In February 2021 EUA, one of the two founders of the Magna Charta Observatory, published its report ‘Universities without walls – A vision for 2030’. The report is based on extensive consultations with individuals, expert and stakeholder groups. It is informed by themes such as sustainability and the UN 2030 agenda, digital transformation, geopolitical situations and global tensions and the impact of Covid 19. It is precisely because of these seismic shifts and fundamental challenges that universities must remain firmly rooted in their core values, such as academic freedom, institutional autonomy and scientific integrity.

In 2020 the MCO published a new Magna Charta Universitatum, the MCU2020, which took account of changes since the original document was prepared in 1988 and anticipated the world that universities will face in the 2020s and beyond.

This webinar considered the two documents and how universities can, in practice, balance the strategic orientation of their activities towards large-scale societal goals with academic freedom and, specifically, the freedom of the individual researchers. Participants have engaged in an exchange on the practical application of values at institutional level and day-to-day operations and possible contradictions arising.


  • Michael Murphy, President of EUA & Formerly President of University College, Cork, Ireland
  • Sijbolt Noorda, President of the Governing Council of the Magna Charta Observatory & President Emeritus of the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Marcin Palys, Member of the Governing Council of the Magna Charta Observatory and the Board of EUA & Formerly Rector of the University of Warsaw, Poland
  • Astrid Söderbergh Widding, Member of the Governing Council of the Magna Charta Observatory & President, Stockholm University, Sweden

Moderator: David Lock, Secretary General of the Magna Charta Observatory

A recording of the webinar is now available on the Magna Charta Observatory YouTube channel.

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