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Launch of Charm-EU, a European University focused on interdisciplinary, challenge-based education

From left to right: Henk Kummeling, Rector of Utrecht University; Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College Dublin; Joan Elias, Rector of the University of Barcelona; László Borhy, Rector of Eötvös Lórand Univesity in Budapest, and Patrick Caron, Vice-Rector for International Affairs at the University of Montpellier.

From left to right: Henk Kummeling, Rector of Utrecht University; Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College Dublin; Joan Elias, Rector of the University of Barcelona; László Borhy, Rector of Eötvös Lórand Univesity in Budapest, and Patrick Caron, Vice-Rector for International Affairs at the University of Montpellier.

Moment of the agreement signature.

Moment of the agreement signature.

Joan Elias.

Joan Elias.

15/01/2019

Institucional

Today, the University of Barcelona, Trinity College Dublin, Utrecht University, the University of Montpellier and Eötvös Loránd University have signed the launch of the alliance Charm European University (Charm-EU) foundational agreement, the project for a new European university based on the multi-disciplinarily and achievement of challenges of the students. One of the main focuses of this network will be the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

During the press release for its presentation, held at the University of Barcelona, the rector of the institution, Joan Elias, noted that one of the objectives of this network will be the construction of a unique and innovative academic offering revolving the SDGs, principles the members of the United Nations took on in 2015 in order to end with poverty, to protect the planet and guarantee prosperity. “The seventeen objectives that build up the 2030 Agenda will be a direct inspiration for the European University we want to create”, noted the rector Joan Elias.

 

“Unlike the UN Millennium Development Goals, valid during the period 2000-2015 –the rector noted-, the SDGs seek the involvement of local governments and civil society entities, while they also bring a global and interdependent perspective of the challenges humanity faces. Here is where the European University we propose would play a key role regarding training”, said Elias.

The rector of the UB highlighted three main aspects of Charm-EU. First, the broad language plurality these five participating universities bring. The future students of this alliance will be trained in an academic offering based on three romance languages –Catalan, Spanish and French- two Germanic languages –English and Dutch, apart from Hungarian and Gaelic. Moreover, this university will be based on international projects led by the five universities; it will be an open and inclusive university for people from all over the world. Last, Elias noted another objective of this network will be to “create a truly European learning experience”, meaning that it will take the best of the tradition of each country’s culture and will aim to integrate popular and academic culture. Therefore, students will be exposed to a unique cultural experience that will be expanded over their training period and will provide them with tools to become critical citizens in accordance to the European values.

 

A future agreement

All rectors were satisfied with Charm-Eu. Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College Dublin, says: “Trinity College Dublin is delighted to be part of this new network of European universities, cooperating together without frontiers. Through this network, we will contribute, through education, to make European students become global citizens”.

Then, the Rector of Utrecht University, Henk Kummeling, put emphasis on the joining of forces this alliance means to “provide students and lecturers with the necessary resources so they can take part in solving the challenges societies are now facing. We expect to innovate on education and learning, making them more flexible, accessible and inclusive. This is what society needs”.

The Rector of Eötvös Lórand Univesity in Budapest, Lászlo Borhy, commented on the similarities between the objectives of the alliance and values of his university which intends to strengthen European identity and to transform the cultural heritage to achieve progress. “The new European university -he said- will offer an example regarding the standardization of academic and mobility programs for students. It will be -he added- a more flexible and sustainable system with the aim to respond the wide range of social needs”.

Patrick Caron, Vice-Rector for International Affairs at the University of Montpellier, noted that the University of Montpellier created the first Faculty of Medicine which is still active in Europe: “And it was created thanks to the mobility and migration of the Mediterranean area. We never forgot about that”, he said. According to Caron, being part of this alliance will enable the University of Montpellier “to contribute to strengthen European Values”, and facing challenges the University has committed to recently with the merge of the universities Montpellier 1 and Montpellier 2 in one, as well as “making the 2030 Agenda a reality”.

 

European Universities initiative

In December 2017, the European Council created the initiative of creating a network of European universities aiming to improve the international competitiveness of higher education institutions and to strengthen the feeling of European membership, an idea that was previously mentioned by the President of France Emmanuel Macron. “The idea was to gather a new generation of European people to cooperate and work on different European and international cultures, in different languages, without worrying about frontiers, different sectors and the different academic disciplines”, stated the Rector of the University of Barcelona.

This initiative was launched and the first grant aid of the European Commission, within the Erasmus+ program but aimed at the creation of European universities, has a funding of thirty million euros and will be published in July 2019.

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