Highlights from the 2022 Coimbra Group Annual Conference
For three days, more than 250 representatives from 41 universities part of the Coimbra Group Universities gathered at the University of Padua to discuss trends in higher education such as academic freedom, stakeholders’ engagement or the future of research.
Under the title «Universa Universis»: Academic Freedom in a Transforming World, the event was the first presential meeting after the COVID-19 outbreak and was also part of the yearlong calendar of celebrations for the 800th anniversary of the University of Padua.
The event started on the 8th of May with a series of working groups to develop synergies with Group Coimbra partners. Among the topics were included Doctoral Studies, Education Innovation, Equality and Diversity. The working group was followed by a session “Innovating in Joint Degrees: experiences, challenges, opportunities” where Tine Delva, Deputy Head of Unit for Higher Education at the European Commission (DG EAC) talked about the latest EU policy developments in this area. In this session, the European University alliances had a prominent presence. Meritxell Chaves, CHARM-EU Alliance Manager introduced the experience of the Master’s in Global Challenges for Sustainability, one of the first academic degrees launched in the framework of the European Universities initiative.
The second day of the event opened with the public conference “800 years of Academic Freedom: lessons from the past to shape the future”. It started with a roundtable to debate on how past experiences could help to shape a future in which academic freedom continues to be a fundamental value for the universities and for society. The roundtable had the participation of Prof. László Borhy, Rector of ELTE, Budapest
In the second roundtable, the focus was on the eight European alliances with the participation of the universities that take part in the Coimbra Group. Raúl Ramos, vice-rector for Internationalization Policy at the University of Barcelona highlighted CHARM-EU’s commitment to defending the European values and academic freedom. In the afternoon, the rector of the University of Barcelona, Joan Guàrdia, attended the Coimbra Group Annual Meeting of Rectors, in which one of the debated topics was the importance of reforming the research assessment mechanisms.
After a successful journey, the Coimbra Group already set the date for the next Annual Meeting: 31 May – 2 June 2023 hosted by the University of Cologne. The main topic will be on EU-Africa relationships.