- The UfM Secretariat gathered representatives from Ministries for Higher Education and Research, regional networks of universities and of students, higher education institutions and research centers.
- Participants recommended a change of scale in the support mechanisms and to aim for an ambitious higher education initiative embracing the whole UfM region.
1 December, Cairo. The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) organized, in partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Egypt, a regional meeting on higher education regional cooperation on 1 December in Cairo. Building on inputs received through prior consultation, the purpose of the meeting was to initiate reflection on a renewed strategic agenda for higher education regional cooperation in the Mediterranean. It has gathered representatives from Ministries for Higher Education and Research, regional networks of universities and of students, higher education institutions and research centers.
“More than ten years after the Cairo Ministerial Declaration and while we already see how the Fourth Industrial Revolution makes a breakthrough in the way we teach and learn, it is time we sit together to start reflecting of a renewed strategic agenda for higher education regional cooperation in the Mediterranean”, said Itaf Ben Abdallah, Senior Adviser to the UfM Secretary General on Higher Education and Research, in the opening remarks.
“We are at the threshold of a new era. Higher education has experienced dramatic changes over the past years and there is no doubt that these should be seen from a regional perspective”, declared Prof. Mohamed Shinawi, Adviser to the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Egypt.
The discussion stressed the need to consolidate comprehensive data on higher education across the UfM region – including but not only on the internationalisation dimension of higher education, and to undertake a mapping exercise of resources and opportunities available at national and regional level. This information should be made easily accessible to policy makers and international relations offices.
As we are moving globally towards a new generation of universities, the meeting recommended a change of scale in the support mechanisms and to aim for an ambitious higher education initiative embracing the whole UfM region that would capitalize on existing networks and collaborations and ensure a transformative impact on the higher education systems and institutions as well as on the communities.
South-South cooperation emerged as a major issue of interest to participants for further coordinated actions. They notably recommended concrete improvements in the recognition of higher education qualifications at regional level as well as to study the creation of a regional mechanism for accreditation.
Participants also discussed the strategic importance for Southern Mediterranean universities to rapidly connect to the first university alliances selected by the European Commission under the recently launched European Universities Initiative.