Dear students and fellow Europeans,
Education is the most potent answer to bring about a tolerant and respectful society. Europe's future relies on citizens who will respect human rights and banish prejudice, hatred, and racism. It is imperative to enable the continent's youth to experience Europe in all its beauty and diversity.
Meeting people with different cultural backgrounds and staying in their home countries encourages tolerance, respect, and understanding. The Human Rights Declaration (§26, par. 1) states that education shall promote "understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups" it is thus necessary to develop student mobility into an integral element of our educational systems so that young people will learn not only about economics, literature or sciences but also - and just as importantly - about each other's thoughts, values and traditions.
We believe that student mobility is thus a fundamental element in assuring the sustainability of the European project and of European societies as a whole. There needs to be time and space to gain a practical understanding of Europe's core values, which in turn will empower young people to find a common European identity.
In 1999, 27 European Ministers of Education signed the Bologna declaration and created the European Higher Education Area to increase border-crossing mobility and employability. Meanwhile, there are 47 countries participating in the Bologna process. Twelve years after its implementation a great deal has been achieved in changing degree structures and furthering Europe's capacity to compete for overseas fee-paying students, but the student mobility has not received the boost many would have expected, neither quantitatively nor qualitatively. Student mobility is still reserved to only a handful of students, remains socially selective, and those who had the chance to study abroad for a semester or a year still face recognition and replacement problems after the exchange period.
Today, neither political nor geographical boundaries exist any longer in the EU. It is about time for all activists and those responsible to tear down all socio-economic barriers that hinder the achieving and surpassing the objective of having 20% of all European students become mobile no later than 2020.
We therefore call upon politicians, rectors, economic agents, and the society at large to work together for furthering support for student mobility!
Campus Europae Student Council
Erasmus Student Network
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