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2018 Laureate of the Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students

27 March 2018

The Selection Committee established by the Executive Board for the 2018 Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students is pleased to unanimously nominate Mr Arnab Dutta from the University of Göttingen (Germany) for this year’s award. Mr Dutta spent his 5-month Erasmus exchange as part of his Erasmus Mundus Euroculture Master programme at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in The Netherlands in the year 2016. After graduating in September 2017 in Göttingen, Mr Arnab Dutta was accepted as a PhD student at the Graduate School for the Humanities at his host university, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

Mr Arnab Dutta has shown that the value of the Erasmus experience is particularly significant for non-European students. The opportunities created by the European Higher Education Area and more specifically by the Erasmus Mundus master programmes allow non-European students to develop their research interests in European subjects and contribute to the dissemination of a culture of diversity, discussion and creativity.

In 2015 the Laureate started his Erasmus Mundus Master of Arts in Euroculture at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany. In his essay, Mr Dutta draws the attention to the way in which this interdisciplinary MA programme threw light on the political, legal and cultural foundations of the European continent, and its ‘ in the wider world. In order to accomplish the ‘European nature’ of the degree, students would undertake a compulsory Erasmus exchange at a second European university. Mr Dutta chose the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in The Netherlands as his second semester host university. He attended a research seminar called ‘Representing Europe’ – a dedicated course to explore Europe’s self-image as a continent, and the ways in which ‘the non-European others’ make “meaning” of it. After completing an Erasmus exchange semester in Groningen (February – June 2016) he went to another Coimbra Group University (Uppsala, Sweden) for another semester to complete a research assistantship.
After spending one semester each in Groningen and in Uppsala, he finished his studies in Göttingen under the dual supervision.

As Mr Arnad Dutta stated when referring to his thesis: “In this thesis, titled “The Borders and the Boundaries in the Land of the Quasi-Masters: Continental Europe as seen through Bangla Travel Narratives, 1919-50”, I have tried to show the experiences of the young travellers-cum-students from British Colonial India. In the course of writing this thesis I analyzed how they made ‘meaning’ of the spatial concept of the continent called Europe while travelling across its vast territories, and how they engaged themselves with the internal boundaries of Europe – not only the geographical or political boundaries, but also the borderlines between different versions of Kultur and Civilisation…”

It is clear that the experience of diversity, creativity and discussion at the European universities shaped Mr Dutta’s choices and perspectives.

The Selection Committee would like to congratulate Mr Arnab Dutta on this year’s Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize and wish him a successful career based on his European educational experience.

We would also like to congratulate the other candidates, whose testimonials were additional excellent examples of the impact of their mobility experience and their academic qualities, as well as of the commitment to the Erasmus project at the Coimbra Group Universities where they were awarded their degrees and undertook their exchange periods.