On Monday October 25, I had the pleasure of attending the annual General Assembly (GA) of the Magalhaes Network. The network was set up to encourage and promote student mobility across the Atlantic, between Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and Europe, and Bath has been a member since 2012. Each year the GA sees representatives of all partners convene at one of the member universities, alternating between Europe and LAC each year, and this year Bath was due to be the host. However, due to the pandemic the network has been unable to meet in person since 2019, when the meeting was held at Ecole Centrale de Nantes.
As always, member universities had prepared presentations for sharing with the group and there was a definite pattern emerging as we had presentations on ‘Internationalisation Post-Pandemic’ and another session on ‘Virtual Global Connections’. There was also an update from the team at the University of Chile on the pilot COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) project initiated in 2020, entitled: “Rural hydro-energy challenges in Latin America”. There are three subgroups as part of this project, each working with an indigenous rural population in either Colombia, Mexico, or Chile, and with a specific thematic focus – architecture, renewables or water. At present, this project is predominantly students from LAC universities, but there is a lot of alignment with the work we do here at Bath, and it would be great to have our students involved in future cohorts.
In addition to the presentations there is always some voting to be done, and decisions needed making on a nomination for a new LAC university to join the network, plus nominations for representatives for the Follow-up Committee. Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia, was voted in as a new member and provided an overview of their international activities and collaboration opportunities, and I am pleased to announce that our own Paul Shepherd was voted to be the new European representative on the Follow-up Committee in a close-run race, pipping his opponent to the post by only 3% of votes! This post has a two-year tenure and will be very useful in preparing for when Bath hosts the next European General Assembly in 2023. In the meantime, we are looking forward to the opportunity to begin meeting again in person and next year Tec de Monterrey will be our hosts. Viva la Mexico!