Yuste Foundation stresses the role of young researchers in bringing up solutions to European challenges in Rome

The President of the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation’s Executive Committee and Director General of External Action of the Regional Government of Extremadura, Rosa Balas, presented the book Peace and European values as a potential model for integration and progress in a global world in Rome. This publication encompasses the research works of the ten researchers who were granted a Sofia Corradi, Mamma Erasmus-Carlos V European Award Research and Mobility Grant for European Studies.

During the presentation, Balas was accompanied by the Director of the Office of the European Parliament in Italy, Carlo Corazza; the Spanish Ambassador in Italy, Alfonso Dastis; Professor and winner of the Carlos V European Award, Sofia Corradi; the coordinator of the publication, Jesús Baigorri and two of the researchers whose works are included in the book, Bettina Steible and Luigi Cino. The event was supported by Alimentos de Extremadura and Extremadura Avante, the Regional Government of Extremadura’s group of public entities.

In her speech, Balas stressed the role of young people in finding solutions to the problems faced by Europe, because “they are the main characters of the future”. In this sense, she pointed out that some of these measures imply “carrying out research and collaborating, because it is more necessary than ever to build Europe through education, reflection and calm debate and because Europe is a project that is being built day by day with everyone’s work and contribution”.

The Director General explained that the Regional Government of Extremadura set up this institution because “its European identity and Ibero-American vocation are printed on its founding Statute, which makes the Foundation a meeting point between both regions, to reflect and debate on the challenges Europe must face and offer ideas in order to keep delving into the European project”.

In her speech, Rosa Balas expressed words of acknowledgement for the Italian Professor and winner of the 2016 Carlos V European Award, Sofia Corradi -Mamma Erasmus- because, in her view, she “embodies the dialogical method like no one else, the knowledge of “otherness”, and total immersion in a different culture” and this is evidenced by the creation of the Erasmus Programme; a project she has dedicated her life to and whose activities have no international boundaries.

The Italian professor was awarded the Carlos V European Award in a ceremony presided over by His Majesty King Felipe VI on 9 May 2019, at the Royal Monastery of Yuste (Cáceres). The Research and Mobility Grants for European Studies, which are linked to the Carlos V European Award, were launched and those who were awarded these grants presented their research works in a doctoral seminar organised by the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation from 24 to 26 July 2017. This publication encompasses these research works and is included in the book collection “Cuadernos de Yuste”, published by the editorial Peter Lang.

The awarded researchers in each edition make up Yuste’s Alumni Network, which spreads throughout the world’s main universities and research centres and was “established to enable the exchange of projects and information”, Rosa Balas explained.

According to Sofia Corradi, the title of the book Peace and European values as a potential model for integration and progress in a global world is a faithful reflection of reality and it includes all current keywords: “we want peace, although there are wars that are very close to our countries, as is the case of North Africa and the Middle East; we live in a global world, while we fear the Chinese coronavirus and the bushfires in Australia”, she explained.

In Corradi’s opinion, young people are the only hope for the future and she mentioned the important role played by “Greta Thunberg and her Fridays for Future” as an example. Its aim is to raise awareness on the climate crisis and the student movements in China. However, these examples also apply to the researchers who make up the Alumni Network as they “are fostering the development of a set of dear cross-cutting qualities and skills in young people, such as a mindset oriented to overcome obstacles through dialogue instead of conflict ”.

The presentation of the book is included in an event organised with the aim to place value on the Erasmus Programme –now Erasmus Plus- and on the European values it transmits among its beneficiaries. Ever since the Erasmus Programme was launched in 1987, 10 million European citizens have benefitted from this exchange programme for students, researchers and teachers, thus becoming one of the European Union’s most outstanding achievements as it brings together people from all over the continent; creates a sense of belonging and solidarity; increases competences and improves the participants’ perspectives. The last report published by the European Commission for the year 2018 states that that year the project had a budget of 2.800 million Euro; 10% more than what had been provided in 2017 and that it will continue to increase in the forthcoming years.

If during the current Multiannual Financial Framework 14.700 million Euro have been earmarked for the programme, the Commission’s proposal for the EU’s new economic cycle is to double that amount to 30.000 million Euro aiming to make the programme even more inclusive, international and accessible to people from different backgrounds.

Several researchers included in the publication spoke during the presentation of the book, such as Luigi Cino, who highlighted Yuste’s role as an “adequate lab to collaboratively discuss how European common values represent a model for integration and progress in a global world”.

The Professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, Dr. Mayte Anais Dongo, highlighted that the doctoral seminar had been of great benefit to her because her fellows’ contributions “enriched my research project and enabled me to expand my contact network through the Alumni Network”. In the like manner, she pointed out that the university had asked her to foster the participation of professors in the Erasmus Plus Programme, “a programme that is already global and not just local”. Once the presentation of the book concluded, the researchers received an accrediting diploma.

Dra. Bettina Steible then assured that ever since she had been awarded a Research and Mobility Grant for European Studies, she has participated in several activities organised by the Foundation to promote the values of the European Union, “activities that are especially necessary at this time of crisis”.

The works published in this book have had the support of the Regional Government of Extremadura; the Agency for International Development Cooperation (AEXCID); the Italian Embassy in Spain; the Italian Government through the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research; the Assembly of Extremadura; the City Council of Cáceres; the City Council of Badajoz; the University of Extremadura; National Heritage; and the Socio Economic Governance and European Identity Network (SEGEI).

The event was attended by the acting director and press officer of the European Commission in Rome, Vito Borrelli and Manuela Conte, respectively; the Director of International Relations at the University of Extremadura, Pablo Hurtado; the Deputy Director General of Avante, Matías Sánchez; the official Permanent Representative of the European Commission in Rome, Beatrice Covassi; from the Erasmus+ Italian Agency, Clara Grano; the Director of the Royal Academy of Spain in Rome, Ángeles Albert; the Secretary General of the Italo-Latin American Institute (IILA), Donato di Santo, as well as six Erasmus students in Rome from the University of Extremadura, embassy representatives, media and researchers.