The Magna Charta Universitatum

Other relevant event Bologna, Italy 18/09/1988
Logo Magna Charta Universitatum Observatory

The Magna Charta Universitatum is a document that was signed by 388 rectors and heads of universities from all over Europe and beyond on 18 September 1988, the 900th anniversary of the University of Bologna.

It contains principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy as a guideline for good governance and self-understanding of universities in the future.

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The Magna Charta of the European Universities is the final result of the proposal addressed from the University of Bologna, in 1986, to the oldest European Universities. The idea of the Magna Charta was enthusiastically accepted.

During a meeting in Bologna (June 1987) the delegates of 80 European Universities elected an eight members board including: the President of the European Rectors Conference, the Rectors of the Universities of Bologna, Paris I, Leuven, Barcelona, prof. Giuseppe Caputo (University of Bologna), prof. Manuel Nunez Encabo (President of the sub-commission for Universities of the Parlamentary Assembly of the European Council).

The document, drafted ín Barcelona in January 1988, has been signed by all the Rectors who were in Bologna to celebrate the 900th Anniversary of the Alma Mater (ie University of Bologna).

The aims of this document is to celebrate the deepest values of University traditions and to encourage strong bonds among European Universities. Having, anyway, this document an universal inspiration any extraeuropean University has the possibility to join it.

Fabio Roversi Monaco - Rector, University of Bologna, 1988

Source: Website of the University of Bologna

The Magna Charta Observatory

By the year 2000, the number of signatories had grown, as had the demand for monitoring, enhancing and advising on the status of academic freedom and institutional autonomy. Consequently, the European University Association and the University of Bologna jointly created an Observatory.

Every September, at the anniversary of the signing, the Magna Charta Observatory organizes a congress on related issues – such as Media and Academic Freedom, or Malpractice and Corruption, etc. – and invites new signatories to the Magna Charta.

The influence of the Magna Charta on the Bologna Process

The Magna Charta can be considerated as the first step of the Bologna Process, ten years before the Sorbonne Declaration and the Bologna Declaration.

Before the political vision, it shows the belonging of the european universities to an international community sharing the same academic values and purposes.

Events included in the BFUG work plan

20th years after the 900th anniversary of the University of Bologna, the Magna Charta Observatory organised the annual conference to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Magna Charta Universitatum, looking both at the past and the future.

The 16th September 2010, the Magna Charta Observatory organised a conference to commemorate the 22nd anniversary and to discuss on Making the Magna Charta Values Operational.

Published: 18/09/1988 - Last modified: 26/08/2016
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