Meet the Hertie School's CIVICA Ambassadors and Representative Sumit, Sofía and Alvaro


The students will strengthen the relationship between the Hertie student community and the international university alliance.

The Hertie School and the international university alliance CIVICA have appointed the two CIVICA Ambassadors for the 2023/2024 Academic Year. Sumit Anand, second-year Master of Public Policy student from India, and Sofía García-Durrer, first-year Master of Public Policy student with a Colombian-Swiss background, will be the link between the Hertie student community and the wider CIVICA community. Additionally, earlier this year, Alvaro Jose Guijarro May, second-year MDS student from Colombia, was elected to be the Hertie School representative on the CIVICA Student and Early Stage Researchers Board.

The role of CIVICA Ambassadors and CIVICA Representatives 

CIVICA Ambassadors range from undergraduate students to postdoctoral researchers and represent each university in the alliance. Their role is to promote interaction and exchange within the alliance’s communities and to be a first point of contact to CIVICA for their peers. The ambassador network actively shapes CIVICA by initiating bottom-up projects and participating in formal and informal alliance activities.

“The CIVICA Ambassadors play an important role in fostering and strengthening the sense of community not only among Hertie students but also within the CIVICA alliance. Sumit's digital communication skills and Sofía’s leadership skills will be the perfect team for community-building and strengthening the ties between the Hertie School and CIVICA,” says Mariana Fajardo Aristizábal from the Hertie School’s Student Life and Study Abroad team. 

CIVICA Representatives sit on the CIVICA Student and Early-Stage Researcher Board, which represents the voice of CIVICA students and early-stage researchers in all areas of the CIVICA alliance, particularly those relevant to them, such as student mobility, course offerings, research initiatives, the digital campus, library services, outreach activities, and non-curricular activities.

We spoke to Sofía and Sumit about what they are looking forward to as CIVICA Ambassadors. 

How is European cooperation relevant to your studies? 

Sofía: European cooperation is highly relevant to my studies and research. Living in Germany for six years and working as a research assistant at the University of Mannheim and the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) gave me firsthand exposure to European policy frameworks and practices. Collaborating with European researchers and institutions allows me to bridge the gap between theory and practical implementation.

Sumit: European cooperation provides a broad and interconnected community of scholars and experts addressing critical issues. Engaging with the European context will deepen my comprehension of EU dynamics, enabling me to effectively contribute to shared objectives, particularly in mitigating existing inequalities.

What does CIVICA mean to you? 

Sofía: CIVICA allows us to access collaborative learning and incredible opportunities. It is a symbol of international academic unity, connecting ten leading European universities and their respective communities of staff, researchers and students. The alliance serves as a platform for bridging differences and creating a shared vision for the future.

Sumit: CIVICA is a channel for dialogue and transformative action. It is a platform where multiple perspectives come together to foster systemic change and actively tackle pressing policy issues that align with our motivations and concerns.

What will your priorities as CIVICA Ambassador be, and what student-led initiatives would you like to develop?

Sofía: As a CIVICA Ambassador, my primary priorities are to promote academic collaboration, actively engage with students, act as a cultural bridge-builder, and enhance CIVICA leadership by organising impactful events. As a cultural bridge-builder, I aim to promote understanding among diverse backgrounds within the alliance. I would also like to continue to push forward the FuturEU initiative, which has been very well received by the whole CIVICA community.

Sumit: As a CIVICA Ambassador, I will prioritise fostering inclusivity and representing student interests. Collaborating with peers, my aim will be to work on expanding current initiatives, along with working on educational opportunities and establishing mentorship initiatives to support student access and success. In response to the escalating refugee crisis in the EU and its impact on educational access for students, I am interested in developing a project aimed at assisting high school students from refugee backgrounds. The initiative would guide them towards promising career paths and offer the support they need to navigate and succeed in college. I am eager to introduce and lead this endeavour within the CIVICA community and connect both students and PhD scholars in meaningful collaboration.

Meeting with students from across the international alliance

Later this month, our CIVICA Ambassadors and CIVICA Representative, along with seven other Hertie students representing several of the Hertie School’s student clubs, will be travelling to Warsaw to the Student Association Forum at the SGH Warsaw School of Economics, where they will meet with student representatives from across the international alliance and discuss ideas for joint projects.

Written by: Sophie Morris (Hertie School).

Photo credits: Sophie Morris (Hertie School).