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EUA Prague Convention: Leading economists to discuss impact of economic crisis on universities

12 February 2009

It is set to be a crucial few months for the future of European higher education. Not only are universities and higher education institutions across the continent faced with the uncertainty of the impact of the economic crisis and the impact it could have on their long-term funding and sustainability, but the very future of higher education cooperation in Europe will be debated at a meeting of education ministers and stakeholder organisations who will gather in Belgium in April (for the Bologna process ministerial meeting).

These two issues – the financial crisis and the future of the Bologna process - will be at the top of the agenda for the 500 university leaders and leading policy makers gathering at Charles University in Prague for the fifth EUA Convention of Higher Education Institutions from March 19 to 21.

The conference will open with a presentation by the EU Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Ján Figel’. This will be followed by keynote presentations from two eminent international economists: Professors André Sapir and Jo Ritzen, who have been asked to discuss how the recent downturn and ensuing governmental reaction in terms of stimuli packages may affect the higher education and research sector both in the short and the long term.

Professor Sapir is a Senior Fellow at Bruegel (a leading Brussels-based think tank) and author of the recent report 'Higher Aspirations: An agenda for reforming European Universities'. Professor Ritzen (President of Maastricht University) is a former vice-president of the World Bank's Development Economics Department and was Minister of Education, Culture, and Science in The Netherlands.

Geoffrey Boulton of the University of Edinburgh will then give a keynote presentation on the future challenges facing European higher education. This will be followed by a series of break-out sessions focussing on some of the key challenges facing Europe’s universities.

University leaders at the Convention will be asked to contribute to identifying ‘10 theses’ for the future of European higher education and research looking forward to 2020. These will then be presented to Education Ministers taking part in the Bologna process Ministerial meeting that will be held on 28-29 April in Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

The Convention is certainly the most important event in EUA’s 2009 calendar. To ensure that all participants have the opportunity to join in the discussions and make a real impact on EUA’s policy and future work programme, please register today to avoid disappointment.

Please visit the conference website for further information on the conference programme.

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96