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Vicerrectorado de Internacionalización

Europe Day

Europe Day

Europe Day

Patio of the Nations, Hospital Real
11.00-12.00 AM CET, 9th  May 2021

Opening: Hoisting of the flag of Europe. (Hymn of Europe performed by the string quartet)

Inauguration: of “The Patio of the Nations”.


To see the text of the speeches, click on the name of the speaker.

Today is May 9th: Europe Day. 27 countries united in a common project in defense of a model based on democracy, rights, and freedoms. A solid essential project in the face of new aggressions and involutions threats that make this European building the best shield against regression, intolerance, and totalitarianism.
And if there is one experience that has revitalized and exemplified the European ideal like no other, it is the Erasmus program. Thousands of students from all the countries of the Union embarked on the same mobility program. In addition to the higher education received at the chosen university of destination, perhaps the most important thing, along with knowledge, is the experience and immersion in another country, another culture, and another language.
Unreason is cured by traveling, understanding that there are other ways and shapes of life as legitimate as ours, and knowing that the acceptance of difference is the best way to advance in tolerance and harmony.
Two values that portray the virtues of the Erasmus program and the European project. Today is May 9: Europe Day, but I would like to highlight two other relevant dates. On June 12, 1985, when Spain, leaving behind ominous decades of isolation, signed the Treaty of Accession to the European Union.
That day culminated a long process of illusions and negotiations, initiated in 1979, just the year of the formal creation of the University of Cadiz.
We are a young university, but with history. More than four centuries of the university and higher education in the province of Cadiz culminated on October 30, 1979, with the creation of the University of Cadiz which, deployed throughout the province through its campuses in Cadiz, Puerto Real, Jerez, and Bay of Algeciras, is today a key institution for the progress and future of our land and our sea.
A university with more than 1,800 teachers and more than 22,000 students, many of them coming from dozens of countries of the five continents. An open, tolerant university that upholds the values of freedom and equality and is deeply internationalized.
Thousands of students choose us every year. Hundreds of UCA students carry out academic stays each year in universities in dozens of countries. We are the second Spanish university in mobilities associated with the Erasmus K107 program.
We are a great university. A university open to the world, which has continued with its activity despite the restrictions of the pandemic and that longs for the return to normality to resume the intense and accredited mobility that made us, and continues to place us, as one of the preferred university institutions within the Erasmus program.
The University of Southern Europe. A bridge of culture, knowledge, and tolerance between Spain, Europe, Africa, and Latin America. The University of the Sea. We coordinate the Campus of International Excellence of the Sea (CEIMAR) and the European consortium of the University of the Seas (SEA-EU).
From the south, we actively contribute to the construction of the new European university model, based on interdisciplinarity, transversality, and mobility of faculty, administrative staff, and, of course, students. A hug to our sister universities that share this exciting project: Brittany in France, Kiel in Germany, Gdansk in Poland, Split in Croatia and Malta.
Throughout this time we have demonstrated and defended that the University of Cadiz is a solid space of freedom and security, open to the world. An institution of excellence to train as a university student, to learn Spanish, to know the Spanish culture, to share experiences with students from the five continents, to grow, and to take advantage of all the potential and talent of our students, no matter where they come from.
Europe is today more necessary than ever. Jacques Delors, one of the fathers of the European project, said that “education contains a treasure”. The treasure of freedom, equal opportunities, democracy, tolerance, and the critical spirit of a well-educated citizenry.
That enlightened ideal of citizenship that was born in the Cortes of Cadiz of 1812, which inspired the drafting of the first Spanish Constitution and that today, like the European project, we cannot forget because any social, economic, cultural, and human conquest is reversible if we cross our arms and believe that it is forever.
