Eua-aau dialogue as a contribution to the development of intercontinental higher education
The realia of modern world underline the significance of higher education partnership and exchange for the welfare and economic health of any country depend on the development of its universities. The universities all over the world play a vital role in linking education and research and contribute significantly to the science and innovation agendas. Therefore, they should be better informed about higher education partnership.
European University Association (EUA) plays an essential role in shaping tomorrow’s European higher education and research landscape thanks to its knowledge of the sector and the diversity of its members. It puts great emphasis on interregional dialogue as a means to explain the European reform developments to international partners, to be side by side with the developments in other parts of the world and to enhance cooperation and exchange of universities. One of EUA’s partners in this context is AAU (Association of African Universities). The Association of African Universities is committed to strengthening Africa-Europe continental university collaboration and ensuring the success of Africa-EU strategic partnership. The Association of African Universities, representing over 200 university members throughout Africa, and the European University
Association representing over 800 universities and university organisations in 47 European countries, have embarked upon structured dialogue pressing issues regarding higher education and development in both regions .
There exist a lot of facts that prove the above-mentioned. For example, within the frame of the project «Access to Success - fostering trust and exchange between Europe and Africa» (2008-2010) EUA and AAU with other partners organized a number of activities devoted to the establishment of long-term African and European partnerships which should lead to mutual benefits. One of them is the meeting of African and European university leaders on the 17th of November 2009 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The meeting was attended by 24 rectors and vice-rectors from 18 countries. The dialogue meeting was opened by two presentations on higher education in Africa and Europe respectively. The presentation on Africa was developed by Prof. Oyewole Olusola, AAU. His presentation outlined a number of challenges that universities all over the continent encounter. Prof. Helene Nazare, Vice-President of EUA, highlited the pressures that universities in Europe are exposed to. She also stressed that the dialogue with AAU is an important opportunity which offers the chance to address the differences and demonstrate both the diversity within the regions of Africa and Europe and the similarity. Both presentations were followed by four other done by the rector of Tallin University (Estonia), the President of Jimma University (Ethiopia), rector of University of the Western Cape (South Africa) and the rector of Lleida University (Spain). Their presentations were made in the context of the following aspects: funding and partnership, universities contribution to development, Quality, contribution to social development, changing role of universities, research, institutional strategies, staff development, Europe-Africa higher education and research dialogue and cooperation. At the end of the meetridng EUA and AAU discussed the potentials of further cooperation . Before the 3rd Africa- EU Summit (29th of November, 2010) EUA and AAU in detailed statement to heads of state and to members of the European Commission and Parliament underlined their concerns that role of universities in Africa and university cooperation between Europe and Africa have not been adequately promoted in the political dialogue between both continents. Furthermore the EUA and AAU call for the creation of a sustainable information exchange and dialogue platform. So, it is clearly seen that both organizations do their best to enhance exchange, mutual learning and higher education cooperation among both continents . The project «Europe-Africa Quality Connect» (2010-2012) which followed the Erasmus Mundus project «Access to Success - fostering trust and exchange between Europe and Africa» also continued the partnership between the EUA and AAU. Access to Success explored good practice in access and retention, a pressing issue for universities in both continents, in capacity building partnership models, and in inter- and intraregional mobility, while this project focused on addressing the need to further bi- regional discussions on institutional development and quality assurance .
It is evident that European University Association with its partners, in particular Association of African Universities, supports cooperation in higher education. The relations with international educational organizations ensure its capacity to debate issues which are crucial for universities in relation to higher education, research and innovation.
1. Access to Success: Fostering trust and exchange between Europe and Africa [Electronic resource]. - URL : http// eacea.ec.europa.eu.erasmusmundus. 2. Europe-Africa Quality Connect: Building Institutional Capacity through Partnership: project results and future prospects [Electronic resource].