner and social event which

succeeded in solidifying bonds made during the day. Dancing to music from around the world, playing games, chatting... it was an Erasmus evening indeed! As sessions drew to a close on the last day, it was hard to ignore that feeling of community and accomplishment. Events such as these are necessary for they facilitate networking and continued interaction which are imperative in progress of projects and organisational support. With a large group of skilled persons and resources at our disposal, great strides can be made under the Erasmus name! Most ideas are sparked from just a casual conversation with fellow persons and a creative fire can spread from there.. So, how successful was the event? We are going to let our pictures and ongoing work speak for itself! #SteeringEMAforward This meeting was not an ordinary one for members of the Erasmus Mundus Association (EMA) as it falls at the end of the two (2) year term for the current Steering Committee. On Saturday 22nd June 2019, the new EMA President and Vice President were announced amidst a cheerful atmosphere in Bonn, Germany. Polls closed at midday CET and at 3pm and with great joy, Katharina Heil was hailed as the new EMA President and Marsela Husen as Vice-President. With two powerful women at the forefront and dedicated volunteers, we look forward to another giant leap for EMA! For posts from this event and other updates, visit our website and social media pages! Stay #EMAzing folks!


Grape Whims: Cork or screw-cap? By Lyka Caparas, EMANATE Columnist

Lyka is a student of The International Master on Wine Tourism Innovation (WINTOUR). Follow her @wintour_master journey through her Instagram page: @grapewhims. Perhaps, the most controversial discussion in the modernity of wine, as it embraces technology from its traditional roots, is the use of screw caps. It has been an on-going dispute from winemakers to wine drinkers. New Worlds such as New Zealand and Australia have produced great tasting wines with screw caps, while Old Worlds (France, Spain, Italy) slowly embark this attempt. Traditionally, a natural cork is used to seal wine bottles. Cork comes from Oak’s bark. The thick bark is peeled and punched into little 54

cylinders, and there you have it‌ a natural cork! Debarking begins when the tree is on its 25th year, and it is periodically done every 9 years to allow the tree to regenerate healthily. Portugal is the top producer in the industry, followed by Spain. You might wonder how important this can be cork has an ideal elasticity and permeability. It seals the bottle opening; tucking all the liquid inside the bottle and controlling the amount of oxygen to get inside, simultaneously taking tiny amount of gases out. Tightly sealing

the bottle avoids quick oxidation. Think of a freshly cut apple left uneaten, the flesh gets brown as it is exposed to oxygen. Oxidation also shows in wine’s color. In red – purple turns to tawny, and in white – lemon to amber, of course depending on the amount of oxygen exposure. It’s not a bad thing when a wine is intended to be aged, but it becomes a fault if oxidative colors appear on its first year of bottling. Cork’s porosity allows absorption of minimal oxygen for wine to taste softer as it evens strong tannins in reds as it ages. Along with this process, it also develops ageing aromas such as toast, nuts, cinnamon- in whites; and earthy, mushroom, meaty- in reds. As good as it can get, cork also has its cons. Cork is a natural material that allows molds to develop if not sanitized the right way. Mold contributes an aroma in wine known as “cork taint”. When a wine smells like a wet cardboard, musty and moldy– that’s when you know that the wine is “corked”. Also, we definitely have our own stories of struggling to open a corked bottle. Not only that, a cork may easily crumble if pulled in a wrong way, worse when it’s too old and it’s crumblier that

it can fall off to the wine. Screwcaps turns to be an alternative. It is easy to open in a single twist, no cork opener needed. It is definitely one tough sealing pal, it keeps the wine intact with no contact from oxygen, hence there is no oxidation. It seals the freshness and vivacity in wine. It avoids cork taint aroma and it’s recyclable. However, it is perceived cheap by the market. It really is affordable in terms of consumer prices, but truth is, it has an expensive production cost. Bottling machinery and specialised bottles are required to achieve this. Cork or Screw Cap - does it matter? No. Most consumers still believe that there is no alternative to cork, which leads the wineries to keep cork regardless the consequences. After all, market demand is a powerful force that makes wineries reactive to the market’s preferences. If consumers are made aware that it’s totally fine in given situations, then it may turn out to be a good balance of patronage in both. Screw caps are ideal for wines to be drank early for still white wines and light red wines, but corks remain to be used for ageing wines. Each for its own purpose.


