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Brussels, 19 March 2015

Harnessing the power of alumni - a European perspective


One of the hot topics of 2015 is alumni! In the upcoming ACA European Policy Seminar, the 46th in this long-established seminar series, ACA will bring together the best speakers available to share with you the big picture of alumni work in European higher education, national alumni-networking initiatives abroad, the newest EU policy and plan on international alumni relations, and some of the best practices in setting up and sustaining alumni services in universities.

Speakers for this seminar are coming from the European Commission and the various pan-European alumni associations (ESN, EMA, OCEANS, GaragEramus), the University of St. Gallen,  DAAD,  Campus France, CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) Europe, etc. The programme covers a European overview of alumni work and the most recent trends, national-level alumni support systems for international graduates, in-depth case studies of two European universities (one at the beginner stage and one at the advanced stage), and a panel discussion of the EU’s up-and-coming mega European alumni network – Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Association (ESAA) that concerns all European universities.    

Every university has alumni. The difference is whether they are in your reach when you need their support. If you have questions like: How exactly can alumni be reached and supported? How exactly can alumni support the development of your institution (marketing, fundraising, student recruitment, career counselling, knowledge transfer etc.)? What are the existing national or European resources that that you can tap into when building up your alumni network? What are other universities doing in alumni relations? THIS IS the seminar for you!    


Wednesday 18 March 2015



Seminar dinner

Thursday 19 March 2015



Registrations and coffee


Welcome and introduction
Queenie Lam, Project Manager, ACA (Brussels, Belgium)


Getting started in alumni relations – incentives, objectives, means
Carolyn Wever, Director Development and Alumni Relations, University of Amsterdam (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)


Tracking students and alumni – trends and key observations in the European context
Michael Gaebel, Director Higher Education Policy, EUA (Brussels, Belgium)


Coffee break


Rounding up the lost sheep – best practice in tracking and engaging alumni
Daniel Bargetze, Managing Director, St. Gallen University (St. Gallen, Switzerland)


Toolbox for alumni fundraising online: How to create a giving culture?
Raimonds Kulbergs, Managing Director, Funderful (Riga, Latvia)


Sandwich lunch


Pooling resources and effecting changes – contributions of national alumni networks
Mariana Lemos, Community Manager, Campus France (Paris, France)
Stefan Bienefeld, Head of Division Development Cooperation and Transregional Progammes, DAAD (Bonn, Germany)


Coffee break


The bigger the better? – added value of a mega European alumni infrastructure (Panel Discussion)
Bernd Wächter, Director, ACA (Brussels, Belgium)
Claire Morel, Deputy Head of Unit “International Cooperation and Programmes”, European Commission (Brussels, Belgium)
Jonathan Jelves, Treasurer, Erasmus Student Network (ESN) (Brussels, Belgium)
Leasa Weimer, President, EMA (Cologne, Germany)
Nicola Filizola, Vice President EU Affairs, garagErasmus (Pisa, Italy)
Neringa Tumenaite, member of the Transition Board, OCEANS Network (Brussels, Belgium)


Wrap-up and goodbye



Queenie Lam

Queenie joined ACA as Project Officer in late 2010. She is currently ACA’s Project Manager, responsible for a mixed portfolio of project development, policy research and membership services. Within ACA, she is a specialist in international education marketing and communication, rankings, EU-China mobility and funding. She has consistently developed new projects, published and organised events related to these specific themes over the years. Recently, she’s been deeply involved with the mapping of EU-China researcher mobility and a critical assessment of the quality indicators of global university rankings, as well as a series of internationalisation audits in Hungary in which she serves as an external expert.      

Carolyn Wever

Carolyn Wever is director of the Amsterdam University Fund and director Development and Alumni relations at the University of Amsterdam. The Alumni Relations office maintains contact with the alumni(170.000) of the University of Amsterdam and organizes events for and by alumni in cooperation with the Alumni Association. Next to their national programs the alumni office is setting up an international program in Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels and chapters in Beijing, New York City and London. The Amsterdam University Fund manages the endowments and more than 70 funds for student support, research and chairs. The development office is setting up a campaign and business engagement for the University.

