In this time of growing ecological and humanitarian crises, when the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the ecological vulnerability of our global systems, and the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is a re-telling of an old story of conquest and control that ends in murder, ruin, refugees, and resources catastrophe, there is an urgent need to integrate peace, well-being, ecological sustainability, resilience, and equity into all levels of society and education.
RMEI envisions an equitable and sustainable development for the Mediterranean region and strives to enhance the ethics of responsibility of young engineers through education and culture, given that education plays a key role in contributing to social transformations.
The network embraces a diverse range of cultures, religions, political and socio-economic differences that exist among the Mediterranean countries. Our mission is collaboration, co-sharing, co-learning, to integrate knowledge, culture, ecological sustainability, resilience, and equity into the engineering education, towards changing the way we design technological solutions for societies, the way we think, and to replace narratives that are destroying us with those that are sustaining us.
RMEI is a trusting network involving relationships built on common values, dialogue, mutual understanding, friendships, and shared responsibility. Together, we have achieved a learning potential informal and structural changes for gender equality with the support of EU TARGET project, developed a gender equality strategy, and will continue to unravel the link between gender equality, climate change and sustainability in our Living Social Change Lab. We will continue to integrate gender equality into interventions for the sustainable development for the region, by mobilizing the network’s human resources – from professors and students to academic managers.
We will continue to co-work with trust and a sense of belonging to the same family, create joy, and provide a space for non-experts to share knowledge and ideas enhancing the members’ commitment to SDGs. We can do that because we can work alternatively to the traditional top-down university learning (teacher-student learning), allowing space for uncertainty and an attractive alternative to the vertical transmission of knowledge of the universities, having a transversal perspective over Mediterranean engineering education systems.
We can obtain tangible achievements and develop change agents for social changes. I propose new ways of learning that include personal development, collaboration against competition, values, character, emotions, knowledge, action value and a soft leadership framework of participation and empowerment. I am envisioning increasing the diversity, and inclusion of our network. In the RMEI we don’t differentiate countries-members, we are guided by the values of justice, fairness, inclusion, and diversity.
I am confident that all of us, we will continue to collaborate, co-share, co-create and exchange successfully and with joy, as we always have done during the 25 years life of RMEI, for the benefit of our network and of Mare Nostrum (Mediterranean Sea region) that is our extended Mediterranean family!
I do believe that all of us co-envision and wish to work for a peaceful co-existence in this multicultural Mediterranean basin, for education, and socio-ecological sustainability. We can do that from any post we have, as president, vice president, board member or a simple member; it is not the post that mobilizes us to work but our willingness/vision to offer to RMEI, and the Mediterranean Region, our common home.
I rely on you to accomplish the RMEI mission.
I wish health and strength for the achievement of our goals.
Anastasia Zabaniotou, prof at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece