:bsz-International. Manuel Marin, the informal founder of the Erasmus student exchange program, has died at the age of 68 after a long-lasting disease. This was announced by the Spanish Iberdrola Foundation, which was chaired by Martin. He died from cancer 30 years after the Erasmus program was launched for the first time. Marin became known throughout Europe as the man who enabled Spain to join the EU in 1986. Until 1999, the socialist politician held the office of Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labor Mobility. Under his provisional supervision, the European Union founded the Erasmus program on 15 June 1987. Although Marin is known for being the founder of the student exchange program, it was originally initiated by the Italian politician Sofia Corradi. The program, which enables tens of thousands of students to spend a period abroad, also offers lectureships abroad since the academic year 2000/2001. Starting in 2003, the so called Erasmus mundus has also made it possible to stay in non-European countries.