EMA City of the Month: Oldenburg, Germany By Gabriella Mikiewicz, Europen Master in Migration and Intercultural Relations (EMMIR) 2017-2019 Instagram: @sadtourist & Twitter: @gabriellasleeps - Carl Von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Germany - University of Stavanger, Norway - Ahfad University for Women, Sudan - University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, South Africa - University of Novi Gorici, Slovenia - University of South Bohemia České Budějovice, Czech Republic - Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Uganda

Above: me sitting in my favorite place to work on my school work, Käthe Kaffee Oldenburg, located in a vintage furniture store near the Hauptbanhof (Main Train Station).

When I was first accepted into the EMMIR programme, one of my very first questions was, “why Oldenburg?”. This small town in the north of Germany seemed like a very random place for a master’s programme about Migration and Intercultural Relations. It seemed like a small (I’ll even be fully honest here and say boring) place to live and study for the first semester of such an exciting two-year master’s course! With a population of around 165,000, Oldenburg definitely isn’t the central hub of excitement in Germany. But what I learned during my 5 months there is that the city doesn’t have to be the central hub of excitement to be a diverse, accepting, and interesting place to live. EMMIR is the European Master in Migration and Intercultural Relations. We are a network of over 200 students and alumni from 62 countries and speak over 56 languages. EMMIR is the first African-European Erasmus Mundus Masters course in migration studies and is jointly run by three African and four European universities. The first semester of EMMIR is in Oldenburg, Germany, followed by the second semester in Stavanger, Norway. In the third and fourth semesters students chose their mobility paths between the seven partners: 56

Living in a classic university town means that there’s a lot of student life and young people surrounding you. From stylish cafes to hip political bars and clubs to giant parties in the university, you’re always invited to some event and meeting new people. Once we even had a student night out on the town where some professors from the university were DJing, including one of our EMMIR professors! Apart from the student night life, there’s also real significance as to why UOL is the central organiser of the EMMIR Consortium. According to Lydia Potts, the EMMIR Consortium Coordinator, UOL is one of the first universities in Germany that started a migration studies programme (in 1982), and for many decades it had a very successful programme in intercultural education. “Although, compared to many other cities in West Germany, Oldenburg had a comparatively small migrant population, the University early on developed an academic focus in this field,” says Potts. Additionally, “geographically, many migration hubs are within easy reach from Oldenburg.” This significant connection to migration studies is part of the reason why EMMIR was founded. The first EMMIR students began in 2011, though the universities involved had started cooperating well before this time. In 2006, the European partners of EMMIR implemented a joint master, JMMIR. Eventually, as the African partners became

involved, the EMMIR consortium emerged, In 2010, EMMIR successfully applied for an EMJMD. During our first month, what we call the Intensive Phase (though the ‘intense’ part doesn’t seem to end with September), we attended an ‘Arrival Cities’ tour around the city. The Arrival Cities project is created by URBACT, a European exchange and learning program promoting sustainable urban development. Community leaders from the various Arrival Cities meet together a few times per year to share experiences and learn from each other. Oldenburg is one of 10 “Arrival Cities” around Europe. According to URBACT, “Currently, almost 22% of the Oldenburg’s population is from a migrant background, with people from Iraq, Turkey and Poland making up the largest migrant communities. Oldenburg is also home to Europe’s largest Yazidi community and has become the heart of the worldwide Yazidi diaspora. Through the German national dispersal plan, Oldenburg received over 1400 refugees in 2015, at a rate of around 40 new arrivals per week.” This has created some obvious tension, as is the case in many cities in Germany, and even a racist pushback against migrants and refugees. But it’s also created a resistance movement against that racism. During the Arrival Cities walking tour, we wanted to get to know Oldenburg through the lens of migration, history, resistance, media, and more.

