Rectors’ bodies of 10 nations sign ‘Vienna Declaration’

Organisations representing the heads of universities in 10 European countries have signed a declaration in Vienna, Austria, warning against tendencies to restrict academic freedom and threats to democracy, and defining the role of higher education in society.

Representatives of rectors’ conferences from Germany, Italy, Croatia, Poland, Switzerland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Serbia and the Czech Republic met with Universities Austria or UNIKO, Austria’s association of university heads, in mid-December to take stock of growing trends in society towards ‘pseudo-science’ and ‘pseudo-facts’. Representatives from Hungary had also been invited but refrained from attending.

In their ‘Vienna Declaration’, the participants of the meeting state that they are “firmly convinced that the basic values of higher education reflect the achievements of enlightenment”. Academic freedom and integrity in teaching and research as well as students and academic staff having a say in the running of institutions are seen as key elements in the functioning of universities.

The rectors also stress the significance of the Magna Charta Universitatum, signed in 1988 by 388 university heads from across Europe and marking the 900th birthday of Italy’s University of Bologna. Here, they refer to the holistic concept of education emphasised in the Charta. 

The Vienna Declaration emphasises higher education’s contribution to society in promoting intercultural understanding, equal access to education, active citizenship as well as ethical education and strengthening social responsibility.

However, the rectors also call on governments to support universities in performing these key roles by providing adequate resources and appropriate legal frameworks. And they appeal to them to prevent any attempts to undermine independent research and the development of the arts. 

“At the same time, we express our concern over such movements that are evolving both in and beyond Europe and are threatening the democratic character of our institutions and our society,” the declaration reads.

The rectors warn that post-factual explanations are gaining ground, both in the shaping of public opinion and in political debates, and that social media have enabled them to assume new dimensions. They call on governments to “maintain a strong commitment to Europe and to protecting human rights and basic freedoms”. 

“Given growing inequality, nationalism, populism, racism, anti-Semitism, intolerance, polarisation and radicalisation, as well as pseudo-science and pseudo-facts that are threatening democratic and academic culture, our concerns are more than justified,” said UNIKO President Eva Blimlinger in Vienna. 

The rectors’ conference representatives attending the meeting pledged to maintain close contact and plan joint activities to promote public discourse over developments.

Michael Gardner

Source

Read more education news including international events, conferences, forums, exhibitions, and other important venues on hedclub.com, international education advertising website. If you would like to inform various stakeholders on the upcoming event or project you are planning to implement, contact HED, your reliable media partner.

Table of Contents

Universities and research institutes of China, Ukraine, and Russia have signed cooperation agreements

III International Festival "Student Spring of the BRICS and SCO Countries"

The Russian-Chinese Institute of Transport Education opened at Irkutsk State Transport University

How can foreign graduates help Russian universities?

Askar Mamin presents new Minister of Education and Science of Kazakhstan

Modern campuses will be established in the Tomsk Region and the Perm Territory

Kyrgyzstan universities and colleges will independently develop their educational programs

At least 14 Russian language education centers will be established abroad

The Union State of Russia and Belarus: common education space

St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) 2019

Xi Jinping receives honorary doctorate from St. Petersburg State University

National University Ranking 2019 by Interfax

Internationalization of Kyrgyzstan universities: double degrees and digitization of higher education

Bashkir universities will cooperate with Dresden University of Technology

Putin instructed the government to increase the quota for international students

Russia and Uzbekistan have signed an agreement on the mutual recognition of education, qualifications and academic degrees

EduTraC Oman (Higher Education, Training and Career Development Exhibition)

Scholarship program for studying in Kazakhstan universities

540 young engineers will present their ideas on digitization of the fuel and energy sector

The delegation of the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China visited the Republic of Belarus

Germany needs international students

CHE Ranking 2019: the most comprehensive and detailed ranking of universities from German-speaking countries

Russia and Spain agreed on mutual diploma recognition

Type of university is unbiased

First Chinese-language testing center opened in Pyongyang, North Korea

Business School of RANEPA received prestigious world accreditation

Turkey abolishes limit on international students numbers at universities

Scientists at Nazarbayev University made a world discovery in physics

Government of Russia approved the rules for allocating grants for "Export of Education" activities

Scientists from NEFU and Sooam Foundation continue joint research on the cloning of an ancient foal

6,700 rural students will receive free medical education in China

The 73rd International Youth Scientific Conference "Oil and Gas-2019"

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: 10th Anniversary International Russian Higher Education Conference (RHEC)

Chinese Academy of Engineering to add new members

MSU to be site of first of 15 ‘Technological Valleys’

Ministerial summit will be held during WorldSkills Kazan 2019

Draft-bill on the functioning of the Kazakhstan branch of Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov reviewed

EduTraC Oman 2019

Magdalena Gaete: "University Reputation Is a Perceived Quality"

Registration CAIE 2019 second webinar

Всемирный доклад по мониторингу образования-2019 представили на прошедшем Московском международном салоне образования

Scottish Government extends free tuition for EU students

Round University Ranking 2019 has been released

Россия заняла второе место в рейтинге RUR по числу представленных вузов

Новый глобальный рейтинг университетов Times Higher Education (THE)

The Robert S. McNamara Fellowships Program 2019

The Japanese government will create national information center (NIC) to increase the chances of students to study abroad

Scientist from China can take the lead of a new research center in the Urals

Dmitry Medvedev: the number of universities participating in the Project 5-100 will be increased

School graduation exams abolished in Georgia