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Karl Dittrich becomes new EQAR President

29 June 2017

Karl Dittrich will serve as new EQAR President starting 1 July 2017. Having held numerous leadership positions in higher education over several decades, Dittrich is taking over the position and will be the first President following changes in the organisational structure of EQAR.


Following decisions made in early 2017 to replace the previously rotating presidency and separate the position of Register Committee chair by a single President, the EQAR General Assembly, including representatives of the key European stakeholder organisations as well as 38 ministries of higher education, unanimously elected Karl Dittrich as EQAR President for a term of three years.

Dittrich started his career as a political science researcher and lecturer in Leiden, Florence and Maastricht. He chaired the Executive Board of the University of Maastricht from the 1990s until the early 2000s. He was the inaugural chairman of the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO) from 2005 to 2012 and in that capacity also held functions on the ENQA Board and in the European Consortium for Accreditation (ECA). Recently, Dittrich has chaired the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), a position from which he will retire in October 2017. As VSNU Chairman, Dittrich was also a member of the Council of EUA.

In his speech to EQAR members before his election on 25 May 2017, Dittrich emphasised EQAR’s role in supporting and strengthening European ideals and cooperation in the field of higher education: “It is important for the European higher education community to continue its path of dialogue and cooperation despite some nationalist tendencies. EQAR guarantees the quality of the quality assurance agencies and promotes trust in and between them, a precondition for recognition and mobility of students and staff. Exchange and mobility promote understanding between European citizens and help us build strong, democratic and equal societies.”

On 1 July, EQAR bids farewell to Eric Froment, who served as a distinguished Chair of the EQAR Register Committee for five years. Dittrich: “I would like to thank Eric for his dedication and contribution to EQAR over the last years. I look forward to working together with quality assurance agencies, governments and stakeholders, to maintain and build enthusiasm for the idea of European cooperation.”

Across the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), most higher education institutions or study programmes are subject to regular external quality assurance by an independent agency. The European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) is the EHEA's official register of QA agencies that have demonstrated their substantial compliance with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the EHEA (ESG). It is web-based and openly accessible, providing reliable information on trustworthy quality assurance agencies operating in Europe.

Additional information, including system-level information on external quality assurance and cross-border recognition of quality assurance results, can be found at the EQAR website:

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96