AETS is currently leading an EU-funded project “European Union Public Diplomacy in India through Policy and Outreach Partnerships” (EUPOP), which aims to improve the EU’s visibility in India through continuous sensitisation of the EU’s actions and positions, all while influencing India’s perception of the EU.
One of the means of application of the project has been the implementation of numerous “EU days” throughout the country. EU days are essentially workshops to promote awareness of the EU as an important destination for higher education and research, providing opportunities to Indian students and researchers. Various EU days have already been organised, and on the 8th of December 2018 the latest one was held in Manipal in South India.
The EU day in Manipal served two purposes: the first is its constant overarching purpose of promoting awareness and the second was to launch the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence (CoE). The Ambassador of the EU to India, Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski, inaugurated the CoE in the Department of European Studies, at the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), the first-of-its-kind in India. Dr H S Ballal, the pro-chancellor of MAHE was present during the inauguration, along with other fellow dignitaries of the MAHE, the Education, Audio-visual and Cultural Executive Agency of the EU (EACEA) and the EU Delegation (EUD). The Ambassador congratulated the members of the leadership, faculty and student bodies of the MAHE on this achievement and stated that the MAHE has always been an Indian pioneer in the promotion of higher education and research in international relations, and particularly European studies. The head of the Department of European Studies (DES), Prof Neeta Inamdar, provided a historical perspective of the origin and growth of the Department since its inception in 2009 and thanked the EU for the continuous support which it has provided. To date, the EU has supported 13 different projects at MAHE under the Erasmus Mundus / Erasmus+ programmes.
The remainder of the day’s programme revolved around the overarching objective of the EU day: promote awareness of the EU as a destination for higher education and research. The keynote speech was delivered by the Ambassador of the EU to India in two parts. The first addressed the general audience which included students, researchers, heads of different departments of the MAHE, beneficiaries of the EU’s “Capacity Building in the field of Higher Education” (CBHE), and the Press. The second was aimed at students and scholars from the DES and the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations. The second part of the speech focused on EU and India relations, EU as a Political Project, the Eurozone, Brexit, EU’s New Strategy for India and how the EU and India are natural partners. The speech was followed by a questions and answers session with the Ambassador, which demonstrated the engagement of students and their respective interest in the EU.
Following the Ambassador’s speech, the Head of the Political Section continued from where the Ambassador had left off; focusing on “the European Union in the World Today”. Her presentation began by making reference to the creation of the European Union and followed through to the significance of the EU in the world today. Given that the vast majority of participating students are studying European Studies, the speeches and presentations were very engaging and well-received. The project presented the EU Higher Education initiatives, highlighting the Erasmus Call of 2019, which in now open to provide funding and scholarships. At the end of the EU Day, a quiz on the European Union was organized based on the previous speeches and presentations, which the students were enthusiastic about participating in.