Top: the Kramermarkt happens in Oldenburg every year between September-October. Middle: drinking traditional German hot spiced wine (gluwein) at the Christmas market (Lambartimarkt) on the main square in the city centre. Bottom: the sun sets late in Northern Germany, this photo was taken around 22:00 in the city centre!

While walking around the city, we really focused on unique and modern forms of resistance: graffiti and stickers. One of our stops on the tour was a football club formed to combat racism and stereotypes, where you could also catch local games! The tour showed us a completely different side of Oldenburg that you might not get to see on the surface: one where students host anti-racism parties and post “refugees welcome” stickers all over the city; one where international Erasmus students can come to form new experiences together; one where diversity truly blooms. This September, my cohort (C7) of EMMIRians are graduating, and I am reflecting on our time spent together. Our first semester, getting to know each other, riding on our bikes in big packs around the city, are some of my most memorable experiences of Erasmus Mundus life. I hope that EMMIR spirit lives on and that our students continue to contribute to the diversity of this city. Congrats, my fellow C7 EMMIRians! We did it! 57

EMANATE Olden EM City Travel of theGuide: Month: Ol by Gabriella Mikiewicz, European Master inO Migration and IMP RTAN TIntercultural P L A C ERelations S: (EMMIR) , 2017-2019. 1. University of Oldenburg Instagram: @sadtourist 2. Hauptbanhof (Main Train Station)* Twitter: @gabriellasleeps 3. ZOB (Bus Station) * Remember that there are two cities in Germany named Oldenburg! This one is officially named “Oldenburg in Oldenburg” and the train station is called “Old(Old)”.

WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK: 4. Combi: large supermarket (Ammerländer Heerstraße) 5. Biomarkt: ‘health-foods' market, organic foods, more expensive (Uhlhornsweg 99) the When I was first accepted into 6. Cedar’s: doner kebab and falafel EMMIR programme, one ofinmy very Oldenburg (Ammerländer 61) first questions was, Heerstraße “why Oldenburg?”. This small town in the north of Germany 58 seemed like a very random place for a master’s programme about Migration

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combat racism

Programme of the Month: Women’s and Gender Studies (GEMMA) by Dresda Emma Méndez de la Brena, Universidad de Granada & University of Utrecht, 8th Edition. GEMMA Program Representative for EMA


or 4 years in a row, the Erasmus Mundus Masters in Women’s and Gender Studies, GEMMA, has been ranked as the best master’s degree of its kind in Spain by nation national newsletter, El Mundo. GEMMA covers and over exceeds El Mundo’s 15 point criteria to be eligible as the Women’s and Gender postgraduate programme of reference in Spain. This recognition is the result of 12 years of joint collaboration and GEMMA’s unique way to bring together approaches to feminism from all cardinal points in Europe. GEMMA provides high quality academic education and professional competencies for personnel working or intending to work in the areas of Women’s Studies, Gender Studies across Europe and beyond. But, to say a graduate programme is the best could be really relative and meaningless if it is not compared to the personal experience of those who have benefited from it. I am one of them. I studied at GEMMA; I grew up at GEMMA; I am a GEMMA. GEMMA has been a vital part of me. It has meant to me embodying the challenges; failures and struggles of living a feminist live.


To say a graduate programme is the best could be relative and meaningless if it is not compared to the social transformation it

must provoke. Because GEMMA is not just the individuals the programme welcomes every year but the bigger community it helps to create. A community enriched by the best quality of the member faculty it gathers and the queer and feminist scientific knowledge they provide which helps to enrich our understanding of the world. To say a graduate programme is the best could be relative and meaningless if it does not make you trying to the best. GEMMA has helped me to recognize not only my own personal and academic potentialities but also those of others. It is to be proud of my feminist/queer community and the younger feminist/queer generations which come after me. It is to think about the future and be confident of the feminist political path we are creating. A path that depends first and foremost on women’s freedom and queer recognition. One that knows that the traditional storytelling of history is now also the herstory of women and the future of disabled queer/trans collectives. One that knows that there is no political turning back. To say a graduate programme is relevant and significant only if it gives you a community, identity and the intellectual space to be whatever you what to be. This is why GEMMA is the best. And this is why I am a GEMMA. Read the news ranking here!