After qualification in Library Science, Carolyn Wever worked at a large publishing company as a management trainee where she completed the business administration program. After having worked at several cultural institutions, she started her own company in 1985. Her work as a consultant for government agencies and commercial companies lasted 22 years. During this period she obtained extensive experience in managing projects with databases, CRM applications in particular. Since 2003 she worked regularly for the University of Amsterdam as an interim manager for the CRM database and the alumni and development office. Since 2006 she is employed by the University as director of the alumni database and prospect research. In 2010 she became the director of the University fund. In 2012 she was also appointed as the director of the Development and Alumni Relations Office of  the University. She is a regular speaker on topics like  CRM databases for alumni and recruitment, alumni relations and fundraising in higher education on national and international seminars.

Michael Gaebel

Michael Gaebel is Head of the Higher Education Policy Unit, which focuses on the educational mission of universities, in particular the Bologna Process, lifelong learning, internationalisation, and digitalisation. When he first joined the organisation in 2006, he was in charge of developing EUA’s international strategy and for global exchange and cooperation. 

Before joining EUA, Michael worked for more than a decade in higher education cooperation and development in various parts of Asia.

Daniel Bargetze

Daniel is the Managing Director of HSG Alumni, the alumni organization of the University of St.Gallen (HSG) with more than 21,000 members. HSG Alumni is one of the largest alumni communities in Europe. It has more than 150 clubs worldwide, operates a career and networking platform and organizes over 200 events per year. Daniel studied Journalism and Organizational Communication and subsequently International Relations at the University of St.Gallen (HSG). He joined HSG Alumni in 2009 and became Managing Director in 2011. His latest achievements were the founding of a Seniors Chapter 60+, the launch of Career Services, a “who’s who” App, and various internationalization initiatives.

Daniel Bargetze has a soft spot for the hospitality sector and in 2006 he opened a restaurant “Jaegerstube Zum Kreuz” in his home village in the Principality of Liechtenstein; he is still the owner. Daniel is married and has two young daughters.

Raimonds Kulbergs

Raimonds, the founder and CEO of Funderful, comes to alumni relations from Management Consulting. As someone who previously led the Financial Advisory practice of Deloitte Riga, he lives for high ROI’s. Over the last seven years has increasingly found his passion in helping his university to establish a culture of giving and trippling their alumni donating participation to every third alumnus donating. What started off as a hobby, has over time grown into a socially focused business, Funderful, being priviliged to work with most prestigious European and US universities. Raimonds has presented at CASE annual conferences in Europe and US for the last three years.

Mariana Lemos

Mariana Lemos is the Community Manager of Campus France in Paris. As a social media and international communications specialist she’s part of the team responsible of developing and managing the France Alumni international website. She’s also responsible of training Campus France’s staff around the world in using social media and managing their local alumni community.

Bernd Wächter

Bernd Wächter is the Director of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA). He studied at the universities of Hull (UK), Giessen and Marburg (Germany). His career has been focused on international higher education. He worked for the University of Kassel, the British Council, and the Fachhochschule Darmstadt, before joining The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) as the head of their EU division. He subsequently became the director for Higher Education (Erasmus) in the Brussels Socrates Office. In 1998, he took up his present post as ACA Director.

Bernd Wächter has published and lectured widely on international higher education. He is the editor of the ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Education. He has been the team leader of ACA’s research projects and speaks frequently at major governmental and stakeholder conferences, in Europe and beyond, on the issue of mobility and internationalisation.  

Bernd Wächter has two children. He is married to Thora Magnusdottir, a delightful lady from Iceland.

