Barcelona, 3 September 2014. The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) hosted a meeting today gathering the Rectors and Vice Rectors for International Affairs of the universities of Barcelona. The objective was to explore opportunities for collaboration in order to strengthen links and increase the involvement of universities in UfM initiatives in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
Recalling the Secretariat’s role as an operational platform promoting regional cooperation projects and fostering dialogue and synergies with universities, civil society and governments, Fathallah Sijilmassi stressed the importance of boosting knowledge transfer and student mobility for a greater integration in the region. For his part, Andreu Mas-Colell highlighted the « strategic role of universities in establishing a closer connection with European and Mediterranean countries » and reiterated the support of the Government of Catalonia to the UfM Secretariat: « We are eager to collaborate closely with UfM projects and initiatives in the field of higher education and research”.
The Secretariat presented some of its flagship projects in higher education and research, namely the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean University of Fes and the development of Higher Education programmes on Food Security and Rural Development. The Secretariat also invited participants to present new proposals related to the current needs in the Mediterranean region (quality assurance, mobility, employment, knowledge transfer etc.) whereby the support of the UfM could bring added value.
An open discussion followed allowing participants to highlight their activities in the Euro-Mediterranean region (double degrees, exchange programmes, cooperation in research, etc.) which are of particular interest to the Union for the Mediterranean. The UfM Secretariat also introduced future initiatives that could be jointly carried out with universities throughout the academic year: UfM open days, talks, internship agreements, etc.
The meeting was held in line with the Secretariat’s strategy to reinforce ties and further operational collaboration with Euro-Mediterranean universities.