Europe calls Colombia and Colombia answers with lots of enthusiasm. The group of volunteers of garagErasmus 4 Medellin, led by Giovanni Toro, few years ago met garagErasmus Foundation and started a huge challenge: bringing values and culture of European Countries to Colombia, also thanks to the passion and inspiration given by the experience of Casa Italia, the project, started by the volunteers of Medellin that wants to teach Colombian citizens Italian language and culture.
Tolerance, solidarity, mutual support, brotherhood, innovation, health, respect for the past and trust in the future These are some of the values that EU Countries share and that Europeans are proud of. Not only. These values become goals, objectives, measurables bets. They become priorities, such as a European Green Deal, a Europe fit for the digital age, an Economy that works for people, a stronger Europe in the world, promoting the European way of life, a new push for European democracy. Thanks to ESAA support, this action that brought the knowledge and the inspiration of EU values to South America, became true in August, 2022.
The main event of the ESAA project called “A New Window for EU Values” took place in the city of Medellin, Colombia, between 5th and 7th of August, 2022, where, in a 3-day project, 36 students and young professionals coming from the whole Country, could participate to activities that they had never had the chance to experience before.
The whole programme was presented on Friday by Giovanni Toro during the opening conference, where also partners and institutions from the city participated actively. It was relevant the interest shown by the community of Antioquia in getting closer to Europe and to exchange opportunities. Colombian students and trainees still have few opportunities to live an exchange in Europe and this is a topic that has to be brought soon to institutional tables, both in Europe and South-America.
On Saturday, a session was dedicated to the values that are keeping the European Union together, explaining, thanks to the participation of MR Carlo Bitetto, Director of garagErasmus Foundation, the history of the Union and what are the values on one side and the challenges that European Countries will face in the next years. A part of the programme was, as well, dedicated to ESAA and to the Erasmus programme.
The second part of the day saw the classes of Italian language and culture, thanks to the participation of professors and experts: what really surprised is the interest in Italy that is common to many people in Colombia, a Country apparently not directly linked with “Belpaese”.
Sunday morning the stage was taken by a challenge among the participants: students from the Atlantic Coast, from Barranquilla and Cartagena, got the award for the most original proposal for a future local project in Colombia based on European values.
Participants really appreciated the format and decided to develop more projects together, understanding that Latin-America can take inspiration from the history and the values of the European Union, even if the old continent in this moment is facing a difficult period.
Thanks to this creative and unique project, on one side, a group of motivated people, such as gE4Medellìn, could launch a very ambitious project like Casa Italia and, on the other side, garagErasmus could strengthen its action of dissemination of ESAA and Erasmus+ beyond European borders.
Giovanni Toro Yepes
edited by the Service Provider
Colombia, Medellin, 10th of October, 2022