Happy Europe Day to all.
Rector of the University of Cadiz, esteemed rectors of all our partner universities, esteemed colleagues of the management team of the University of Cadiz, esteemed team of the vice-rectorate of internationalisation of our university, students of our university and of all the partner universities, ladies and gentlemen, it is an honour for me to address a few brief words of recognition and tribute to the work carried out by all of you, to make the internationalisation of our university and university cooperation in the framework of higher education a reality, within the ERASMUS programme.
The origins of this programme date back to 1987, in response to the multiculturalism and globalisation of education, as a means of strengthening peace and understanding among all the peoples of our world.
During all this time, more and more countries have joined this European initiative, but with a worldwide projection in the five continents, to cooperate in international volunteering, internships in companies in other countries, international academic mobility, university cooperation projects, and meetings between the teaching and administrative staff of participating universities and those associated with the programme.
The ERASMUS programme, since its origins, has allowed the international cultural exchange to millions of people, only the last three years, 2017-2020, of the previous ERASMUS+ programme, more than two million people have participated in it, from all over Europe and countries in the rest of the world.
The acronym Erasmus stands for European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students, and there is no doubt that this acronym was also intended as a tribute to the Dutch humanist and theologian Erasmus of Rotterdam.
Erasmus of Rotterdam was ahead of his time, as he understood that international mobility enriches cultures and broadens the horizon of knowledge, to complete his studies in several European countries, studying in Paris (France) and England, sharing friendship, among others, with Thomas More, being, without doubt, an exchange for teaching purposes, teaching theology and Greek at Cambridge, what we would know today as an STA mobility in the Erasmus programme.
After his doctorate in Turin, he visited other Italian cities to share knowledge with other intellectuals, in Siena, Padua and Rome, also travelling to various cities in Germany.
The tribute that the ERASMUS programme pays to Erasmus of Rotterdam is more than justified, as the inspiration that launched this ambitious European programme for the internationalisation of higher education could not have had a better reference.
The University of Cadiz has always been, is and will always be committed to the internationalisation of higher education and the ERASMUS programme, so much so that we have been one of the top three Spanish universities in number of international mobilities in this programme for several KA107 calls.
Our university maintains excellent relations with partners throughout Europe, inside and outside the European Union, and special mention should be made of our university’s strategic commitment to strengthening ties with Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The strong relations with our Russian partners were the origin for establishing numerous alliances with all of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, creating a specialised unit, the CUNEAC, to strengthen ties with all our partners in these countries.
The strategic position of the UCA means that our priorities include partners in the Mediterranean area, the entire African continent and the Americas, maintaining close relations with universities in the USA and Canada.
Of course, due to our common culture and language, for the University of Cadiz, the whole of Latin America is key, as are our sister universities, with which we have always maintained excellent relations, and with which we are increasingly taking on more projects and collaborations, with Spanish being a vehicle of internationalisation of the first magnitude.
Looking to the future, at our university, we have considered incorporating new partners from the Asia-Pacific area, in order to share experiences and our culture with those who visit us and share their culture with us.
For all our partners, this Patio of the Nations is created in homage and recognition of the multiculturalism and internationalisation of our University, thanks to all of them.
I hope that this space, with plants representative of the different continents, the flags of the countries of our partners, and the human relations that will undoubtedly be shared here, in different languages and different cultures, will serve to strengthen the bonds of our friendship.
Thank you very much.