Food & Wine Pairing 101 by Lyka Caparas, Erasmus Mundus International Wine Tourism Innovation (WINTOUR) What better enjoyment it is when food is paired with wine. Wine is an excellent complement to food as it can bring out the best flavors in food. It can tone down harsh tastes or even harmonise the good ones. However, the key to achieve this fusion of wine with food is to identify the dominant flavor for each by the use of senses and of course… imagination! These are the general pointers to keep in mind! 1.Sweet with sweet – Sweet food turns wine into something thinly flavored; lacking taste, depth and power. As food increases alcohol warmth and acidity in wine, it loses the wine’s robustness. What pairs well with sweet food is another sweet wine with the same level or a higher level of sweetness. In this way, the food does not overpower the wine. Perfect examples of these wines are from Sauternes and Monbazillac – the popular sweet winemaking regions in France. 2.Acid with acid – Acidic food such as those with citrus character can decrease the acidity in wine. Wine with decreased acid can lose the structure of its total flavor. Think acid like a skeleton of wine, without it, wine tastes so flimsy. Even in red wines, there should be a tinge of acid to spruce up its taste. Therefore, an acidic food should be paired with highly acidic wine. This way, both can agree to a balance of flavor. Highly acidic wines are normally in fresh white wines. 3.Salt with bubbles – The most interesting pair that can be done is a bag of potato chips or fries with a glass of bubbly cava or champagne. As odd as it sounds, the carbon dioxide spurring upwards in the bubbly flute glass has the capability to cut the fattiness in food – cleansing the palate from its greasy texture in the mouth. Vice versa, salt

in food can soften the acidity in wine. How to say that a wine is acidic? Acid encourages saliva in the mouth. Just imagine how the pair can tease your appetite. No wonder why hors d’oeuvre are always paired with a cold, sparkling wine! 4.Umami with balanced high tannin – Umami is a flavor commonly found in Asian cuisines. It is also known as savory. And in savory foods such as ramen, mushrooms, ripe soft cheese can make one crave for the subtlety of taste more and more. However, it can decrease body, sweetness and fruitiness of wine while increasing bitterness, astringency and alcohol in wine. It requires wine with plummy, red-fruit aromas expressing notes of fresh cherries, red apples and strawberries, but not too powerful red wine. Robust red wines are too tannic (astringent) and alcoholic that umami food may amplify to a disadvantage. 5.Wine in buttery, fatty food - It is true that a red slab of steak pairs perfectly with a deep, red wine. Red wines have tannins. Tannin is mistakenly thought as bitterness. Tannin is not a flavor, but it is a sensation in the mouth. Tannins can evaporate saliva creating to a pucker and dry mouthfeel. Tannin is so good with fatty dishes as it lifts up the heaviness of fat in the palate. Just imagine a powerful, red wine of Spanish Priorat or Bordeaux Red Wine with a fatty marbled steak slathered with salted butter. Yum! On final note – food-wine pairing is also subjective in nature. These are baseline of flavor references. You can try it for yourself by tasting food and wine separately, then tasting them together. You will figure out the contrast or harmony of flavors. When it’s in harmony, then it’s a good pair. Enjoy cooking the recipes and finding the right wine that suits best!

E T A N E A N I . M n E GAZautumsion s s i i A h m t b Mreturn for su n.

o s i l l t u i a t w tac m r o f n o in C

Prepared by: EMA Communications Team Editor-in-Chief: Gabriella Mikiewicz, Estefania Zarate Angarita Illustration: Elham Hemmat Supervision and communications: Oxana Sytnik emanate@em-a.eu communications@em-a.eu 64