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Global Partnerships

Working Group

Chair: Sarah-Marleen Dannenberg

Sarah-Marleen Dannenberg is Regional Offices & DWIH Manager at the International Affairs Division of University of Cologne (UoC). She studied International Information Management with focus on Intercultural Communication at the University of Hildesheim and holds an M.Phil. in Linguistics from Trinity College Dublin. She went to California State University, Northridge and Motril, Spain for research stays. When still a student, she was an active member of the ESN network and Vice President of ESN Germany from 2013 to 2014.

Vice-Chair: Nils Gunnar Songstad

Bergen / 14.02.2024: BSRS kontrakt. Foto: Eivind Senneset, UiB

Nils Gunnar Songstad is administrative leader of Global challenges, one of the strategic prioritized areas of University of Bergen, Norway. The unit holds an annual PhD research school, established in 2008, with participants from all over the world. He holds a PhD in health systems research, and his background is in social anthropology and political science. He has extensive work experience in East Africa through development, research and research administration. His main focus is to promote collaboration between scientific disciplines in addressing global challenges, and to stimulate collaboration with the Global South based on mutual responsibilities.

Focus of Working Group

The global social responsibility of universities requires their active engagement with global cooperation issues and challenges. The Coimbra Group aims at increasing such engagements to create an effective response to major cooperation challenges and a fruitful relation with the main global partnership and development agencies, in primis the EU. The academic world plays an important role as promoter of a broad and solid approach to global cooperation, based on the issues of capacity building, the promotion of a global citizenship education and the implementation of a participative approach to research and for global partnerships. The activities of the Working Group Global Partnerships align with global and European policies in the sense that they refer to actual challenges in global partnerships, especially concerning the SDGs and their implementation in development, education, and migration.

Priorities for 2023 – 2026

Three main levels of intervention are identified:

  • Development of joint training courses and education programs (e.g., Summer / Winter Schools) to contribute to the improvements of institutional capacities; Development of joint training courses and education programs in the framework of the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange Project (Western Balkans, Northern Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia).
  • Sharing knowledge and experience on research for cooperation models and evaluation, including a critical review of development cooperation and the actions of the main international donors.
  • Investigation on the role of universities as agents of global cooperation at the country or regional level, including the co-designing of experiences of higher education fostering ownership and human and institutional capacity building.

Recent highlights

  • Master program in Peace & Conflict Studies (CGMIPCS): The Coimbra Group initiative in the field of Peace & Conflict Studies offers a scientific approach to analyze violent and nonviolent behaviors in order to understand better political conflict situations. Students are given the possibility to move between the participating universities by using the EU mobility program (AC131) in order to achieve specialist knowledge as well as to apperceive different approaches as well. Students can, thus, explore different cultural backgrounds already during the university studies. The Coimbra Group universities taking part in the initiative on Peace & Conflict Studies also benefit from their own links to partner universities in different regions of the world and countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Thus, this opens diverse possibilities for students for internships and thesis research. The universities participating in the study program are University of Aarhus, University of Coimbra, University of Galway, University of Granada, University of Groningen, University of Jena, University of Poitiers, and Vilnius University. The CGMIPCS project has been launched in September 2021 by organizing the first international conference of the Network at the University of Poitiers: “After the crisis: Justice, Institutions, Media (JIM). Which memory(s) of the conflict in the contemporary world?”. The 2nd CGMIPCS Network conference was organized in October 2022 at the University of Granada: “Historical memory, contemporary studies and actions, and research on Peace studies”.  In March 2023, the 1st Blended Intensive Program (BIP) on “Memory Studies: Peace, Conflict and Transformation” was organized at the University of Vilnius and in cooperation with Jena, Granada and Vilnius (coordinator). The third CGMIPCS Network conference (2023) will take place at the University of Coimbra. The topics of the 3d conference as well as of the 2nd BIP will be decided before summer 2023.
  • Joint project with the University of Namibia (UNAM) and other universities from sub-Saharan Africa on International Research Management. The general goal is to build up long-term internationalization and research management knowledge at the partner universities of the CG Global Partnerships Working Group members. During the project, we have organized workshops to transfer knowledge regarding different topics such as, proposal writing, international project management, female leadership, and internationalization strategies for university management and staff. The project brings different partners, who have heterogeneous backgrounds and areas of expertise, together, creating a platform for further exchange and cooperation.  

Ongoing/forthcoming activities

  • Conference on European Universities’ Cooperation with China: Exchange of recent experiences in cooperation with China and related policy changes.
  • The development of European Language Policy in the context of the Global Partnership for education and modern languages is one of the WG priorities. For this reason, the Third International Summer School on European Multilingualism is planned in Bosnia and Herzegovina in June 2024 at the University of East Sarajevo, namely at “Andricgrad”, a very interesting cultural place which was founded by the filmmaker Emir Kusturica. The Fourth Summer School on European Multilingualism will take place in Central Asia including several countries of this region (June 2025).
  • Joint conference project with Working Group Heritage on the decolonization of Museums, Cultural Heritage and its intercultural potential for Global Partnerships, planned for 2024.
  • Planned cooperation with HEI organizations in Africa like the Association of African Universities (AAU). The AAU is a network that provides a continental platform for its over 400 member universities in order to share knowledge, good practices and to shape HEI policies in Africa.
  • Discussion and draft of a common declaration for the role of universities in Global Partnerships. Organization of a debate at the EU Parliament on the role of universities as Global Partnerships actors with relevant representatives of the Development Cooperation Committee of EU Parliament.

Contact person at the CG Office: Catarina Moleiro (moleiro@coimbra-group.eu)