4EU+ Annual Meeting 2021

4EU+ Annual Meeting – Looking Back

3–5 November 2021

“Six research-intensive European comprehensive universities – one vision”: this was the motto of the annual meeting of the 4EU+ European University Alliance held at Heidelberg University on 4 and 5 November 2021. With the goal of mapping out further development for the transnational university alliance, approx.180 representatives came from the member universities of Prague, Heidelberg, Sorbonne (Paris), Warsaw, Copenhagen and Milan. The joint vision of the six universities is to bring about a research-led comprehensive university at six locations in Europe, which will connect students, teachers and researchers as a European comprehensive research university.

“The member universities have been preparing and shaping the history and future of Europe for almost a thousand years,” said Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University and host of the conference. 4EU+ was now continuing this mission as a transnational undertaking, he added, as the “European answer to global challenges” and as a model for an “integrated European research and education area”. “4EU+ has the potential to be one of the scientific hubs in Europe,” underlined Isabelle Kratz, Secretary General of the alliance. She pointed out, however, that even after three years of successful work there was still a lot to be done. For the alliance to be led successfully into a European future, the goal had now to be to firmly root the common vision of 4EU+ as a comprehensive research university at the European level in the daily life of the member universities, she said. To this end, at their meeting in Heidelberg the universities came up with specific plans to step up their exchanges and transnational cooperation in research and research-based teaching at all levels and in all areas. For example, they are seeking to elaborate instruments and measures to establish the alliance, spark new initiatives and involve more sectors of the member universities in the activities of the alliance.

Impressions from the General Assembly

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    4EU+ Annual Meeting 2021
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    4EU+ Annual Meeting 2021
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    4EU+ Annual Meeting 2021
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    4EU+ Annual Meeting 2021
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    4EU+ Annual Meeting 2021
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    4EU+ Annual Meeting 2021
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    4EU+ Annual Meeting - Prof. Dr. Tomáš Zima
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    4EU+ Annual Meeting - Auszeichnung Prof. Dr. Jean Chambaz
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    Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel, Universitätsmedaille der Karls-Universität Prag

The importance attributed to the “highly political undertaking” of the European University was shown in the presence of high-ranking representatives from the world of politics, remarked Prof. Eitel at the opening of the general assembly, which took place on the afternoon of 4 November in the Great Hall of the New University in the Heidelberg Old City. They included the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the Federal Republic of Germany, the Consul General of the French Republic and the Consul General of the Italian Republic. Also present were representatives of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts, and of the state parliament, and the Lord Mayor of the City of Heidelberg.

Themis Christophidou, Director-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission, and Theresia Bauer, Minister of Science, Research and the Arts of the state of Baden-Württemberg, addressed the members of the 4EU+ alliance with a video message. In his keynote address, Prof. Dr Joybrato Mukherjee, President of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), called the annual meeting of the alliance a symbol of success for the international cooperation and for the European integration that the 4EU+ universities had already achieved.

A number of academic awards were made in the context of the General Assembly. Prof. Dr Jean Chambaz took centre stage in this respect, having been President of Sorbonne University until August this year. In recognition of his longstanding services to cooperation between Heidelberg University and Sorbonne University, as well as for his outstanding endeavours in the founding phase of the alliance, Prof. Eitel awarded him the Large University Medal of Ruperto Carola. Prof. Eitel likewise thanked Prof. Dr Tomáš Zima, retiring Rector of the Charles University in Prague, for his commitment to the 4EU+ university alliance, which he had chaired. The Rector presented Prof. Zima with a facsimile of the Heidelberg “Book of Destiny” from the late 15th century and extended his best wishes for the future to his immediate predecessor in office as chair of the alliance for a year.

Prof. Eitel was honoured in his own turn for his special services to enhancing relations between the universities in Prague and Heidelberg. During the meeting, Prof. Zima awarded him the university gold medal of the Charles University in Prague. This award honours notable figures who have made a particularly outstanding contribution to developing the university or to science, learning and academic freedom.

Video of the General Assembly