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During the EP-Nuffic Annual Conference on 12 March, the Orange Carpet Award for higher education was awarded to the University of Amsterdam (UvA) for its Global Exchange Ambassador Programme. EP-Nuffic has created these awards (with a prize for each of the four sectors of education) to draw attention to special initiatives for the internationalisation of education.

Guide de Wilde with the Orange Carpet Award
Guido de Wilde (left) receiving the award (photo: René van den Burg)

The Global Exchange Ambassador Programme won with 60.1% of the public votes. Each semester, the UvA selects 30 'ambassadors' from a large pool of students. These ambassadors include 15 students who have just returned from their exchange programmes and 15 international students who have just started as exchange students at the UvA. In exchange for their efforts as ambassadors, the students jointly attend five professional skills training sessions offered by Student Services. As ambassadors, the students promote their home or host university, encourage integration and collaboration and develop their own talents.

Cooperation between students from all over the world

As part of three teams ('Creative', 'Events' and 'Promotion'), the students work on various activities such as publishing a digital newsletter, organising a photography competition and holding a pre-departure meeting. According to student exchange coordinator Guido de Wilde, 'these are activities generate a definite increase in incoming and outbound student mobility and foster collaboration between international and Dutch students'.

Media Studies student and ambassador Emilie Westerouen van Meeteren, who did an exchange at the University of Queensland in Australia in 2014, said, 'I am really proud that we have been given the opportunity and responsibility via this programme to work with students from all corners of the world'.