VUB opens up international exchange to more students in 10 countries
University alliance aims to tackle polarisation and intolerance
Friday 29 September 2023 - The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) opened its academic year today in a symbolic location: the European Parliament in Brussels. The opening took place alongside the nine like-minded European universities that with VUB form the EUTOPIA alliance. This collaboration model creates connected communities, or thematic networks, that allow students, lecturers and researchers to expand understanding of contemporary social challenges. Within EUTOPIA, VUB is taking the lead in developing this academic model, which can be an important weapon in the continuing battle against polarisation.
"Europa, EUTOPIA and the need for a new Renaissance"
Climate change, geopolitical tensions, digitalisation: we live in a world in transition. To deal with these societal challenges, Europe needs a new Renaissance. We need an era in which people are guided by curiosity, openness and connection, with diversity the engine to transcend individual and societal boundaries.
Networks like EUTOPIA – in which university communities on campuses across Europe build knowledge and insights together to find solutions to these contemporary societal challenges – contribute to that.
But how, exactly? Find out in the opening speech of VUB rector Jan Danckaert.
During the academic opening, the rectors of the 10 EUTOPIA partner universities signed an agreement that gives the collaboration model a legal basis. With this agreement, they are reaffirming their ambition to build the European university of the future.
A word of explanation about the alliance....
- Participating universities: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), Babes-Bolyai University (Romania), Ca’ Foscari Venice (Italy), CY Cergy Paris Université (France), Technische Universität Dresden (Germany), University of Gothenburg (Sweden), University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), NOVA University Lisbon (Portugal), Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona (Spain) and the University of Warwick (UK).
- How do they work together? By creating connected communities around teaching and research, they encourage their students, lecturers and researchers to work together on specific projects. In doing do, they also encourage free enquiry and critical thinking.
- Why? The added value of the collaboration model is that it puts an international experience within reach for many more members of the participating universities’ communities. By enabling students, teachers and researchers to build knowledge together on concrete projects, they experience the local nuances of each other’s viewpoints and are encouraged to work together in a respectful way. In addition, they come into contact with other languages – and multilingualism is an important asset in the 21st century.
Want to know more about EUTOPIA?
Video 1: What is EUTOPIA?
Video 2: Students on EUTOPIA
Video 3: EUTOPIA in action