On 17 May, representatives of the European University Association and fellow university associations in Africa, the Americas, the Arab region and Asia came together in Barcelona to formally constitute the Global University Associations Forum (GUAF).
This initiative was first conceived in 2020 as a platform for more systemic exchange between member associations. As such, the Forum will explore ways for the higher education and research sectors to address global challenges by mobilising the collective capacity of universities.
In this first physical meeting chaired by EUA at Ramon Llull University, Forum members shared their experiences of and visions for enabling international collaboration and exchange. Pathways and mechanisms for fostering collaborative practices were considered in the context of student and researcher mobility, universities’ contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, associations’ respective continental and regional development aspirations as well as the influence of geopolitical factors.
The Forum, through initial discussion, identified a number of common priorities and committed to sharing resources and engaging in further dialogue to determine how these can be pursued through joint action. In January, EUA will hand over the chair of the Forum to ASEAN University Network, which will host the next physical meeting in Bangkok in autumn 2023. In the meantime, cooperation will continue online to enhance links between university associations and complement the ongoing exchange and collaboration initiatives developed by universities and their national, regional and international networks.
To learn more about the Forum and its next steps, please see the full launch statement.