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MIREES: Creating Generations of Experts on Eastern Europe with the Support of MAiA

“MAiA begins with MIREES. Two years in which we have gained or improved skills valuable for our lives and future careers, made friendships for life, and above all become part of a network of varied professionals and bright minds we can always refer to.”

These are the words of the Executive Board of the MIREES Alumni International Association (MAiA). But what is MIREES?

MIREES is the international Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Research and Studies on Eastern Europe –a pioneer degree programme in the field of area studies launched in the early 2000 by the School of Political Sciences-Forlì Campus of the University of Bologna, in cooperation with the partner universities, the Vytautas Magnus University at Kaunas and the Saint-Petersburg State University. MIREES is an innovative graduate programme, unique in Italy and Europe, devoted to students that wish to acquire a specialized, in-depth knowledge of the Post-socialist Countries in transition, the new EU member States after the Enlargements of 2004 and 2007, as well as the New East-European Neighbour Countries.

The relevance of the programme is explained by Prof. Stefano Bianchini,University of Bologna’s Rector’s Delegate for the Relations with East European Countries and MIREES Co-founder:

‘’When MIREES started its adventure in 2004, the program was really pioneering: a joint master with a joint diploma represented an indisputable and unique contribution to the internationalization of the higher educational institutions and an absolute novelty for students. Our aim was to educate transnational generations of area experts in Central and Eastern Europe, by empowering them with a variety of tools, from language to economy, from politics and sociology to cultural and international relations studies. Additional, transversal skills were gradually added. Fourteen years later, thanks to the powerful network of MAiA, our transnational societies in Europe, USA and Asia can rely on a selected and well-prepared group of young PhD scholars, analysts, public servants, young entrepreneurs, diplomats’’.

The cooperation with the Alumni Association has proven fruitful in promoting and developing the master’s programme, in monitoring the rate of employment of MIREES graduates, as well as in defining their areas of specialization. Answering MAiA 2015 census of all graduates, 82% of alumni affirmed to be employed, mostly in the private sector(26%), in international organizations (ca. 17%), in public institutions (16%) or in governmental agencies (11%).

Thanks to its comprehensive learning goals, in fact, MIREES combines an academic approach with professional training, forging potential insightful consultants, analysts, and managers as area experts for international agencies, public administrations, Ministries and EU institutions, private and public companies, NGOs, and Research and Study Centers, while also offering a solid basis for further academic studies at the PhD level.

Valentina Gilardoni and Adriano Remiddi from the MAiA’s Board explain how the Association was born:

 ‘’After graduating from MIREES, we understood it was necessary to keep in contact with the large group of talented fellows scattered across the Eastern Europe andbeyond, hence to improve its potential. Thus, MAiA was born, to make sure theinterconnection of professionalism and humanity created by MIREES was always endorsed.In its double-faceted role of support both to MIREES and its alumni, MAiA has growninnovative and unique, and represents today an excellent partner for the promotion anddevelopment of the program itself, and for enhancing the employability of all its formerstudents. MAiA is also one of the very first official Alumni associations of the University of Bologna, which makes us all protagonists of a great pioneer endeavour which places theMIREES Alumni community in a privileged position towards our Alma Mater’’.

After almost fifteen years of successful implementation of the master’s programme, generations of MIREES graduates are spread all over the world pursuing notable careers as these testimonies show:

“What makes MIREES unique is the variety of subjects it offers, something that you can rarely find with other Masters. Having a freedom of choice has given me the opportunity to get a deeper insight into the subjects in which I have had a genuine interest.” says Evdokija Atanasovska, Ministry of Defence of Macedonia; while for Mirjana Kosić, Co-founder and Executive Director of TransConflict“…another significant value of MIREES is that it has already become the brand in itself, increasingly recognised and acknowledged by and within broad academic community in the EU and the US.”

Finally, the success of MIREES alumni is in the words of Prof.Bianchini:
‘’As I travel worldwide for my job and I take part in international events, I have increasingly the satisfaction to meet our former students in their new job positions. They are often either my colleagues or partners. They are a new powerful network whose visibility is growing over time. This is the best result I could ever imagine for the program when we launched it several years ago’’.

For further information on the programme, its Alumni Association, and the enrollment details, please visit: