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sophie atherton

campaigns & democracy
s.atherton@uea.ac.uk

What happened at the Aurora Conference?

UEA is part of the Aurora network: a network of nine European universities who share a mission to advance social good and solve global challenges. Delegates from all partner institutions meet up twice a year for a conference where various working groups meet and discuss the projects they are working on.  

My successor, Sophie Atherton, and I went to the bi-annual Aurora meeting at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany from the 1st-3rd May. The conference was a really enriching experience and a number of projects that UEA is involved in produced developments. 

The inclusive internationalisation group, a group aiming to help disadvantaged students take part in international experiences such as study abroad,  submitted a funding proposal to ERASMUS+ subsidy to help get this project off the ground.  

The aims of this project are: 

• To enable each university to close the participation gap between students from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers in internationalisation experiences and international mobility in the long term 

• To gain a richer understanding of the dynamics of participation in internationalisation for students from a wide range of disadvantaged backgrounds. 

• To explore what mechanisms underlie participation gaps in international mobility programmes. 

• To contribute to the policy and practice of each university in this area. 

• To define avenues for collaborative research and evaluation of the implementation of activities within the Aurora network to evaluate diversity & inclusion policies  

• To reach a proportional representation of the student body in international mobility programmes. 

• To develop and disseminate practical guiding tools to put relevant policies and practices in place to support internationalisation, diversity and talent strategies. 

I'm excited to see not only how this project develops, but also to see the continued growth of the Aurora network. I’m glad to have taken part in inclusive Internationalisation and the work has been really rewarding. More broadly, our work as an SU within the AURORA Network is really important for two key reasons. We demonstrate that despite Brexit, we’re committed to working with UEA to ensure that as a university and an SU we remain open and inclusive to our International partners, and secondly it’s great to share best practice across nine universities, including looking at how we tackle issues important to students across Europe. 

We will soon be electing Aurora delegates for the next conference. If you'd like to get involved, keep an eye on the election pages of our website for when nominations will open. If you'd like to know more, get in touch at jack.robinson@uea.ac.uk  

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