Interview with Thomas Jorgensen
My team feels that the Alumni Association can only really be brought forward if you think about the added value that it can give to its members, what can you get here that you cannot get anywhere else? We are focussing on two main issues: using the fact that EUI alumni go to high positions as academics and as practitioners in many different fields. We want to use the association to bridge the two worlds and facilitate dialogue outside the professional networks that people are already part of. This could be done in many ways, smaller or bigger events, discussions etc. But all of this has to have the added value in mind; there is no sense in having just another academic conference.
Secondly, it is important that we support EUI graduates in the post graduation/postdoc phase, which is particularly difficult, as you have to leave the institute and begin a career from scratch. One advantage that you have, though, is that you can use the institute and its facilities. We have to facilitate this and find innovative solutions.
What makes you a good candidate for the position?
For myself, I have been a researcher representative for two years while I was in Florence, so I know the workings of the institute quite well. On top of this, I have worked in university affairs for a number of years as a specialist in doctoral education. In terms of formal knowledge for instance about research careers, I can give a lot for instance supporting recent graduates. I think that you can also describe me as a ‘doer’ who does not waste time on talk, but looks at concrete results. If we want to realise the added value of the association, we need concrete initiatives, we need to make things happen. In all modesty, I am pretty good at that. Lastly, regarding the global outreach mentioned before, I have worked on global doctoral education for the last 3-4 years. In fact, I am writing this from South Africa.
How do you differ from the other candidates in your vision?
The most important part of the vision is to define what makes the Alumni Association special and translate that into concrete advantages for the alumni and for EUI. I think that bridging theory and practice at an extraordinarily high level is the one thing that you cannot get anywhere else, and this is what I want to translate into concrete initiatives.
What to you, is the most important function of the Alumni Association?
This is where I think that our team, Svet Andreev and myself differ, we think a step further than the rest. Yes, we want networking, but we also say why, and we have an idea how this should be successful. We have a concrete goal to reach. Our hope is that if people vote for us, they will soon be able to see that they can get things from the association that are new and different, things that speak directly to their interest and that they cannot get anywhere else.
The EUI AA Executive Committee consists of five members (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Member), who are elected by the General Assembly and serve for a period of two years.
Elections will take place this year on 26 September during the Alumni Weekend and the Annual General Assembly in Florence. For those who cannot attend, an online voting facility has been set up. Online elections will take place 12-22nd of September: An email containing a link to the voting facility will be sent to all AA members’ EUI email accounts.