Stefan Bienefeld

Stefan Bienefeld is Head of Division P3, Development Co-operation and transregional programmes in the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Stefan holds a Master’s Degree in psychology from the University of Bielefeld, Germany. He worked for the German Rectors Conference, the national Association of German universities, as a programme manager on issues linked to the Bologna process and as a head of a project dealing with Quality Assurance in Germany and Europe prior to joining DAAD in 2009. In DAAD he started as head of division 435, responsible for large scale university cooperation programmes between German universities and partner HEIs in developing countries as well as programmes for the worldwide mobility of German university teaching staff. Since June 2011 he was head of division 43 and in this capacity held the responsibility for all DAAD programmes with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, including financial and strategic issues with the Ministry as well as cooperation with external partners such as GIZ, KfW, UNESCO, the World Bank and civil society organisations. Since January 2015 he is head of division P3 dealing with project funding programmes in development cooperation, alumni, German studies and the German language as well as research mobility.

Claire Morel

Claire Morel has worked for the past 18 years in the field of international cooperation in education and training. Before joining the European Commission, she worked at the European Training Foundation, and agency of the EU based in Turin, on the modernisation of vocational education and training systems in the Eastern neighbouring countries. She then moved to DG Education and Culture (DG EAC) of the European Commission where she worked for the Tempus programme (for higher education modernisation), dealing mainly with Central Asian countries, and the programme’s external communication. She is now deputy head of the unit for international cooperation and programmes in DG EAC and her work concentrates on international policy dialogue in education and training, in particular with the EU’s neighbouring countries, and preparing the next generation of EU international education programmes.

Jonathan Jelves

Jonathan is a board member of Erasmus Student Network AISBL (ESN). ESN works to represent the needs of mobile students and to help improve mobility in European Higher Education. Jonathan holds the position of Treasurer of ESN and works primarily with issues linking mobile students with the commercial sector through for example projects such as

Jonathan has a Master’s degree in Economics from Lund University, Sweden. At Lund University he began working in the field of student mobility addressing issues ranging from the practical needs of students to policy of mobility in European Higher Education. He has been active in the field for four years.

Leasa Weimer

Leasa Weimer is President of the Erasmus Mundus Student and Alumni Association (EMA). In this role she oversees the external relations and strategic planning for the global association with over 10,000 members in 174 different countries around the world. Leasa has a PhD from the University of Georgia (USA) where she received a Fulbright and American Scandinavian Foundation grant to collect data for her dissertation project on the international student tuition fee pilot program in Finland. In 2008, she earned an Erasmus Mundus joint master’s degree in Higher Education Policy from the University of Oslo (Norway), University of Tampere (Finland), and at the University of Aveiro (Portugal). Her master’s thesis compared the Erasmus Mundus and the U.S. Fulbright policies and programs. Currently, Leasa works as the Knowledge Development Advisor for the European Association for International Education (EAIE). Her publications and research agenda focus on:  the international student market, international joint degrees, international alumni efforts, and academic capitalism.

Nicola Filizola

Nicola Filizola is co-founder and Vice President EU Affaires of the garagErasmus foundation. He is coordinating the activities of the Foundation in Brussels, where he is based, and he actively engages the  local garagErasmus throughout Europe in Prague, Istanbul, Lisbon, Tours, Athens, Budapest, Santiago de Compostela. In this privileged position he is the first contact with the European Commission and the European universities to launch Check-in Europe, the first professional online platform for talents and companies in Europe.

He is a global communication and public affairs expert who has worked in the UK, Italy, Israel and Belgium for major TV broadcasting, radio, the United Nations, and other private and public institutions. He is determined to make garagErasmus the largest professional network in Europe and to raise the impact of the Erasmus Generation in Europe’s economic scene.

Neringa Tumenaite

Neringa is a former President and currently a Transition Board member of OCEANS Network, international student and alumni association aimed to promote cooperation between the EU and North America, Oceania and Asia Pacific. Neringa holds a Bachelor of Creative Industries degree from VGTU, Lithuania and is MA candidate in Media Culture at the Maastricht University, the Netherlands. She has first-hand experience in the internationalization of higher education, and has participated in academic exchange programmes in South Korea, Belgium and Spain. 

As a Human Rights activist she has a strong interest in policies of inclusion, international development and promoting youth empowerment through non-formal education methods, and has worked in the field of external communication at the European Commission and volunteered at the No Hate Speech Movement of the Council of Europe. 


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