An event marks the 40th anniversary of DIPLOCAT's scholarship programme

The celebration coincides with the launch of the Alumni Network

The Patronat Català Pro Europa announced the first scholarships for European studies abroad in 1983, one year after its creation and three years before the Spanish State's accession to the European Community took effect. The original Board of Trustees evolved and changed its name, first to Patronat Catalunya Món in 2007, and then to the current DIPLOCAT in 2012. Throughout these years, the scholarship programme has been maintained and expanded, both in terms of the number of scholarships awarded and in the areas of study and financial endowment. To date, a total of 318 Catalan students have benefited from these scholarships.

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the DIPLOCAT scholarship programme, a special event was held in Barcelona on Thursday at the UAB's Casa de Convalescència. It combined an academic and festive atmosphere and was divided into two parts. Elisabet Moragas, head of senior projects at DIPLOCAT and head of the scholarship programme for many years, was in charge of the presentation. Moragas explained that the DIPLOCAT Alumni Network has also been launched to mark the anniversary. The network aims to serve as a meeting point for professionals working in international relations who have benefited from a DIPLOCAT scholarship or training programme. Membership requires having been a scholarship holder, having participated in one of the five editions of the Executive Master's in Diplomacy and External Action (MDAE) or having completed an internship in the consortium. As of today, the network has a total of 153 registered participants. They are professionals with diverse backgrounds, but with a common profile and objective, which is to promote Catalonia internationally.

Professor Nick Cull, Professor of Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California (USC) and member of the DIPLOCAT Advisory Board, then spoke about the importance of public diplomacy and the role that alumni can play. Cull spoke of the credibility and trust that alumni networks instil, the spirit of collaboration that prevails and how they can be a valuable source of contacts for an entity or a country.

Then came personal experiences, and Elisabet Moragas asked three former scholarship holders to explain to the audience what influence the scholarships had had on their professional and personal careers. Joaquim Llimona explained that he applied for the scholarship in 1983 because he saw an advertisement in the newspaper and that this unequivocally marked his subsequent long career of dedication to international relations, up to the present day. Blanca Salas and Màriam Lufti also said that the scholarships they received shaped their professional careers, and beyond the knowledge they acquired, they emphasised the importance of the contacts they made, the skills they learned and the personal growth it will bring them.

The Secretary General of the Department of External Action and the European Union, Bernat Costas, closed the first part of the event with words of thanks to DIPLOCAT for the work carried out and with the Government's commitment to continue supporting these grants. These grants complement other actions such as the Francesc Vendrell Canigó Scholarships or the recently approved Foreign Action and European Union Corps of the Generalitat. Finally, the attendees were able to enjoy a musical performance by the group Malalletra and a light snack to encourage reunions and contacts.

Since 1983, DIPLOCAT has had a scholarship programme for Master's studies abroad in international relations and, since 2017, it has also offered grants for Euro-Mediterranean studies at the Natolin Campus of the College of Europe in Poland. The study areas cover a wide range of subjects, including security, cultural policy and management, European economic studies, European law, public international law, international development, European interdisciplinary studies, international arbitration and transatlantic affairs, to name but a few.