European Regional Master’s Programme in Democracy and Human Rights in South East Europe (ERMA) graduates form a network of over 450 experts, researchers, professionals working in the field of Human rights and Democratisation in SEE, and the rest of the world. ERMA alumni play a central role in the process of development of human rights and democracy across the region and worldwide. ERMA alumni network represents a crucial vehicle to boost the growth and advancement of the master program, which strongly relies on the human capital represented by the professional expertise of its graduates.
ERMA Alumni Network is a proud member of the Global Campus Alumni www.globalcampusalumni.org an international organisation (AISBL) registered in Brussels, Belgium. It is a network of seven alumni association of human rights master programmes gathering almost 3,000 experts, activists, and professionals spread throughout the world. The master programmes the alumni that graduated from them are all part of the Global Campus of Regional Human Rights Master Programmes funded by the European Commission.
ERMA Alumni Network (EAN) is the official action which links the 493 graduates of the programme (as per a. y. 2016/17) to its alma mater, and vice versa. The EAN is established to represent the point of reference for the communication with the former students, and a tool through which the ERMA programme can foster a web of professional, academic and public relations with its graduates, in a systematic and organized manner. The EAN is funded by the ERMA programme and it is part of the Global Campus Alumni, the international organization created by the Global Campus of Human Rights to gather the alumni associations and networks of the regional master programmes all over the world. The members of the EAN are all the graduates of the programme from the academic year 2000/01, whose acquire member statues upon completing their studies and obtaining the double diploma. The possibility to withdraw from the membership is given to all those wishes so.
The EAN is conceived by the International Academic Council of the ERMA programme, therefore follows the founding principles of this pioneer academic project, such as:
(1)the strong belief in the value of the fundamental rights for all human beings; (2) the significance of the human rights and democracy education in raising the citizens` awareness for promotion and protection of their rights and freedoms; (3) the importance of inter-university and professional cooperation, at regional, European and global level.
The EAN work will be focused on the areas of networking, promotion and employability, which will represent the pillars of the actions of the network. Through projects in the field of the (1) networking, the graduates will become more interconnected and eventually form a web of skilled human capital and human rights defenders. The (2) promotional activities will instead aim at strengthening the visibility of the graduates and of the ERMA programme, in order to strengthen intrinsic value of the academic title they own, as well as raising awareness over the existence of generations of capable human rights experts. (3) The EAN will engage the alumni in activities which offer the opportunities to contribute in strengthening their professional expertise, acquiring higher degree of employability or self-employability. Finally, theEAN will also (4) contribute to academic development the ERMA programme, helping through the expertise haring of successful alumni, to incorporate the most updated academic, administrative and managerial practices in its educational process.
The ERMA Alumni Network sets a number of ambitious, but pragmatic targets, to be reached during its course of action, which terminates in a long term perspective with the academic year 2020/21. The objectives are classified according to their feasibility, into the following timeframe:
4.1. SHORT TERM GOALS AND ACTIONS
In this initial phase the management of the network will be done by the coordinator of the Academic & Development Unit, together with the direct support of the Academic
1) Creating a basic visual identity and web tools;
2) Setting a systematic communication strategy;
3) Establishing the basis for the collaboration Global Campus Alumni;
4) Collaborating in increasing the promotion and visibility of the ERMA programme;
5) Coordinating the invitation of alumni for the speech at the ERMA 16th graduation ceremony;
4.2. MID TERM GOALS AND ACTIONS
Following the initial creation of the network, in this phase the implementation of the activities of the EAN will be the responsibility of a human resource specifically hired by the programme to cover (also) this portfolio:
6) Coordinating the graduation awards (ERMA best theses; ERMA best defenses; GC selected thesis; GC internship);
7) Organizing an ERMA Alumni-Students career day at the beginning of the academic year;
8) To participate to events connected to the issues of Human Rights and Democratization in order increase the visibility of the ERMA Programme;
9) To organize and/or take part in promotional events as ambassadors of the Programme;
10) To explore the potentiality of the alumni network for the organization of post-grad internships;
11) To prepare narrative reports and elaborate statistical data for improving the academic offer and overall quality of the Programme;
4.3. LONG TERM GOALS AND ACTIONS
In the long term, EAN shall turn into a registered non-partisan, non-denominational and non-profit organization association, co-funded by ERMA and supported by additional donors. This development would secure the continuation of the activities of the network and its stability, regardless of the implementation of the ERMA programme, and in line with the strategy of the Global Campus Alumni:
12) To establish and advance communication and cooperation with other Alumni Associations from the South East Europe Region and worldwide;
13) Promoting the self-employability of ERMA graduates: ERMA shall become a solid platform functioning for its members as an affiliation for project management and fund rising. ERMA would therefore represent a free co-working space open for the initiative of its members, putting at their disposal the wide frame of partnership and affiliations that the Programme enjoys;
14) Starting independent fundraising initiatives;
The ERMA Alumni Network operates in close cooperation with the rest of the implementation bodies of the ERMA programme and reports to the coordinator of the Academic and Development Unit of the ERMA programme. The EAN is responsible in front of the ERMA Executive Board and might be consulted on its activities by the IAC.
