The European Union will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the extraordinarily successful Erasmus student mobility program with Australian participants in Melbourne on 23 May.
Erasmus started as a European student mobility programme in 1987 and has since been opened to the rest of the world. The EU's Ambassador to Australia, Sem Fabrizi, said more than 9 million people, including from Australia, have taken part in Erasmus programs which have aimed to "enrich lives, and open minds" for 30 years.
"Education is absolutely vital to foster better relations between the EU and Australia," the Ambassador said. "Since 2015, 94 Europe-Australia partnerships have been supported by the latest Erasmus programme which is worth $A3 billion.
"The latest programme will bring 362 Australian students and academic staff to Europe while the Australian partners will host 284 Europeans.
The Ambassador said it was pertinent to celebrate Erasmus, and the importance of education and understanding, at a time when populist movements were on the rise.
"Erasmus encourages students to learn about each other and their different cultures," Ambassador Fabrizi said. "By understanding each other, we can pass on to future generations a more prosperous, a more social and a safer society."
The Erasmus anniversary comes in the same year the EU is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. The Treaty of Rome laid the foundation for the creation of the EU which has become the world's largest economy with more than half a billion citizens. The EU has also become the world's largest investor in research and innovation and the biggest development donor.
Today's Erasmus event comes at an exciting time in the EU-Australian relationship with the first EU-Australia Leadership Forum to be held in Sydney next month, the possible start of free trade negotiations later this year and a Framework Agreement set to be signed. This is also the 55th year of diplomatic relations between the EU and Australia.
Journalists are welcome to attend the event.
WHEN: 10:00am - 11:45am
WHERE: RMIT, CITY CAMPUS, Council Chamber.
Building 1, level 2R, 124 La Trobe Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
CONTACT: Nick Pedley
EU Delegation to Australia
firstname.lastname@example.org or 02 6271 2744