Dear former students,
After more than ten years of programmes and with over 300 graduates from the various programmes of the School of International Studies (SIS), together with several colleagues, we decided it was time to set up the School of International Studies Alumni Network (SISAN).
Today, many of us keep in touch with our former students, particularly the ones with whom we have worked more closely as supervisors or advisors. Their news is often remarkable: our former students are to be found all over the world, they do important and challenging jobs in a very competitive international labour market and cover an incredibly wide and interesting spectrum of activities and fields, ranging from involvement with international institutions, to social activities in NGOs, working for private firms active in international markets and pursuing further study and research in renowned universities and research centres. Yet, all this information, while very precious and interesting, is scattered and fragmentary. We believe that a more comprehensive and up-to-date picture about what all of you are doing professionally, and how this evolves over time would be of interest and value to the School and to fellow alumni alike.
There are several reasons for pursuing this endeavour on our part. First of all, it is very important for our institution to keep track of our students: what they do professionally after they leave Trento is not only a matter of personal involvement and curiosity, but fundamental information in order to monitor the relevance and success of the educational experience that we provide. It tells us whether we have equipped our students with the skills and knowledge that they need for in their work, whether some areas need greater/less focus, whether a broader or different range of skills need to be developed.
This leads to the second reason: the news that we receive from you is very helpful in the planning and decision-making concerning our programmes, because it provides us with fresh and relevant information concerning the prospective activities of our graduates. Consequently, we can work towards enhancing our programmes so they not only stimulate and satisfy the academic interests of our students but also provide them with the opportunity to apply that knowledge and develop specific competences to meet the expectations of an increasingly demanding workplace and top-ranking institutes of higher education. In brief, to provide graduates with what they really need.
Finally, while the number of students of the School of International Studies is not very large compared with other institutions, the geographical dispersion of former students is very widespread, not only do they come from a various countries and continents, but also after graduation they naturally look for jobs in a truly international market, and therefore end up scattered across the globe. Keeping in touch can therefore be more difficult than in a merely national dimension. Yet, technology is of great help today: the web and social networks make it possible to be in contact very easily in spite of distances. Our idea is to use them in order keep close to you, even at a distance. You can find out what is happening at the School, we can keep track of your progress, you can find out about and keep in touch with fellow alumni and we can all use the Network as a platform for exchanging news, asking for and giving advice and posting interesting topics.
There is finally a very important human dimension in this endavour: our students are a fundamental part of this institution and its community, and keeping track of their fate is a fundamental element of our history. We therefore hope, if we succeed in building up a comprehensive and stable network, to be able to organize regular (although probably not frequent) meetings, in which at least some of you will be able to come back to Trento and share your experiences with us and with the new students of the School of International Studies. The transmission of knowledge is also a matter of direct experience, and your testimonials of how the kind of University education provided at the School can be turned into action in the outside world is extremely precious.
We hope that you will be interested in this effort of network-building, and look forward to receiving news from you and possibly meeting again in Trento.