6 – Mosaic History
MOSAIC (Meeting of Students Aiming At The Integration of the Coimbra Group) was founded in 1986. As the title suggests, it was a student organization whose members are drawn from the Coimbra Group universities. The aim was to foster, at student level, greater cooperation and understanding between the member universities, and at the same time to respect the cultural and educational diversity that MOSAIC represents. These objectives were achieved through engagement in activities in both academic and cultural fields.
MOSAIC was involved in several academic issues. At the General Meeting in Heidelberg (1994), a permanent Task Force was set up, the function of which is to gather information on educational policies, distribute it among the members and formulate a MOSAIC response for the approval of the following General Meeting. Most recently, issues of specific interest have been SOCRATES, Tempus and the European Commission Green Paper, “Education, Training, Research – the Obstacles to Transnational Mobility”.
An Academic Handbook was developed and is contains included useful information for students planning to study at one of the Coimbra universities. It was divided in three main parts: social information (housing, finance, etc.), academic information (assessment procedures, library facilities, etc), and a section relating specifically to the reception of international students. The handbook was based on surveys carried out by MOSAIC in various fields on educational interest.
MOSAIC’s greatest contribution to cultural exchange between its member’s universities was the Summer School of Culture. These take place over two weeks in the summer, and consisted of language courses, field trips and various activities that represent the traditions and history of the host university. The point was to allow the participants to become familiar with the cultural heritage of the country at a deeper level – and a cheap price.
Beside the Summer Schools of Culture MOSAIC also organizes Cultural Festivals and conferences. MOSAIC members recognized the extreme importance of cultural exchange, and its in everybody’s interest to promote more of these occasions.
The Cultural Guide to MOSAIC’s contains information about the history, traditions and customs of the Coimbra Group universities, as well as the towns and countries in which they are situated.
MOSAIC policy was formulated at General Meetings, which (since decision in 1991) are held twice a year. Meetings last four days, and include two days of formal discussion, and two days of workshops.
Each member university was represented by a delegation of up to two students. Each delegation had one vote, regardless of the number of delegates. The delegations discuss and vote upon the issues included in proposals of the Board and Task Forces. The General Meeting was bound only by the Constitution – which, with sufficient notice, it may vote to amend.
A delegation could also propose to host a Board General Meeting at their university. Since 1986, there have been General Meetings in Galway (1986), Coimbra (1987), Leuven (1988), Groningen (1989), Barcelona (1990), Leiden (1991), Dublin and Uppsala (1992), Coimbra and Barcelona (1993), Heidelberg and Budapest (1994), Granada and Leuven (1995), Sienna and Bergen (1996), and this year in Turku/Abo and Coimbra (1997).
The Board was responsible for MOSAIC activity in between General Meetings. There were five board members: President, Treasurer, Secretary, Cultural Officer and Academic Officer. Their individual roles and duties were the described in the Constitution. The President, Treasurer and Secretary were elected in the Autumn General Meeting while the Cultural Officer and the Academic Officer were elected at the Spring General Meeting. Should the conduct of any of the Board members prove unsatisfactory, the General Meeting could pass a motion of no confidence in those board members, or in the entire Board. In these event elections must be held to fill all vacancies.
THE AIMS OF MOSAIC
In the MOSAIC Constitution was defined the broad aim of the organization as “to further the Cultural and Academic integration of the Coimbra Group Universities”. In the Constitution it was recognized the diversity which exists among the Coimbra Group Universities, and aims to bring about integration by building mutual respects to their different cultures, and recognition of the diversity of their educational systems.
MOSAIC relies totally on the voluntary work of the students who are committed to its objectives. Therefore it must involve as many students with the necessary knowledge and commitment as possible. This can be done by means of “Task Forces”, composed of students from member universities, which discuss cultural affairs, organize events and investigate particular issues.
There were several levels at which MOSAIC could influence academic policy in European Union, MOSAIC shall give support for lobbying, such as information, experience and influence.
Members could lobby for change within their own universities. Information obtained from other MOSAIC members could be used as evidence in discussions with their university.
MOSAIC had the right to petition the European Parliament
As MOSAIC directly mirrors the Coimbra Group, which has a powerful voice within the European Rectors Conference, cooperation is necessary. The Coimbra Group could be a target for lobbying on problems affecting all or individual MOSAIC members.
MOSAIC could contribute to consultation at a European level, through institutions such as the Commission and the Parliament of the European Union.
MOSAIC could lodge a complaint with the European ombudsman;