The ERASMUS programme, since its origins, has allowed international cultural exchange to millions of people, only the last three years, 2017-2020, of the previous ERASMUS+ programme, more than two million people have participated in it, from all over Europe and countries in the rest of the world.

On May 9th we celebrate Europe Day because it is the anniversary of the 1950 Schuman declaration. A declaration in which, shortly after the Second World War, there was a dream of union and co-creation; with the joint effort to achieve a future of peace and innovation.
And 70 years later, Europe is a celebration in itself, a reality, but also a path in constant improvement. Always with these principles. Future, inclusion, innovation, co-creation …
You Erasmus students are proof of this. You have the opportunity to travel and learn, to know different places and ways of teaching, and to share your culture and experience with us. The Erasmus experience is never forgotten and leaves behind a seed of inclusion and diversity that makes us all grow personally and professionally.
The initiative of the European Universities takes another step forward in that desire to create a better future together. A Europe with Universities without barriers, in which we can travel and learn, work and share with colleagues from other countries, strengthening our potential to the maximum.
The UCA coordinates one of these European Universities, the European University of the Seas, SEA-EU, and all of us, by being part of the UCA, are part of SEA-EU. A European university in partnership with Brest, Kiel, Gdansk, Split, and Malta. That means that you are students of a transnational campus in 6 countries.
SEA-EU is taking its first steps, but it has already created many opportunities for you, and with the collaboration of the students we can create many more. We are carrying out courses, mobilities, cultural events, and activities that facilitate mutual knowledge. You can learn from teachers in Brest or Kiel, and collaborate with colleagues who are in Split, Gdansk, or Malta. Students are a fundamental piece in SEA-EU, that is why we have student representatives from the 6 universities in our government structure and our working groups. And more students are always welcome. The SEA-EU student council is always open to receive more students, they meet and discuss their suggestions for all the activities we develop. Because we know that you are the recipients of all this, and it is your future that we are sketching.
We are currently designing joint programs, a revolution for all future students, a revolution that you can be part of now, participating in the design of what will be the future of higher education in Europe. Now is the time to dream and participate in creating something that can be huge. We are all part of this. And you too.
You can write to us through our website and social networks and we will inform you of all forms of participation. Right now some several courses and activities developed in SEA-EU could be a great opportunity for you to start new collaborations with students from other places.
You are here today, in Cadiz, thanks to the initiative of Europe, thanks to Erasmus+, and thanks to all the work that we are carrying out from the initiative of the European universities, and SEA-EU, you will be able to get anywhere you want.
Enjoy your time here, have fun, learn, meet people, and you will never forget this experience.
Today, Europe is facing bleak times. Reviving, in a way, the terrible past which was at the onset of the European project. Now we are overcoming a pandemic, then, a terrible war.
71 years ago, on 9 May 1950 Robert Schuman, the then French foreign minister, set out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable.
With Europe ravished by WWII Schuman planted the seed from which the European Community of peace grew and blossomed. Former enemies reached out their hands in reconciliation and became friends. We opened the borders and torn down the walls between us.
With the continent reunified, the European family finally became home again.
We built a unique society in Europe where we can live together in peace and solidarity.
Today 71 years after the Schuman Declaration we, Europeans, are confronted with the deepest crises since the second world war. Too many have lost their loved ones.
Too many lives have been affected and, as yet, we are struggling against this virus.
But, again, there is hope. Because a new seed has been planted by scientists all over the world and vaccines, the solution to this crisis, are flowering.
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, with an unprecedented range of social isolation and safety measures, no aspect of daily life has been left unaffected. One area which has certainly seen considerable changes as a result of COVID-19 is the education sector. When schools and universities around the world were forced to close their doors to prevent its spread, alternative methods and technologies had to be adopted almost overnight. Online teaching became an urgent necessity, rather than an option.
Teaching staff internationally were forced –with little warning and no expertise– to become familiar with a range of online platforms in order to teach remotely.
COVID-19 with no doubt represents a critical turning point.
Critics have suggested that this disruption to the norm was much-needed, although it has obviously arrived under undesirable circumstances. Education is often described as a sector that has been relatively slow to adopt digital technologies.
However, this doesn’t mean that the traditional style of in-person education is gone for good.
There’s no doubt that these sudden shifts in the education sector have inspired the rethinking of traditional education structures in general. Changes that would have been widely inconceivable pre-pandemic have been forced through due to necessity.
We have learned that Education IS the Answer
