The CIVICA Ambassadors represent their own institutions in the student and PhD communities across the network. They are the first point of contact for their peers on CIVICA activities and are involved in student projects and civic engagement initiatives. They also start and support bottom-up projects and facilitate exchanges between students and researchers in the alliance.
Joël Christoph, PhD researcher in the EUI Department of Economics, and Mahmoud Javadi, Master student at the EUI School of Transnational Governance, share their motivations and what they look forward to achieving as the EUI’s new representatives.
What does CIVICA mean to you, as you step into this new role?
Joël: "CIVICA is a university alliance defined by its prominence in European higher education and in the social sciences. As an ambassador, I will focus on listening to what fellow researchers want to get out of CIVICA, facilitating the two-way dialogue between my institute and the CIVICA community more broadly, raising awareness of ongoing opportunities in CIVICA, and facilitating engagement in general among the CIVICA community."
Mahmoud: "CIVICA is an inclusive network of top-notch universities across Europe that is capable of empowering the future generation of European entrepreneurs, thinkers, and leaders. It provides motivated students and researchers with a network of like-minded peers to exchange knowledge, views, and expertise. CIVICA is a member-driven entity where students and researchers can amplify their innovative thoughts and ideas across Europe and worldwide."
How is European cooperation relevant to your studies and interests?
Joël: "Simply put, without European cooperation, my home university, the European University Institute, would not exist."
Mahmoud: "In my research, I broadly examine the European Union's potential to be a geopolitical power and security provider. Recent developments in Europe and worldwide have demonstrated the EU's capability to be a geopolitical power. However, European determination and cooperation are needed to realise this authentic aspiration."
What kind of student-led initiatives would you like to develop in the CIVICA context?
Joël: "I would like to develop student-led initiatives connecting students and PhD communities to CIVICA, such as essays and other competitions, joint sports and musical events, facilitating opinion pieces and new content formats, and supporting research and funding collaborations."
Mahmoud: "Given my research focus on geopolitics, I would try to bring this ever-significant concept to the fore. Activities such as a policy hackathon, an essay competition, and a 'geopolitics through art' contest are part of my priorities as a CIVICA Ambassador."
Ambassadors from all ten CIVICA institutions for the 2022/2023 academic year met online for the first time on 7 November. They were nominated through a dedicated call at the beginning of the academic year and will work together until September 2023.
CIVICA brings together ten leading European higher education institutions in the social sciences, humanities, business management and public policy, with a total of 72,000 students and 13,000 faculty members. Together, they build on an ever-stronger combination of teaching, research and innovation to mobilise and share knowledge as a public good and to facilitate civic responsibility in Europe and beyond.