On November 27th in Brussels the Rectors of the Universities of Granada (Spain), Graz (Austria), Leipzig (Germany), Padova (Italy) and Vilnius (Lithuania), and the President of the University of Lyon (France) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the ARQUS European University Alliance. It is an initiative designed to sharing best practices of the six institutions in their teaching, research, outreach and civic engagement missions.
The six partner institutions bring together approximately 290,000 students, 22,000 academics, and 15,000 technical, administrative and support staff. Each of the universities is a leading participant in European projects and internationalization processes and has a strong role in their respective region’s development.
The universities have agreed to work together towards a truly European approach to higher education, involving seamless mobility for students, academics, researchers and other university staff, joint projects at all levels of university activity, and shared initiatives for global engagement. The universities believe that together they have the potential to progress further, faster and more firmly, and that European cooperation is essential to their future.
The ARQUS consortium, coordinated by the University of Granada, will participate in the pilot call for funding of “European Universities” launched in October by the European Commission in the framework of the Erasmus+ Programme.
The six universities share a long experience in joint projects in many fields, and a common profile as leading international research universities with deep regional engagement, in medium-sized, mostly non-capital, cities. “We share a strong commitment to the core European values and democratic culture that underlies the social dimension of higher education and the promotion of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,” said Dorothy Kelly, coordinator of the project.
“In a world that is constantly changing, such partnerships and sharing of both knowledge as well as experience are the key drivers in striving for being leaders who have a mission to shape the environment for the better. I sincerely believe the fact that our cooperation will benefit in developing our excellency in the fields of both science and studies. Moreover, this is a great opportunity to create a joint effort in fostering the multicultural environment between our students and academics”, Vilnius University rector prof. Artūras Žukauskas said at the signing ceremony.
The ARQUS Alliance will build its activities on the concept of universities being a space for personal and professional development, promoting widening access and inclusive policies for new diverse student, academic and professional communities. In line with the recent European Commission call for projects, ARQUS will promote innovative teaching and learning: respond to the grand global societal challenges of the UN’s sustainable development goals through research, education and outreach; strive to promote multilingualism in the university community and beyond; further foster the already strong regional engagement of the partner institutions, situating people clearly at the center of their plans.