22 November, 2012

Capitalising on volunteer experiences

Sala Alessi, Palazzo Marino, in the heart of Milan: that was the venue for an open seminar that our Milanese partner Ciessevi had arranged as part of the 3rd partnership meeting of the INVEST project on November 12th. In this majestic location all eyes were first focused on the mayor of Milan who welcomed the many participants as well as the INVEST partners from Spain, Denmark, the UK and our country. An admirable way of underlining the importance of volunteering and supporting European cooperation !
Capitalising on volunteer experiences: that was to be our theme, we had decided, much in line with the INVEST project objectives (described here). The open seminar provided an ideal opportunity to disseminate the European experiences with competence development and portfolios for volunteers to local stakeholders.
A Grundtvig learning partnership makes EU cooperation accessible, focused and concrete, once you've drawn up a solid plan and got it approved. This type of European project facilitates face-2-face meetings, resulting in worthwhile talks and discussions enabling interaction that leads to new ideas and perspectives. During small scale workshops many issues can be discussed at a concrete and insightful level via focused and well prepared assignments, which is why everybody learns so much (see here what was learned at an event just like this).
Moreover, it also supports a European spirit of solidarity in these difficult times in the Eurozone.This time the two workshops were implemented by our Cibervoluntarios partner from Madrid and our own university. Finally, the visits to three volunteering organisations in the Milan area made the meeting an overall success among the 28 delegates.Here's a picture of nearly the whole group at the end of day 1.

On our way back to the airport we got confronted with one of the many protest marches taking place all over Europe that day; as it turned out, it was the biggest day of union-organised protests since the crisis in the euro first broke out three years ago, with trade unions from 23 European countries joining in this day of action.

 More photos of this 3rd European level meeting of the INVEST project on flickr via this link.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This blog post reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained herein.

21 November, 2012


An interesting new development: graphics presenting complex information quickly and clearly, for example in journalism and on the web. These so-called infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge and appear to become more and more popular to communicate complex concepts and illustrate information that would be unwieldy in text form.
Here's one I saw this week about studying in Holland:

And here's another one I saw  appearing a while ago on opensite.org: about Wikipedia, may there be lots more to come !

08 November, 2012

Signing an MoU

It was Thursday October 18th when rector Glenn Thode of the University of Aruba and managing director Jeroen Oversier of our School of Social Work at Rotterdam University signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the presence of Juliet Chieuw, quality assurance officer, Peter Canrinus, educational manager, and Anja Stofberg, international coordinator.

The MoU establishes a common framework of cooperation, consultation and exchange of information to promote and facilitate exchanges. At the same time, it also underlines the importance of increasing international activity within our school of social work as well as within the department of Social Work and Development of the FAS (the Faculty of Arts and Science at UA).
The signature is a follow up of the talks and visits that took place over the last 12 months. Both in the Netherlands as well as in Aruba, talks always took place in a very positive atmosphere (see earlier blog posts here and here) and the closing statements usually expressed that future collaboration steps looked promising as both parties can benefit a lot from each other's expertise, approach and network.Interestingly, it was pointed out that small though the island of Aruba is, it can play a huge role as international hub in its surrounding area, a fascinating current development that is taking place in our increasingly globalising world that we are preparing our students for. So, now it's time to start planning in more detail !