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Bologna goes global: Internationally minded universities beyond 2020

30 April 2019

Professor Francesco Ubertini
Rector of the Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna

In June 1999  the ministers from 29 European countries met in Bologna to sign the Bologna  Declaration, which officially marked the start of the Bologna Process aimed at harmonising widely differing education and training systems in Europe to create a European Area of Higher Education (EHEA). The Bologna Process is now representing the intergovernmental cooperation of 48 European countries and collects the efforts of public authorities, universities, stakeholder associations, employers, quality assurance agencies, international organisations, and institutions, including the European Commission.

In May 2018, the Education Ministers met in Paris and adopted a ‘Communiqué’ on their priorities for a more ambitious European Higher Education Area beyond 2020.

Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna and the Observatory of the Magna Charta Universitatum in collaboration with the Italian Rectors Conference (CRUI), the Ministry of University and Research (MIUR), the European University Association (EUA) and the European Student Union (ESU) decided to celebrate the XX Anniversary of the Bologna Process. The Ceremony will include a scientific conference on the Bologna Process and the EHEA at large and will take place in Bologna on the 24th-25th June 2019.

The conference programme will be focused on the fundamental values of the EHEA beyond 2020 and will involve international speakers for an in-depth analysis of where we find ourselves as universities and where we think we should be going in the future to enhance our social relevance and impact.

As the EHEA will be widening its borders beyond 2020, the complexity of education systems and their differences in different countries are going to become a challenge; for this reason, an agreement on fundamental values is needed to build confidence between education systems, institutions and society. How to live and monitor university values within the EHEA will be debated. Beyond 2020, Universities need to commit more than ever before to serving societies to effectively respond to short-term challenges and longer-term imperatives. Students will be at the core to successfully contribute to the sustainable development of local and global communities. For the EHEA, this means a deep rethinking of traditional education and the design of innovative research projects and programmes.

The conference is intended as an analytical as well as an agenda-setting contribution to the design of the Bologna Process in the years to come and aims at identifying the most relevant challenges for universities and their role in society.

With more than 650 registered participants from 58 countries and with over 100 scientific contributions received, we are confident the conference will deliver valuable inputs to the EHEA for the decades to come.