Rome's Sapienza University honours Italy's Mamma Erasmus

La Sapienza honours Sofia Corradi, inventor of Erasmus.

Sofia Corradi, the Italian inventor of the Erasmus student exchange programme in the European Union, will receive an honorary doctorate in social psychology at La Sapienza University in Rome on 20 April.

Born in the Italian capital in 1934, Corradi is known as 'Mamma Erasmus' for her ground-breaking idea of promoting cultural, social and academic exchanges between European students.

Corradi studied law at La Sapienza in the 1960s before furthering her studies at Colombia University in the US thanks to a Fulbright scholarship.

She conceived the Erasmus idea on her return to Rome, in 1969, after her Master's degree from abroad was not recognised in Italy.

Subsequently, in her role as scientific consultant for the permanent conference of Italian university rectors, Corradi promoted her idea within the academic and institutional spheres.

After a long battle, the Erasmus programme was inaugurated within the EU in 1987 and is now considered the most important educational community experience in the world.

In addition to promoting learning in all its many forms, the programme promotes "cooperation, quality, inclusion and equity, excellence, creativity and innovation."

Today Corradi will return to her alma mater in Rome, where she will be honoured by the rector of La Sapienza, Antonella Polimeni, at a ceremony in the university's Sala Senato at 11.00.

The event coincides with the 718th anniversary of the foundation of the university's Studium Urbis, and includes the screening of a video-documentary on the history of La Sapienza which dates to 1303.

Since its creation, more than 10 million students have availed of the Erasmus programme, named after the 15th-century Dutch philosopher and theologian Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam.

The scheme has also had a profound cultural impact, representing for many European students their first time living and studying in another country.

With Brexit, the UK government decided to no longer participate in Erasmus, meaning that UK students lost access to the Erasmus programme and EU students lost access to UK universities under the European-wide scheme.

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Rome's Sapienza University honours Italy's Mamma Erasmus

Piazzale Aldo Moro, 5, 00185 Roma RM, Italy