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Global Policy Dialogue

One of the core objectives of the Bologna Process was to render Europe more attractive internationally. This has, in many ways, been accomplished, as the EHEA has drawn considerable attention from the rest of the world; several world regions have observed Europe’s higher education integration process with keen interest.

In response to this, European ministers in 2007 launched the ‘Strategy of the Bologna Process in a global setting.’ The BFUG continues to implement this strategy by taking stock of national policies for internationalisation and mobility and supporting policy dialogue with global partners on key themes in high education reform.

Simultaneously, countries and institutions in Europe have increasingly promoted themselves as study destinations and academic partners with high quality offers. European Union policies and programmes for international higher education attractiveness and cooperation have increasingly raised the profile of European universities globally.

Programmes like Erasmus Mundus, and former external action programmes such as Alfa, Edu-Link, Asia-Link, etc. have recently fed into the launch if a new umbrella programme education, youth and sport that is open globally and favourable to global partnerships of higher education institutions (Erasmus+). This programme is underpinned by the EU strategy ‘EU Higher Education in the World’.

EUA has contributed both to the Global Setting Strategy of the Bologna Process and to the design of the new Erasmus+ programme. EUA also actively contributes to various bi-regional policy processes where higher education has become relevant, such as the ASEM Education Process, the EU-LAC Higher Education and Knowledge Area (under the EC-CELAC process) and the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership.

In addition, EUA organizes dialogue events with sister organisations and university leadership around key topics in higher education. This can be exemplified by the past bi-regional university association conferences with Latin America (Alfa PUENTES) and ongoing EU-China Dialogue, Arab-Euro Higher Education Conference (AECHE)  and the bi-annual Transatlantic Dialogue.

The Transatlantic Dialogue (TAD) is an important bi-regional leadership and joint initiative of EUA together with the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). Since 1989, university leaders (presidents, rectors and chancellors) from Europe, Canada and the United States meet biennially, to discuss and share perspectives on current higher education issues and policy developments. The past Transatlantic Dialogue discussions demonstrated that institutions in Europe and North America face a number of common issues and challenges.

In the 14th Transatlantic Dialogue, held in Toronto, Canada, from 25 to 27 June 2014 and focusing on the theme “Reputation, public opinion and accountability”, panel and small group discussions were held on a range of interwoven topics: societal and political expectations of the higher education sector, trust in the higher education sector, as well as measuring and communicating results and the implications for university governance.

The 13th Transatlantic Dialogue, "Leading the Globally-engaged Institution: New Directions, Choices, and Dilemmas," was held in Salzburg, Austria, July 4-7, 2012. Thirty presidents, rectors and chancellors from Europe and North America discussed how higher education institutions' ‘internationalisation strategies’ are changing in the context of globalisation, the emergence of new higher education models in other parts of the world and the current economic crisis. Underlying the discussion at the meeting was a clear agreement on the need to redefine internationalisation, as well as enhancing and enlarging its scope.

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The Arab-Euro Conference on Higher Education (AECHE) is a joint initiative of the Association of Arab Universities (AARU) and the European University Association (EUA). Addressed at their members, the AECHE brings together university leaders to promote a sustainable process of dialogue, mutual understanding, exchange of knowledge and increased cooperation between Arab and European universities. The AECHE is intended to encourage Rectors, Presidents and Vice-chancellors from both regions to rethink the role of the university in the current context of internationalisation and to examine the introduction of new functions to tackle socio-economic challenges in the Arab, Euro and Arab-Euro contexts.

The First Arab-Euro Conference on Higher Education was held from 30 to 31 May 2013 at the University of Barcelona (UB). The event was organised jointly with UB and the Association of Arab Universities (AARU) and focused primarily on cooperation possibilities and common challenges between institutions of the two regions. The conference addressed a wide array of topics such as frameworks for higher education systems’ convergence, doctoral education and research training, employability and university-labour market interaction, and internationalisation of higher education. It was the first ever conference between the two associations (EUA and AARU), gathering more than 250 participants from 175 Arab and European Universities, including more than 110 university leaders. 

As a results of the conference four key areas were identified that would be taken up and developed further in the framework of the second AECHE: joint Masters’ degrees, employability, quality assurance and internationalisation.

The Second Arab-Euro Conference on Higher Education, held from 10-12 June 2014 in Amman Jordan, gathered more than 250 participants, including 150 Arab and European university leaders. The conference on the topic “Strengthening Arab-Euro University Collaboration: The importance of regional mobility”, was hosted by the Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT). The conference discussed the targeted mobility of students and staff and its impact as an issue of critical importance to higher education in both regions. The intention was to map activity, share practices and encourage Arab and European university leaders, in partnership with governments and other societal stakeholders, to increase their commitment to investing in mobility.

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Over the last decade the EU and China have been closely cooperating in the areas of education & training, culture, multilingualism and youth. Since 2012 all activities have been integrated under the EU-China High Level People-to-People Dialogue (HPPD), the third pillar of EU-China relations, complementing the other two pillars (the High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue and the High Level Strategic Dialogue).

While the HPPD is not limited to culture, youth and education, it can principally address all sectors of joint policy making, where people-to-people exchanges would make sense. EUA is looking forward to further developments in the area of higher education and research exchanges.

EUA has been an active stakeholder in the EU-China dialogue for many years. The most recent events include a discussion panel on “The 21st Century Student: Learning in a Globalised World”, held in Brussels in May 2012. Discussion among the participants addressed a broad range of issues, such as employability, mobility and languages and proved a need for further opportunities for exchanges.

Within the First Meeting of the Higher Education Platform for Cooperation and Exchange (HEPCE) in April 2013, a University Presidents’ Dialogue, co-organised by EUA, the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) and the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA), welcomed European and Chinese university leadership representatives and shared a rich array of collaboration initiatives. The event demonstrated the enormous changes that have taken place in China-EU higher education collaboration over the past few year, now focusing on structured university cooperation and exchange via joint higher education institutions (schools, campuses, etc.), joint degree programmes and collaborative European and Chinese studies programmes.

More information on the "People-to-People" Dialogue and the joint declaration are available on the European Commission website.

European University Association (EUA)

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

Geneva office:
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Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96