In December 2019, the EU has launched the EU ALUMNI initiative in the European Delegation in Beijing, China, in which participants of different EU cooperation initiatives - like Erasmus+ and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, as well as the EU-China Interpreter Training Project (EUCITP) and the EU Visitors Programme - came together in a network. The goal was to help people stay in touch, exchange experiences and keep their relationship with the EU.
The event started with a limited number of handpicked alumni who got together discussing the potential of an EU Alumni community in China and how a fruitful cooperation could look like. After that, the group moved on to the reception, where they met other invited alumni and the EU ALUMNI initiative was launched at a ceremony by H.E. Nicolas Chapuis, EU Ambassador to China, and Ms Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director-General of DG Interpretation (SCIC) at that time.
In his introductory remarks, Mr Chapuis said: “EU Alumni are active across all sectors of the EU-China relationship. I’m very happy that we are starting a project that will connect all the members of our 'EU family', allowing us to stay in touch with them more systematically.”
In her welcome speech, Ms Fink-Hooijer, Director-General of the European Commission's interpretation service, highlighted the importance of the EUAEI in the EU-China relations. Ms Fink-Hooijer said: “The main goal of the EU Alumni Engagement Initiative launched today is to strengthen the EU’s worldwide relationships and partnerships with EU Alumni, deepen the ties between the EU and its partners and foster a better understanding of each other. The Chinese Alumni act as connectors, building informal bridges between the EU and China.”
The initiative has the potential to reach more than 4000 people from across China who have participated in EU funded programmes. The initiative foresees a cross-programme exchange – be it face-to-face or in the future also an online web platform where the alumni network can stay connected.