The 'Social Dimension of Erasmus+' conference will address how the Erasmus+ programme encourages a more connected and inclusive society through initiatives that promote social engagement and volunteering on exchange. The international conference is taking place on 14 & 15 October 2019 in Brussels at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels Conference Center and welcomes professionals working in the field of Education and Youth including International Relations Officers, policymakers in education and youth, National Agencies and Ministries, school teachers and students and youth representatives  interested in how student mobility programmes can have a lasting impact on local communities.

The conference is organized within the SocialErasmus+, an Erasmus+ KA3 Forward-Looking Cooperation grant project, coordinated by the Erasmus Student Network, that aims at building bridges between international students and local communities by bringing the students to local schools. The project consortium includes the European University Foundation (EUF), Youth for Exchange and Understanding (YEU), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Universität Wien, Universidad de Vigo, Scholengroep Vlaamse Ardennen and ESN Besançon.

The implementation phase of the project took place during the academic year of 2018-2019. During this period more than 1292 SocialErasmus activities were organised by ESN and its partner organisations, where more than 18.574 international exchange students engaged with more than 64.934 members of their local communities through volunteering activities. All of this was coordinated by a team of 2.526 local youth leaders of the Erasmus Student Network. A total of 86.034 people engaged in intercultural dialogue across in 271 different cities across 31 countries in Europe. More about the project implementation results can be found in the “Volunteering on exchange” report.

One of the goals of the SocialErasmus+ project is to develop and professionalise the implementation process of social engagement activities, therefore a set of documents was created to support the Higher Education Institutions and student organisations including the “Practical Guidelines for Volunteer Activities”, “Educational Framework for Volunteering on Exchange”, “Erasmus in Schools Guide” and “SocialErasmus Charter and Policy Recommendations

Next to the SocialErasmus+ project impact report and the launch of the publications, the conference will feature a panel discussion about the importance of social engagement initiatives in international education, moderated by Valentin Dupouey Sterdyniak from Euractiv, and with speakers: Kostis Giannidis, President of Erasmus Student Network, Oana Dumitrescu, Policy Officer at the European Commission, Maria Isabel Doval, Vice-Rector of Universidad de Vigo and Pilar Aramburuzabala, President of the European Association of Service-Learning in HEI.

The rest of the focus areas of the conference are the following topics that will be covered with panel discussions, break out sessions and presentations:

The social impact of Universities and their Internationalisation strategies on their local communities

Internationalisation of education in primary and secondary sections, lessons from the higher education sector

The recognition of social engagement initiatives in higher education, bringing non-formal education methods into education

Intercultural learning and the competence development of students as global citizens

For more information about the project visit and for updates about the conference follow ESN International on Twitter.