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The Rectors of Deusto, Comillas and Ramon Llull attend the 3rd International Meeting of Universia Rectors in Rio de Janeiro

07/30/2014

Rectores Aristos Campus MundusLast 28 and 29 July, Universia, the largest network of Spanish- and Portuguese –speaking universities, held the 3rd International Meeting of Universia Rectors. During these two days, representatives from over 1,200 universities, including the three rectors from the Aristos Campus Mundus aggregation, discussed the future of the University, its responsiveness to the demands of modern society and the outreach of Latin American universities in the global context.  The list of participating universities and their countries of origin can be found  here.

The meeting was held under the motto “The University of the 21st century:  A reflection from Latin America”, and it was presented at a press conference by Emilio Botín, former chairman of Santander Bank and Universia, last November 2013, who then said, “A better education and more university students evidence the progress of countries. Rio will be the world summit of Higher Education in 2014”.

Universia, promoted by Santander Bank through its Santander Universities Global Division, is the largest university network worldwide comprising 1,290 universities from 23 countries, which represent about 17 million university students (academic staff, students, and administrative and services staff). The first meeting, which was attended by 500 rectors, was held in Seville in 2005; five years later, the second rectors’ meeting was held in Guadalajara, Mexico, which was attended by 900 rectors and representatives from Latin American universities. The conclusions from this meeting were included in the “Agenda de Guadalajara”.

This 3rd International Meeting of Universia Rectors ended with a meeting held in Rio.  This was a participatory process for over 20 months, where a number of online tasks and activities were organised and involved the participation of more than 100,000 university students who then contributed their ideas at the meeting.

During these two days, the rectors from Latin American universities and other continents and regions helped to place the aims and outreach of Latin American universities in the global context through ten roundtable discussions on different topics:  “The university today. How do they see us? How do we see ourselves?”; “The university and students. Do our universities meet students’ needs?”; “The university and the teaching staff. What does academic staff need?  What kind of academic staff do we need? ; Organisation, governance and finance. What should we change?” “The university and ICTs. To what extent do we have to reinvent ourselves?” “Teaching quality and renewal.” Do they meet our social needs?” “Research, innovation and transfer.   Is it possible to step forward?” University, society and environment. Are we committed to today’s challenges? “University and the social context. How can we contribute to the development of our communities?” and “Internationalisation: What goals? At which pace? What strategies?”

The participants in the roundtable discussions can be found  here.

Taking into consideration the role played by technology to facilitate learning and teaching, as a novelty compared to previous meetings, a digital application was developed that has helped to create a large international academic network for communication and collaboration.  All the topics and sessions at the meeting were developed via the Internet and social networking. In addition, the rectors attending this meeting could have access to the different debates with their tablets to facilitate activities and contact between participants. 

This meeting is backed by Santander Bank through its Universities Santander Global Divisions, which has supported Universia in all its activities since it was created in 2000. Further information can be found at:  www.universiario2014.com

 

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