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Ambassador Samuela Isopi hails Nigerian youths as 200 depart for Europe on Erasmus Scholarships

On August 24, the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS organised a pre-departure orientation for the lucky young Nigerians who have been awarded the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree Scholarships this year. The hybrid event, which was anchored from Abuja, held in parallel with s Study in Europe Fair jointly organised by the EU Delegation and the Embassies of   some of its Member States, namely Finland, France, The Netherland, Poland and Spain.

The 2022 pre-departure event was particularly significant because this year, a record number of over 200 Nigerian youths were selected for the Erasmus scholarships, up from 133 last year. From ninth position in 2020 and sixth in 2021, the country now has the second highest number of beneficiaries globally, leaving behind countries like Bangladesh, Brazil, India and Mexico in the top bracket of countries with most awardees globally. Over 730 Nigerians have benefited from the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree since 2004.

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On August 24, the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS organised a pre-departure orientation for the lucky young Nigerians who have been awarded the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree Scholarships this year. The hybrid event, which was anchored from Abuja, held in parallel with s Study in Europe Fair jointly organised by the EU Delegation and the Embassies of   some of its Member States, namely Finland, France, The Netherland, Poland and Spain.

The 2022 pre-departure event was particularly significant because this year, a record number of over 200 Nigerian youths were selected for the Erasmus scholarships, up from 133 last year. Indeed, the number of Nigerians who have received postgraduate scholarships to study in top grade European universities and partner institutions across the world under the Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Programme has quadrupled in the last four years. From 44 beneficiaries in 2019, the number increased to 93 in 2020; 133 in 2021 and the record to over 200 awardees in 2022.

From ninth position in 2020 and sixth in 2021, the country now has the second highest number of beneficiaries globally, leaving behind countries like Bangladesh, Brazil, India and Mexico in the top bracket of countries with most awardees globally. Over 730 Nigerians have benefitted from the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree since 2004.

“This makes us very proud, and you have to be very proud; but we know it is not enough because the potential of Nigeria is really very high. That’s why we want to work together with you and with the Nigerian government to make sure the number keeps growing in the coming years,” an elated EU Ambassador, Ms. Samuela Isopi said on the occasion. She said combining the pre-departure event with a Study in Europe Fair aimed at making the number of beneficiaries even bigger next year and in subsequent years.

In the words of the Ambassador, the feat underscores the great potential of EU-Nigeria win-win cooperation in a number of ways: It demonstrates the will of the EU and its Member States to open up and offer legal migration pathways to young Nigerians travel to Europe purely on merit, based on their capacity and abilities in their respective fields. The programme builds youths for the future, in which education plays a critical role beyond employability.

“It   gives add values on the basis of which we work and live together as world citizens. That is what Erasmus+ is all about. It connects and unites young people across Europe and across the globe, to build a network of new generation of young global citizens,” she said. She urged the awardees to be good ambassadors of Nigeria while in Europe, and good ambassadors of Europe when they return to Nigeria at the end of the programme.

Speaking at event, Mr Olufemi Adeagbo, Special Adviser on Nigeria’s Minister of Sports and Youth Development, said he was delighted by the initiative of the EU to engage young Nigerians to pursue their education in Europe. “I am even more delighted to know that a record number has been awarded the prestigious Erasmus scholarship to study in various EU universities this year,” he said.

The Director, Federal Scholarship Board, Ms Ndajiwo Asta, who stood in for the Minster of Education, lauded the Erasmus+ programme and advised the beneficiaries to take advantage of the opportunity to properly develop themselves.

In the course of the programme, which last from 12-24 months, the Nigerian beneficiaries will traverse 75 different universities across 20 European countries, 18 of which are EU Member States. Each beneficiary study in at least three different universities in as many countries, with some studying in up to six universities.