Jordi Puig, cap de relacions internacionals d’ESCI-UPF, explica com ha estat la primera edició del programa IBP en què hi han participat estudiants de la institució nord-americana Boston College.
THE Europe Universities Summit
Lela Mélon, the ESCI-UPF Director of the Postgraduate Programme on Sustainability Transition Management and Climate Emergency, writes about The Times Higher Education Europe Universities Summit, held this week in Barcelona.
It has been more than two years that European leaders in higher education had the opportunity to meet face to face in Barcelona and discuss the pertinent challenges and opportunities universities are currently facing. The Times Higher Education Europe Universities Summit, as the side event of the UNESCO World Higher Education Conference 2022 (which is taking place currently at the Fira Barcelona), provided such a venue and challenged with the title: “Alliances for the future: Bridging education across Europe.” The event has been hosted by the Pompeu Fabra University and co-organized by THE (The Times Higher Education) and EUTOPIA Alliance.
The former is the most renowned provider of World University Rankings, assessing performance of universities in research, impact and teaching, while the latter is a young alliance European University alliance, bringing together ten European universities aiming to become by 2025 an open, multicultural, confederated operation of connected campuses –the participating universities are Vrije Universiteit Brussel, CY Cergy Paris University, University of Gothenburg, University of Ljubljana, Pompeu Fabra University-Barcelona, The University of Warwick, Babeș-Bolyai University, Technische Universität Dresden, Ca’ Foscari University of Europe, NOVA University Lisbon. The event reinforced the alliance and provided insights for its future steps and plans. The inauguration of the conference has been carried out by the Rector of the Pompeu Fabra University, Oriol Amat, together with Phil Baty (the Chief Knowledge Officer at THE), Joan Subirats (Minister of universities, Government of Spain) and Tim Sowula (World Summit Series Editor at THE).
ESCI-UPF has had an opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the discussion by its director Albert Carreras chairing the session titled “Universities without walls: How can alliances strengthen European global engagement?” on the 16th of May 2022, where the panellists Hans de Wit (Distinguished fellow and emeritus professor of practice at the Boston College), Michael Murphy (the President of the European University Association), ‘Funmi Olonisakin (Vice-president of global engagement at the King’s College London) and Leila Triki (Dean Mediterranean School of Business) discussed the challenges and the opportunities of European universities being more inclusive as regards their global outreach and inclusiveness of their alliances.
Important points were made about the “European point of view” and the need for understanding that “European” challenges and the “European” definition of inclusiveness differ from the global higher education point of view and should be as such observed and included in the plans and work of the existing and future alliances in Europe. Stressing diversity as the source of innovation and inspiration has been at the forefront of the debate, and the understanding of diversity beyond the borders of the European space.
Lela Mélon, the ESCI-UPF Director of the Postgraduate Programme on Sustainability Transition Management and Climate Emergency and the Executive Director of the Planetary Wellbeing Initiative at the UPF, had the opportunity to chair the session “How can alliances support the Green New Deal and relevant SDGs?” on the following day, sharing insights with the panellists Júlia Seixas (pro-rector of sustainability, NOVA University Lisbon), Ludovic Thilly (Chair of the Coimbra Group) and Luc Soete (Dean of the School of Global Governance, Vrije Universiteit Brussel) on the role of universities and their alliances in the sustainability transition of the society we are witnessing.
The challenge of required urgency of action under the significant societal changes to take place by the year 2030 has been discussed, and doubts expressed as to the focus of the universities to support these changes: the focus on the transformation of the existing curricula has been found a necessary but not sufficient condition for a significant contribution of universities towards this goal, and the social responsibility of the leadership of universities through this transition has been reiterated many times along the conversation.
The topic of incentivizing the re-focusing of the academic staff towards sustainability has been discussed as well as the notions of academic freedom and the current workload professors are facing, adding to the challenge of the local nature of sustainability-related challenges and the never-ending quest for global solutions. In that context, re-shaping and modifying the nature of university alliances has been found as a possible venue for sharing best-case practices, and the organic top-down approach of strategic university lines towards supporting and simultaneously incentivizing the sustainable transition of the university itself.
Walking the talk was found crucial: if universities do not behave in sustainable ways, how can we demand and/or teach such approach to our students? The outcome of the debate has been extremely gratifying for the efforts of UPF in general with its Planetary Wellbeing Initiative and in particular for the ESCI-UPF Postgraduate Programme on Sustainability Transition Management and Climate Emergency: the advocated organic and simultaneously top-down and bottom-up approach has already been employed by our respective institutions and we are very much looking forward to continue to walk down the well-paved path.
The conference was closed by closing remarks of the Rector of the Pompeu Fabra University, Oriol Amat, accompanied by Phil Baty (the Chief Knowledge Officer at THE), José Manuel Pingarrón (General secretariat of universities, Government of Spain) and Gemma Geis (Minister of research and universities, Government of Catalonia), and the work continues at the UNESCO World Higher Education Conference 2022, which is taking place from the 18th until 20th of May 2022, with our continuous presence.
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El passat 12 de maig es va celebrar la presentació del llibre de memòries d’Antoni Rovira, primer gerent de la institució, a la Sala d’actes d’ESCI-UPF. A l’acte també van participar-hi Oriol Amat, rector de la Universitat Pompeu Fabra i autor del pròleg, Albert Carreras i Agustín Lújua, director i gerent d’ESCI-UPF.