It is lamentable that higher education is not on the agenda of the Joint EU-Africa Strategy, in spite of the large opportunities offered by European-African student mobility (“Developing a brain trade,” 30 September-6 October). Student organisations from both continents should join hands to redress this policymaking gap and advocate for higher education to be, pardon the word play, ‘higher’ on the agenda.
In 1987, it was the European students forum AEGEE that persuaded François Mitterrand, the then French president, to throw his backing behind the Erasmus exchange programme initiated by the European Commission. In 2010, AEGEE established a partnership with two student organisations in South Africa with the aim of exploring the contribution that young people could make to the Millennium Development Goals. Strengthening student networks between Europe and Africa should be one element in bottom-up advocacy for the inclusion of higher education in the Joint EU-Africa Strategy.
Mario Giuseppe Varrenti