Work programme of the Bologna Follow-Up Group 2007-2009
IAU 13th General Conference on Higher Education and Research Addressing Local and Global Needs
Inernational Association of Universities (IAU) 13th General Conference on Focusing on Higher Education and Research Addressing Local and Global Needs was hosted by Utrecht University, The Netherlands, in July 2008.
Higher Education and Research Addressing Local and Global Needs, the theme of the International Association of Universities (IAU) 13th General Conference, echoed the very reasons that led to the creation of the Association 60 years ago, namely the responsibilities of higher education and research institutions to serve the world around them. In 1948, it was the imperative of creating collaborative links and bridges of understanding in order to restore and guarantee peace among peoples and nations ravaged by WWII that motivated higher education leaders to come together. In 2008 higher education institutions and their leadership face different but equally challenging demands both locally and globally.
Today, as 60 years ago, many of these challenges are of an international nature, requiring international collaboration, learning from each other and undertaking collective action. Furthermore, given the technology- and knowledge- intensiveness of current developments, higher education and research institutions are central actors, both as drivers of innovation and progress but also as institutions that can question proposed answers and find solutions to the unexpected or even undesirable effects of change.
- Are higher education institutions addressing the most pressing challenges facing humanity?
- To what extent does higher education contribute to the promotion of social justice, peace and equity?
- How well are higher education institutions balancing their response to the pressures to secure economic competitiveness and to reduce socio-economic gaps and increase social cohesion?
- Are HEIs exercising fully, the responsibilities that come with the central role they play in scientific discovery and its applications?
- Are HEI leaders sufficiently engaged as moral or civic leaders, building public trust, understanding and support for higher education and research?
These questions and related topics served as leitmotif for the Thematic Programme of the 13th General Conference and guide the conversation during the Opening Dialogue, the discussions and debates in Plenary Sessions and during the parallel Workshops.