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Student mobility programmes strengthen EU-US relationship, says Vassiliou

European Commission - IP/11/28   13/01/2011

Other available languages: FR DE EL

Ip/11/28

Brussels, 13 January 2011

Student mobility programmes strengthen EU-US relationship, says Vassiliou

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, has highlighted the importance of EU-US education mobility programmes which enable young people from the European Union to study in the United States and vice-versa. In a video-conversation with the U.S. Ambassador to the EU, William E. Kennard, the Commissioner underlined the impact of such grant schemes in strengthening the transatlantic relationship. Highlights of their conversation can be viewed on the Commissioner's website and on You Tube. Around 6,000 students and academics from the EU and US are expected to benefit from grants for exchanges in 2006-2013.

In the video the Commissioner and Ambassador speak enthusiastically about their personal memories of study visits. Commissioner Vassiliou, whose children spent part of their education in the US, recalls her own "great experience" of taking part in an international visitors' programme in the 1970s. Ambassador Kennard describes his college studies in France as "an experience that fundamentally changed my life".

The video-chat was recorded on the occasion of the 11th International Education Week.

Excerpts:

Ambassador Kennard:

"The programmes that we have with the European Union are so important because we are able to get young people at a formative time in their lives to travel, to open their eyes to the world. This is an opportunity for them to really get to know other cultures and other people in a very personal and fundamental way our experience has been that it really does change relations between nations."

Commissioner Vassiliou:

"The (European) students come back with different impressions about new cultures, a new language, a new way of life and new educational systems. This experience is great – it enriches their life."

Ambassador Kennard:

"About 60 000 EU citizens go to the U.S. and 135 000 Americans go to Europe ... collectively we are building lots of relationships around these programmes."

Commissioner Vassiliou:

"The Schuman Fulbright joint grants give the possibility for young people, graduates and professors to come to the European Union, to any country of their choice, or European academics and students to go to the States and make specific studies."

Ambassador Kennard:

"The world is changing, most people will have many more careers in their lives than our parents and education is key to being successful. There will be many more opportunities, but only if people prepare themselves to seize those opportunities."

Commissioner Vassiliou:

" Our research shows that young people who participate in mobility schemes get a lot of benefits. They add to their skills and qualifications. We have made it our aim that by the year 2020 we should give to as many young people as possible the opportunity to participate in mobility programmes. I'm sure most people will have heard of Erasmus. Now we have Erasmus Mundus which is for international participation in mobility schemes."

Ambassador Kennard:

"I wanted to publicly thank you Commissioner for the support that you have given to the Fulbright programme. It wouldn't have happened without the support of you and the European Commission."

Commissioner Vassiliou:

"I am really encouraging all the young people from the United States to participate in these programmes but equally to our people to visit and study in the United States."

Ambassador Kennard:

"I would just advise people to reach out, get good advice and get on a plane."

The Schuman-Fulbright programme provides grants to promote EU-US relations and bilateral exchanges. Financed by the Commission and US State Department, it provides support for either a one-semester period or a full academic year of research or lecturing on EU affairs or EU-US relations at an accredited institution in the EU or US.

The Schuman-Fulbright scheme is part of the Atlantis Programme for EU-US co-operation on higher education and vocational training. In 2006-13 the EU is investing more than 43 million in policy cooperation, university projects and joint transatlantic degrees. US universities and students can also participate in the EU's Erasmus Mundus programme, which offers scholarships for joint masters and doctorate courses.

More information:

Commissioner Vassiliou's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/vassiliou/index_en.htm

The U.S. Mission to the EU: http://useu.usmission.gov and

http://www.facebook.com/useubrussels

Fulbright Schuman programme (US site):

http://www.fulbright.be/fulbright-awards/fulbright-schuman/


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