Hi, my name is Erika Casajoana (@ecasajoana) and I live in Brussels, Belgium, where I work as a consultant in public communications. I was born in Barcelona, where I grew up and studied Law and European Studies. I later studied International Relations at Columbia University in New York.
Part of my work consists of traveling the world to train civil servants and executives so they can deal more effectively with journalists and connect with their different publics. I also lecture public relations and communication students about lobbying and the principles of our political and administrative system at two universities in Barcelona, the Open University of Catalonia and the School of Public Relations ascribed to the University of Barcelona.
I love of Brussels that is such a cosmopolitan city: more than 50% of its inhabitants are born outside Belgium. I find attractive too that it has two official languages, French and Dutch, as my native Barcelona with Catalan and Spanish.
A majority of Catalans today have roots outside our nation, and mine as well. My paternal family is, as we say, “de la ceba” (“from the onion”, strangely enough) meaning rural and 100% local, but my maternal grandfather came from Germany in the 1920’s, learnt the Catalan language and spoke it to his children under Francoism. In my family we joke that he had two defects: his love of soccer club Espanyol and his Protestantism, and that both of them were “corrected” in the next generation. My mother and her siblings were educated as Catholics and are fans of Football Club Barcelona.
Another family trait is enthusiasm for politics, which now has turned into passion for the process that hopefully will make us a free people. I now try to contribute as best as I can as a member of the Catalan Assembly in Brussels (www.assemblea.cat), as the local representative of Catalunya Empresa Oberta (Catalonia Open Enterprise, www.ceo.cat) and as a columnist for La Vanguardia digital (www.lavanguardia.com) and El Matí (www.elmati.cat), which I combine with helping foster the Catalan culture and language by coordinating the classes given by the Casal Català of Brussels.
I look forward to spending a week with you as a curator of @CatalanVoices!