In the meantime, COVID-19 continues to demonstrate the importance of education. The work of scientists and academics in the field of medicine now has a very obvious relevance for people. The result of this increased attention may be greater awareness of developments in this field in the future, and a renewed appreciation for the work of researchers in general.
After a hideous 2020, 2021 has shed some light on the situation. We left behind an unbearable lockdown, fear, unrest, and despair.
We cannot say the war against the pandemic is over, but the enemy is retreating.
Slowly but progressively, we are starting to get back to normal. National and Erasmus international students are back in our classrooms. Our schools are thriving with life, and a feeling of emotional rebirth has just begun.
Today, we have a chance to reflect on what that solidarity that Schuman advocated has built and what we hope to achieve in the future.
It is also a chance to make us, Europeans, feel even more strongly that we are part of something bigger.
It’s time to rebuild Europe. Help each other become stronger together, to be brave and stand up and build a better future.
It’s time to make history again.
Happy Europe Day
Before going on Erasmus, I had previously heard how much it changes you and the way you live, but I guess I didn’t realize how true that was until, after 2 planes and 12 hours of travelling and carrying the heaviest suitcases, I arrived in the flat I would call my home for the next 5 months.
Erasmus truly changes you. It brings up a new version of yourself, one that you wouldn’t have probably known otherwise, one much more mature, of course, but also much happier. Furthermore, Erasmus has taken me to places I didn’t know they actually existed, expanding my horizons and showing me landscapes, cultures, and relationships I had never imagined. The contrast between my hometown and Gdansk seemed huge to me at the beginning. But soon enough I realized that, at the bottom, the principles were the same. Polish forests, cold, or food might have nothing in common with the beaches, the heat, and Spanish tapas, but the feeling of coziness, laughs and politeness was totally alike.
However, what enriched me the most were, precisely, those differences. They helped me grow and showed the uniqueness that makes all of us special. I enjoyed going to classes and sharing with professors and classmates the points of view of our cultures, pointing out the differences, and surprising ourselves by finding all the similarities.
In the first days, everything looks bright and exciting, even going to Polish supermarkets and trying to find out what the tags say becomes an adventure. You actually become an addict to those new experiences, you take photos of absolutely everything and send them to your mom: “Hey mom! Look at this weird chocolate I’ve just bought”, “You see, mom? This is the Park Oliwa, isn’t it beautiful?”. But, as time passes by, you begin to include those moments in your life and you make them a part of your routine, although there will always be something that surprises you, even on the last day.
My point is that, during those five months, I found Gdansk and I found myself, even when I didn’t know I was lost. I was 3500 km away from my house, but I have never felt more at home.
I chose to go on an Erasmus exchange because I wanted to experience an unforgettable adventure and to get to know a new culture.
It was possible for me to choose the stay in Cádiz thanks to the SEA-EU program, for which existence I am really grateful because it has made many interesting destinations appear on the list of exchanges.
Due to the Covid pandemic, it was not certain if my university, the University of Gdańsk, would allow us to leave, but we finally succeeded and in February this year I came to Cádiz.
What I have experienced in Cádiz surpassed my wildest expectations. I have been given to meet here so many positive, open-minded, and interesting people from whom I can draw inspiration. I also got to know another teaching system, in which you are expected to carry out plenty of interesting projects during the year, and you are allowed to address the professors by name, which I think is a very good solution. I am enjoying the new culture, which is so much louder and more lively than the Polish one.
I am learning Spanish as well, which brings here very good results as apart from everyday contact with this language at the university or in the street, I systematize my knowledge by attending the B2 Spanish course provided by the UCA Foreign Language Centre. It is very intense; we meet every day for 2 hours, but just thanks to it the progress is quickly visible.
And in addition to all of these positive experiences, I can enjoy the beautiful weather and breathtaking views. For me personally, it is amazing to live so close to the ocean, with so many sunny days in a year. In addition, apart from the richness of nature, Andalusia is also known for many beautiful historic places. I hope I will be able to see those outside the Cádiz province soon.
But still, what is most important to me it’s just the amazing people I have met on this exchange. Integrating with them was even easier thanks to the events organized by the local ESN, such as volleyball tournaments. Now it can be said that I have friends from all over the world. I would like to thank the University of Cádiz for the openness to the Erasmus students because it really is a wonderful experience that I wish to every student. Personally, I am already thinking about my next arrival here, as soon as possible.

Performance Nova Mvsica choir with string quartet


Gaudeamus Igitur, Anonymous*.

Matona Mia Cara, Orlando di Lasso

Il est Bel et Bon, Pierre Passereau

Sarao de la Chacona, Juan Arañés

Quartet solo: Musica notturna delle strade di Madrid, Luigi Boccherini

Quartet and choir perform

Canticorum Jubilo, G.F. Handel

Brindis, W.A. Mozart * Brindis, W.A. Mozart *

Closing (duration approx. 7 minutes)

Quartet and Choir perform Ode to Joy, L. van Beethoven. (Arr. E. Hodges / J. Knapicius / E. Gallardo)

*: With string quartet

For more information about the musical works and the choir, click the following URL: Notes for the program of Europe Day 2021