UNESCO World Higher Education Conference (WHEC2022) – EUA’s contribution

03 May 2022

The UNESCO World Higher Education Conference takes place from 18 to 20 May 2022 in Barcelona, the first such event since 2009, when the WHEC was held in Paris.

WHEC2022 is set to focus on “reshaping ideas and practices in higher education to ensure sustainable development for the planet and humanity”. In this vein, through round tables and talks the conference will work towards a “Roadmap 2030”, which will be launched on the final day of the conference.

President Michael Murphy and several EUA colleagues will attend and contribute to various sessions in Barcelona both within the main conference and at side events, in collaboration with partners. For example, EUA Secretary General Amanda Crowfoot will participate in a discussion on the forthcoming WHEC report led by the Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi). EUA, together with colleagues from member institutions, has contributed to the report’s articles on digital research and education and sustainability. You can consult an overview of EUA’s involvement below.

A provisional programme covering the official conference as well as side events is now available, as is registration for online participation. (N.B. while physical attendance is by invitation only, UNESCO recommends early registration for online participation due to limited capacity.)

Finally, in June EUA will hold a dedicated webinar to analyse and discuss the outcomes of the WHEC against the backdrop of recent developments in European and international higher education.

Events related to WHEC involving EUA

(all Central European Summer Time)

12 May 14:00 – 16:00 How does the pandemic shape the future of higher education?  

Pre-WHEC event by the International Association of Universities

Online only  – watch the recording here.

The session will present and discuss some key results of the IAU 2nd Global Survey Report on the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education “Higher Education One Year Into the COVID-19 Pandemic”. Focus will be on the different impacts in different world regions.

Michael Gaebel, Director of Higher Education Policy Unit, will share a European perspective.


12 May, 14:00 (launch) Europe’s digital transition in higher education and research

Video podcast. More details will be provided soon.


16 May 12.00-13.45 European Universities Summit: Alliances for the future

by Times Higher Education, Ministerio de Universidades and Educaciόn Superior (SEPIE) at Pompeu Fabra University Campus de la Ciutadella – physical only  & fee-based

Michael Murphy, EUA President, will share EUA’s view on the European University Alliances, and how he sees the future of the university sector in Europe.


16 May 10.50-11.40 La acción de las universidades en el apredizaje permanente / The contribution of universities to Lifelong Learning –

Venue: Barcelona University

Organised by the Spanish Ministries of Education and Work, and the Spanish rectors conference, and SPIE

Michael Gaebel, Director of Higher Education Policy Unit, will contribute to a discussion on recent developments and emerging opportunities for LLL.


16 May 14.00 – Greening of European universities contribution to sustainable societies – EUA event

Online only

Organised by EUA –  watch the webinar recording.

Thomas Estermann, Henriette Stoeber, Luisa Bunescu, all EUA, will discuss on how the missions and actions of European universities respond to SDGs and greening – based on an EUA survey conducted last year.


18 May 14.30 – 16.00 How can higher education institutions be transformed into lifelong learning institutions? Official WHEC programme

by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning

Venue: Fira, Barcelona, Room 3

Michael Gaebel, Director of Higher Education Policy Unit, EUA, contributes a European perspective to a discussion on trends and developments in lifelong learning at higher education institutions.


19 May 14.30 - 16.00 Innovations and proposals for inter-regional cooperation on Open Science from the perspective of universities. Official WHEC programme

by EU-LAC Foundation and OBREAL Global

Venue: Fira, Barcelona, Room 8

Watch the livestreaming.

EUA President Michael Murphy will represent EUA in this roundtable as part of a joint initiative from EU-LAC Foundation and OBREAL Global called “Open Science: Innovations, Challenges and Projections for the Future based on an Inter-regional Dialogue”. This initiative aims to facilitate a space that multiplies exchanges, favours training and promotes knowledge of the tools for the practice of Open Science (OS).


20 May 09.30-11.00 From Vision to Action: the regional approach to transformation of HEIs, Barcelona – Official WHEC programme

by the Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi)

The session will reflect on the GUNi Report WHEC “New Visions for Higher Education towards 2030”, with Amanda Crowfoot, Secretary General, EUA, as one of the discussants.


14 June What next for global higher education? – EUA webinar series: A new world? (2nd edition)


Venue: online only

The webinar analyses and discusses the outcomes of the World Higher Education Conference 2022 (WHEC) towards the backdrop of European and international higher education developments.

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