A Journey Towards Internationalization: Second SAAM Seminar in the EU Capital

(ANS – Bruxelles) – From 28 February to 2 March, the second international SAAM seminar “A journey towards internationalization” took place in Brussels. The Seminar was organized within the framework of the SAAM (Supporting Alliance for African Mobility) project.

This is a pilot project funded by the European Union and supported also by the African Union, with the aim of testing the feasibility of mobility between these two continents for staff and students of vocational education and training centers. Despite the challenges of the visa procedures for travel from extra-EU countries, the organizers of the Seminar managed to gather together in Brussels 60 participants from 24 different European and African countries to attend the second SAAM seminar “A journey towards internationalization”. The event was hosted by EFVET (European Forum for Vocational Education and Training) and EVBB (European Association of Institutes for Vocational Training) and it focused on explaining how to establish an international department in an educational center, build successful international networks, and create an internationalization strategy.

Most of the African partners of the project belong to the network of Don Bosco Tech Africa, whose Director, Fr George Tharaniyil SDB, was present in the Seminar, as well as representatives from Tech Don Bosco (Spain) and Don Bosco International.

Among the keynote speakers were Mr. Nicholas Ouma, Senior Youth Advisor at the Africa Union Commission Department of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (ESTI), Mr. Nicola Bellomo – Head of Pan-African Affairs Division (Africa.1) at the EEAS, Ms. Sussanne Nielsen – Human Capital Development Expert at the European Training Foundation (ETF), Ms Rita Festi – Project Manager at Scuola Centrale Formazione (SCF), Ms, Unami Dube Mpofu- Head of Unit Skills and Employment for  Youth and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), Mr. Theador Grassos – Secretary General at EVBB, Mr. Roland Farkas – Project officer at Education, Audio-visual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), Mr. Micro Trielli and Ms. Annet Wiedermann both of YES FORUM, Mr. Alfredo Garmendia head of International Department at San Viator.

Through many workshops, conferences and debates offered during the seminar, the participants dealt with the challenges of education and mobilities across these two continents, devising strategies and capacity building to try to overcome them through an effective internationalization strategy.

Currently the staff, teachers and students from African VET centers are experiencing mobilities in different European countries, trying to make the most of the last year of the project.

SAAM works to embrace new cultures, joining forces and cooperation, creativity and mutual learning, overcoming obstacles and prejudices.

The Seminar has been a very enriching experience that will further strengthen the ties between the two continents and will hopefully open the door to further partnerships and cooperation projects in this field.