EUA members welcome Professor Jean-Marc Rapp as new President
19 March 2009
EUA is delighted to announce that Professor Jean-Marc Rapp has today (19th March) officially taken over as President of the Association at the opening of the 5th EUA Convention of Higher Education Institutions taking place in Prague (19-21 March).
Professor Rapp, a lawyer and former rector of the University of Lausanne – who takes over from Professor Georg Winckler – is the organisation’s 3rd President. He was today welcomed warmly by the 500 university leaders taking part in the Convention.
Professor Rapp – who was voted President-elect by EUA members in October 2008 - praised the presidency of Professor Winckler and said he was optimistic about the future of European universities and European higher education: “There are certainly some difficulties, particularly in the present climate, that we have to face but we have a strong association with a clear agenda, and that is widely recognised as being the voice of European universities. So if we can maintain our strategic vision I am indeed very optimistic about the future.”
The outgoing President Professor Winckler underlined how much universities across Europe had changed since the beginning of the decade (EUA was formed in 2001). He said universities all over Europe were now ready to open up and modernise, to discuss issues such as governance, autonomy and international collaboration. This modernisation now has considerable momentum and this was certainly not the case at the beginning of the decade, he added.
He said one of the major achievements of EUA over the past 4 years had been strengthening the role of universities in the European Research Area. Underlining that it was crucial for universities to be completely involved in all policy discussions on research at European level, he said he was pleased that universities now had an equal role to play in the policy debates on the development of both the European Higher Education Area and the European Research Area. “I would rate this as the most important goal that EUA has achieved in the last four years,” he added.