Dickson Ajisafe joined other team leaders from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Chad, Ethiopia, Italy, France and Lithuania to coordinate and lead the recently concluded Africa-Europe Dialogue held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia between 14 to16 of May 2019. The Dialogue was building a strategic long-term process in the run up to the AU-EU Summit in 2020. The Dialogue, with a special focus on Education, Mobility and Youth nexus, was organised under the auspices of the Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Alliance (ESAA)-comprising the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association, garagErasmus Foundation, OCEANS network and Erasmus Student Network. The Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Alliance (www.esaa-eu.org) is established and driven by close cooperation between the European Union and the alumni of the Erasmus+ programmes. Discussions during this unique event were centred on investing in people of Africa and Europe and building contacts between them through educational mobility, youth empowerment and development.
The first day of the dialogue, hosted by the EU Delegation to the African Union in Addis Ababa, started with a kick-off seminar and a warm welcome address from Anna Burylo, Deputy Head of EU Delegation to the African Union. The seminar gathered expert inputs from researchers, educators, social entrepreneurs, opinion leaders, Erasmus+ alumni, youth workers and activists- who presented stimulated intellectual discussions on some pressing socio-economic issues of contemporary African and European societies.
The second day of the event was hosted by the Ethiopian Institute for Higher Education, University of Addis Ababa, with a special opening remarks by Professor Abebaw Yirga Adamu, Director, Ethiopian Institute for Higher Education – Addis Ababa University and followed with presentations on EU scholarship opportunities for bachelors, masters, and PhD students as well as academic and administrative staff of universities in Ethiopia. The forum equally included special consultation with the Ethiopian university students and youth, incorporating their opinions into the longer-term process that will shake and shape the Africa-Europe Strategic Partnership (a high-level policy process between the African Union and the European Union).The core focus of the Dialogue includes investing in people by investing in learning mobility as recognition of the power of people-to-people diplomacy.
The last day of the event was co-hosted by the Human Resources and Youth Development, Education Division of the African Union, as well as Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI), Ethiopia, where participants discussed learning mobility opportunities and possibilities for youth training, internship and exchange programs for African and European students.
The 3-day event was sponsored by the European Union with the endorsement of the African Union Youth Envoy, in close cooperation with the Ethiopian Institute for Higher Education, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia and ended with a special dinner at Dimma Cultural Restaurant, Addis Ababa.