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Between Montréal, Geneva, Hamburg, and Barcelona: a student exchange with a difference

The current context is sparking reflections on creative solutions to traditional student mobility. At the University of Geneva (UNIGE), a novel experiment is being proposed: an alternative mobility project for students in the Bachelor's Program in International Relations, who are called upon to collaborate with their peers from Université de Montréal, the University of Pompeu Fabra, and the University of Hamburg.

Ten teams of three to four students work remotely, between Europe and North America, on concrete projects related to global governance reform, health, or the information crisis. Each team benefits from the advice and expertise of two professors from two different partner institutions. In addition to developing these projects, participants must learn to communicate their goals and findings. The result is a true acquisition of project management skills in an international context.

UdeM is deeply involved

Frédéric Mérand, professor in the Department of Political Science and scientific director of the Centre for International Studies and Research (CÉRIUM), is collaborating with a UNIGE professor to oversee a project on the international student community and climate justice. Marie-Joëlle Zahar, also a professor in the Department and a researcher at CÉRIUM, is guiding a group tasked with exploring the possibility of developing a universal income and a local currency. Laurence Deschamps-Laporte, a visiting researcher at CÉRIUM, and her team are addressing the issue of trust in democratic governments.

"What I find truly magical is that the project creates authentic connections between people, since they are together for several weeks and would not have met otherwise," says Frédéric Mérand. This alternative to traditional mobility offers real collaborations between faculty members and groups of students from different universities. A great example of a positive initiative that is emerging from the pandemic.

Read the article in the Tribune de Genève