Advisory and/or consultative bodies might be created to gather feedback about the development of this action form alumni, ERMA staff members, ERMA lecturers, representatives of coordinating and partner institutions. The EAN is granted yearly founding by the programme through a direct budget item specific for its action. The life of the EAN under this specific set up is related to the duration of the implementation of the ERMA programme. After the termination of the ERMA programme, the transformation of the EAN into another form of alumni network representing the ERMA graduates, sharing the same principles and mission, will be strongly encouraged.
The EAN office is based at the premises of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of the University of Sarajevo (Zmaja of Bosne 8, 71000 Sarajevo BiH) where the ERMA programme is implemented. For the initial and short temp period, the management of the network will be operated by Mr. Adriano Remiddi, Coordinator of the Academic and Development Unit, together with Mr. Marjan Icoski, Academic Tutor, who also represents the network in front of the GCA.
The contact email address is firstname.lastname@example.org; the EAS can be also reached via phone at +38733668683.
The activities of the network can be followed here and through:
ERMA is like a hurricane: it brings headstrong Balkan people together, swiftly slams their small universes, mercilessly burns their history books, cynically curses their governments, and finally sends them back – ready to fight for a better home. Santa Sofia is the last step in this one-year-long adventure, a beautiful space where the strength for the upcoming challenges grows big and impatient.
Senior Project Officer, UNHCR Bulgaria, ERMA 2015-16
“I assume there are only a very few places in Europe where studying human rights and democratization can be as exciting as it is in Sarajevo. Once you step out of the classroom, you literally can see what human rights protection and democratization – or the lack of them- is all about. ERMA offers a unique combination of rigorous academic training and an environment which confronts you on a daily basis with a reality check of what you studied.”
Doctoral Candidate at CEU and Researcher at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights, Vienna, ERMA 2003-2004
“The regional character of the ERMA Programme not only offered a variety of views but also provided me with an opportunity to meet some of the most interesting and promising young leaders in the region. Attending this truly unique Programme was one of the best professional and personal decisions I ever made.”
Ivana Cvetković Bajrović,
Associate Director for Europe, National Endowment for Democracy, ERMA 2008-2009
For me, ERMA program has been a lifetime opportunity, both academically and personally. Academically, I had a chance to meet top-notch professors from various European universities who taught me about human rights and democracy beyond the mainstream discourses of both concepts. One of the many who made a great impression on me was professor Costas Douzinas, during his lectures he had rigorous exposé of the challenges of the modern human rights agenda. In addition, the support and encouragement I got from ERMA academic tutors were phenomenal. The academic tutors at ERMA helped me to narrow down my research interest and offered advice throughout the studying process. And personally, I had a chance to grow and meet different people and cultures. This experience expanded my knowledge about others, made me more open to diversity, and ardent human rights activist.
Project Manager, Habitat for Humanity, Macedonia, ERMA 2014-15