Together Apart: EMGS Hosts First-Ever Virtual Alumni Conference

Two weeks ago, the Global and European Studies Institute launched our first-ever virtual alumni conference to celebrate EMGS’s 15th anniversary as a master’s program. Supported through funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the conference included ten alumni panels and roundtables, four lectures from scholars and activists, and several interactive virtual events. With over 300 EMGS alumni, students, and faculty members taking part in various conference activities, this virtual meeting allowed Global Studies practitioners from every corner of the world to connect with one another.

By Therese Mager

This past September, the Global and European Studies Institute conducted a survey among EMGS alumni in which we asked about graduates’ employment history, mobility, and impressions of their master’s degree in hindsight. In light of the turbulent news cycle this year, we also posed the question, “What do you see as some of the greatest global challenges at this point in time?” We were impressed with the many thoughtful responses we received, and we used this data as the basis for our first-ever virtual EMGS alumni conference. Entitled “Resilience in the Face of Global Challenges,” the conference took place from November 19th to 26th and offered panels and lectures to address some of our graduates’ most pressing global concerns, such as climate change, social inequality, populism, and the impacts of Covid-19. 

In addition to current affairs, the conference touched on a much more concrete and personal concern for many EMGS students and graduates: careers. Attendees had the chance to interact with alumni panelists working in a variety of fields, from consulting and data analysis to academia and international organizations. Moreover, students, alumni, and faculty were able to connect through virtual speed networking events, Q&A sessions following several of the alumni panels, and social media channels set up specially for the conference.  

Highlights included a highly active Q&A session about life “before, during, and after a PhD,” a laughter-filled pub quiz, a lively roundtable about populist movements across the globe, and Professor Gurminder Bhambra’s “Reflections on Decolonizing the University” lecture, delivered on the last day of the conference. We plan to publish recordings for the majority of our panels and lectures on the EMGS website in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! 

Many thanks to everyone who joined us for the conference! If you have any questions concerning this alumni meeting or would like to propose an idea for a future virtual EMGS event—or perhaps request another pub quiz—please feel free to reach out to us at or at .

Stay healthy!