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Coimbra Group Annual Conference 2019: Women in the University – past, present and future

28 June 2019

Professor Wojciech Nowak
Rector of the Jagiellonian University, Honorary President of the Coimbra Group

It was our great honour and pleasure to host the Coimbra Group Annual Conference and its General Assembly in Kraków. The Jagiellonian University has been a Coimbra Group member since 1991, but it was only this year in June that we hosted in Kraków all the distinguished Guests from 39 prestigious European universities. The conference was a half day event and consisted of two panels of experts and academics, and an inspiring keynote address delivered by Professor Patricia Hill Collins from the University of Maryland.

The conference venue, the Jagiellonian University, is the oldest university in Poland. Since its foundation 655 years ago, it has educated numerous famous alumni, including Pope John Paul II, the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, and the poet and Nobel Prize laureate Wisława Szymborska.​ Today the University offers over 30 study programmes in foreign languages and 150 programmes in Polish. The Jagiellonian University is mainly a research institution. The high quality of research is reflected in the Jagiellonian University’s position as the only Polish and Eastern European higher education institution in Reuter’s Top 100: Europe’s Most Innovative Universities ranking.

Bearing this fact in mind I sincerely hope that all the Coimbra Group delegates had a really productive as well as enjoyable  time in Kraków, which is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Central Europe. I also hope that our University, which builds on its great past while looking to the future with its excellent, internationally-recognised research achievements and education, provides a solid platform to exchange and generate ideas. Coimbra Group meeting gave us an opportunity to join the Poitiers Declaration, which  was signed by Kraków Mayor, Professor Jacek Majchrowski,  on behalf of the City of Kraków.

At the CG Annual Conference we discussed  the issues which, we believe, are of particular importance for the future of the European and global academia. This conference, which  was open to the  public and livestreamed on the internet, focused on the problem of  women in the University, as we believe that inclusiveness and equal opportunities are and have always been the key values of the European universities.

I am glad to inform you that both the conference and the follow up discussions about the role of women in academia led to the idea of establishing a new Coimbra Group working group dedicated to gender equality. This proves that Coimbra Group is not only an excellent academic network but that it constantly works towards the development of both global and local societies.