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What would you think about a worldwide network of over 50.000 people, with diverse social backgrounds, of different age groups, with a higher education and a common European culture of tolerance, solidarity and cooperation? First and foremost that it would have an enormous potential. It is what Alumni Europae, the association of European School alumni for young European school graduates is setting up, connecting all who once went to the school and share the EU and European School values – whoever they are, wherever they live, whatever they do.

Alumni Europae (AE) brings together young graduates and older alumni, parents, teachers and staff from all of the European Schools. It also offers students and young graduates a precious opportunity: to research university and career options, based on other members' broad experiences.

The variety and size of the network means that Alumni Europae can offer a wealth of knowledge across different subject areas almost anywhere in the world.

Alumni Europae ASBL was founded in Brussels at the end of 2011 by a group of young graduates from European Schools who find they share a unique and invaluable experience that crosses social, cultural, linguistic and national barriers. The launch coincided with the dissolution of the previous alumni association Euresco, many members of which joined AE. Since then, AE has been growing steadily, with an average of 50 new members per month, thanks to its website, newsletter, networking efforts and events.

Membership is free for recent graduates and students, others pay a small fee. Those who have registered, have access to the archive of other members' university experiences, professional know how, local knowledge of the places where they lived and live - a permanently growing network of information and support.

With connectivity being the driving force behind the association, AE has created the 'Linked in'-style websitewww.alumnieuropae.org. Here one can look for old classmates, a place to stay, or catch up with a friend over a cup of coffee. Prospective university students can search for programmes that match their interests and then get in touch with alumni who did the same studies, to learn from their experience. Former students who are pursuing their careers can make their profile available on the website for those who are looking for university or career guidance, or who want to connect on a professional level.

As well as helping bring alumni of different backgrounds and ages together, share their experience and knowledge, support and collaborate with each other, the website is a source of European School-related information. Ultimately, AE aims to become an important source for European School-related information, be it for the association's members, for scholars doing research on European Schools, or for policymakers promoting the European ideals.

Alumni Europae also organises and publicises European School events, such as ceremonies and reunions as well as general campaigns related to the promotion of European school values, particularly within the run-up to the 60th anniversary of the European school system. AE feels this is particularly important in a time in which Europe is suffering from an identity crisis in the midst of economic difficulties. The association also provides space on its website for individual alumni to advertise their personal events, and encourage as many people to get in contact with each other.

Alumni Europae edits newsletters featuring news from the association and its partners, interviews with alumni and information on events and campaigns relating to the promotion of European values and the European School system. The publication also gathers alumni's personal experiences at school, copies of class photos, before/after comparisons of how the school sites have progressed, documents and reports containing statistics on where or what alumni end up doing, as well as testimonials from individual alumni, and any other relevant documentation that trace the history of the schools.

The association is promoting itself at the 'baccalauréat' ceremonies, school fairs, jubilees and other commemorations. AE is working actively at setting up networks of contact points in all the European Schools and of local chapters in any country where ex European School students, parents or teachers are interested to be part of the initiative. Ideas and contacts in this sense are always very much appreciated.

Other associations are closely cooperating with the alumni, starting with Interparents, the Association of the European Schools' Parents' Associations and their member associations, several of which already support AE. But there also are regular contacts with CoSup (High Council of European school students), Meet (Movement towards a European Education Trust) and Gudee (Groupe Unitaire pour le Développement des écoles Européennes), that groups the parents' associations, staff committees and trade unions of the European institutions, student committees, administrative staff of the European Schools.

To conclude, a word of AE's president and co-founder, Thomas Fairhurst (Baccalaureat 2006): "From the idea of creating an alumni network to what you see before you has taken a lot of work, dedication and cups of coffee. So far we have been working with a small group on a day-to-day basis, and lots of lovely team members who contribute when time permits. We would love to see Alumni Europae grow across Europe and beyond, having a real presence in all European Schools and anywhere where many alumni live, but we can't do this on our own! None of us get paid in cash, but we have plenty of love to go around. We would love to have your contributions as much or as little as time allows. So please do not hesitate to contact me: thomas.fairhurst@alumnieuropae.org"