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30th Anniversary of the Magna Charta Universitatum

27 September 2018

Opening of the Magna Charta Universitatum conference by Rector Ricardo Ribero and Rector Pilar Aranda

The Executive Board Chair, Ludovic Thilly, represented the Coimbra Group at the conference celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Magna Charta Universitatum, in Salamanca on 17 and 18 September 2018, coinciding with the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the University of Salamanca where the Coimbra Group held its annual conference last May.

The focus of the conference was “University values in a changing world”, and it gathered about 250 Rectors from 50 countries and 5 continents. The two-day programme recalled the values at the foundation of our Universities and reflected on the crucial role universities play in the development of society.

Rector Ricardo Ribero and Executive Board Chair, Ludovic Thilly, presenting the Coimbra Group to the King of Spain, Felipe VI, and the Queen, Letizia Ortiz

On Monday 17 September, the conference was opened by the Rector of the University of Salamanca, Prof. Ricardo Ribero and by the Rector of the University of Granada, Prof. Pilar Aranda, who both emphasized the historical and societal roles of their multi-centenary universities, reflecting the role of the Coimbra Group Universities.

On this occasion, and after consulting the Rectors from our member institutions, Ludovic Thilly presented how “Coimbra Group Universities are responding to the changing world, keeping their values”, through concrete initiatives promoting Magna Charta principles:

– The University is an autonomous institution, transcending geographical and political frontiers

– The University is the trustee of the Humanism tradition

–  The University serves Society and spreads Culture and Knowledge

– The University rejects intolerance and is open to dialogue

– Research and Teaching are inseparable, must be morally and intellectually independent and remain under the seal of freedom


Academic procession in the streets of Salamanca, led by Rector Ricardo Ribero, Rector Francesco Ubertini and Rector Pilar Aranda

The conference also saw the launch of the Living Values Guidelines, which have been piloted by 10 universities in 9 different countries. More details can be found here.

It was also announced that the Magna Charta Universitatum is going to be reviewed with a new version to be launched in September 2020.

On Tuesday 18 September, 70 new Universities joined the list of Magna Charta signatories. This ceremony was followed by very moving speeches by Rector Ricardo Ribero, Salamanca, and Rector Francesco Ubertini, Bologna, in the presence of the King of Spain, Felipe VI, who also recalled the urgent need to support academic freedom, integrity, tolerance and dialogue not only within universities, but also within society at large.

Ceremony on Plaza Mayor, in front of Salamanca City Hall

The ceremony was closed by a magnificent and colourful academic procession from the University to the City Hall, where all participants were welcomed by the Mayor of Salamanca.

In 1988, at launch of the Magna Charta Universitatum, the Coimbra Group was present and, thirty years later, it was again very much involved in the event with speeches from several Coimbra Group Rectors and the Executive Board Chair, as a testimony to the importance of academic values in the foundation of the Coimbra Group. This continued importance is also embodied in the recent launch of the Poitiers Declaration, promoting the link between Universities and their cities, and more globally with Society: on this topic, the Coimbra Group will organise a high-level workshop in Brussels in early 2019 in collaboration with the European Parliament (more information soon).



Åbo Akademi University signs Magna Charta Universitatum

Rector Mikko Hupa and EB Chair Ludovic Thilly

The Rector of Åbo Akademi University, Mikko Hupa, signed the Magna Charta Universitatum on the 18th of September, together with 72 other signatories. The 30th Anniversary of the Observatory of the Magna Charta Universitatum took place within the framework of the VIII Centenary of the University of Salamanca. “Until today the deepest values of university traditions have been taken more or less for granted, such as the freedom of research and training, integrity and the independence of political authority and economic power. Today Magna Charta Universitatum as well as universities are more important than ever. The challenges of the universities are among others economical cuts in higher education and research, political actions against universities in several countries, Brexit and nationalistic tendencies”, says Rector Hupa.

More information in Swedish can be read here.