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Alfa Puentes
Conference Organisers
Asociación de Universidades Grupo Montevideo
European University Association
Observatory on EU-Latin American Relations


Over the past decades, higher education has become an important driver for social and economic innovation and development, and an important priority for national development agendas. Higher education sectors have thus expanded and diversified considerably, taking on new missions. In this context, higher education has also become much more globally oriented and international. Beyond international research collaboration and teaching exchanges, universities today engage in partnerships that range from local community projects to global enterprise collaboration.

The conference presents and compares some of these development trends in Latin America and Europe. Focus will be placed on the processes and initiatives that enhance international collaboration and regional integration which have gained speed in both regions, and the roles that university leadership and university associations play.

The role of university associations in stimulating regional collaboration is the cornerstone of the Alfa-Puentes project, a three year project coordinated by the European University Association and 23 regional and national university associations in Latin America and Europe, for which this major bi-regional event is being organized.

Organised by two of the project partners, the European University Association and the Association of Universities ‘Grupo Montevideo (AUGM), and hosted by four globally engaged universities of São Paulo, this conference will provide an excellent opportunity for Latin American and European university associations and leadership to exchange on higher education policy and practice and contribute to defining future priorities for collaboration between the two regions. Beyond, it will also offer considerable opportunities for meeting and networking.

Pre-conference programme

Sunday, 11 November

IMPORTANT: Please note the changes in the pre-programme (Sunday, 11 November).

Note: Participation in the pre-conference requires prior registration. Participation in the University Association Dialogue is reserved to representatives of university and rectors’ associations and on invitation only. All conference participants are welcome in the information session on Science without Borders

Venue: Memorial de América Latina

14:00- 15:45 Pre- meeting: University Association Dialogue

A networking meeting for presidents and secretaries general of national rectors’ conferences and university associations. The event will entail a round table discussion on Latin American and European higher education cooperation priorities.

(Participation upon invitation and pre-registration only - English-Spanish interpretation provided)

15:45- 16:15 Coffee

16:15- 17:45 Information session on Science without Borders

Science without Borders is an initiative of the Brazilian federal government to “strengthen and expand the initiatives of science and technology, innovation and competitiveness through international mobility of undergraduate and graduate students and researchers”. It is jointly driven by the Ministry of Education (MEC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT) through their respective funding agencies - CAPES and CNPq. Until 2014, it is to provide grants for 100000 Brazilian students and researchers to attend studies “in top universities worldwide”.

Presentation: Glaucius Oliva, National Council of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq), Brazil

European Respondents:
Tania Lima, Programme Director Science without Borders, Universities UK, United Kingdom
Jean-Paul Jourdan, Président, Université Bordeaux 3, France
Giovanna Filippini, Head of International Relations, University of Bologna, Italy
Sigi Gruber, Head of Unit for North America, Latin America and Caribbean, Directorate General for Research, European Commission

Chair: Christian Mueller, Country Director Brazil, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

18:00- 18:45 Guided visit of the Memorial de América Latina

19:00- 19:30 Official conference opening

Venue: Library of the Memorial de América Latina
Interpretation provided (Portuguese-English, Portuguese-Spanish, English-Spanish)

Chair: Targino de Araújo Filho, President, Association of Universities ‘Montevideo Group’ (AUGM)

Helena Nazaré, President, European University Association (EUA)
Ana Paula Zacarías, Ambassador, European Union Delegation to Brazil

19:30- 20:00 Inaugural address: Trends in Brazilian Higher Education; research investment and internationalization

Aloisio Mercadante, Brazilian Minister of Education and Culture (tbc)*

20:00 Opening cocktail


Venue: tbc
Interpretation provided in all plenaries (Portuguese-English, Spanish-English, English-Spanish)

9:00-9:45 Official Welcome:

Julio Cezar Durigan, Rector of São Paulo State University (UNESP)
Targino de Araújo Filho, President, Association of Universities ‘Montevideo Group’ (AUGM)
Bernardo Rivera, Executive Secretary, Andean Rectors’ Council (CONSUAN)
Hector Requena, President, Central America University Council (CSUCA)
Dídac Ramírez i Sarrió, President, Observatory of EU-Latin-American relations (OBREAL)
Helena Nazaré, President of European University Association (EUA)

9:45-11:00 Plenary 1: Opening keynotes: The role of universities in society - Local responsiveness and global engagement

The two keynotes will examine how the role of universities has changed over the past decade in the framework of national and regional development strategies: In addition to their traditional role in teaching, research and knowledge development, universities have become agents for knowledge transfer and circulation, and motors for technical, economic and social innovation. This has evoked the so-called third mission, and inspired institutions to engage increasingly in lifelong learning and build partnerships with a variety of actors ranging from local NGOs to multinational enterprises. The session will show how universities collaborate at local, national, regional and international level and how this impacts their missions of learning and research. Regional (Latin America and Europe) trends will be discussed

Chair: Ivan Ramos, President, Association of Colombian Universities (ASCUN)

Helena Nazaré, President of EUA
Rodrigo Arocena, Rector of the Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay

11:00-11:30 Coffee

11:30-13:00 Plenary 2: Transformations in Latin American Universities

The session will present some of the preliminary findings of the survey ‘Transformaciones en la Educacion Superior en America Latina’ (TRESAL) that has been conducted in 2011/12 under the Alfa Puentes Project.

Chair: Ramón Torrent, Executive Secretary, Observatory of EU-Latin-American relations (OBREAL)

Presentation of preliminary results:
Salvador Malo, Director General, Quality Assurance in Education and Work (ACET), Mexico

Sub-regional responses:
Bernardo Rivera, Executive Secretary, Andean Rectors' Council (CONSUAN)
Alvaro Maglia, Secretary General, Association of Universities ‘Montevideo Group’ (AUGM)
Alfonso Fuentes Soria, Secretary General, Central American University Council (CSUCA)

Followed by discussion

13:00-14:30 Lunch and optional bi-lateral networking meetings

14:30-16:00 Plenary 3: Modernising and transforming higher education: a policy perspective

Enhancing higher education has become an important element of national and regional development strategies. Across many regions and countries, governments are prioritizing international collaboration and competition, and setting distinct internationalisation goals and benchmarks.
The session will present various national agendas for higher education modernisation, development and internationalisation. A particular focus will be on the implementation of such goals and how policy agendas are supported and shaped by the academic community and its representatives.

Chair: José Carlos Gómez Sal, Rector, University of Cantabria, Spain

Amaro Henrique Pessoa Lins, Secretary of Higher Education, Brazil
Martin Gil, Secretary of University Policy, Ministry of Education, Argentina
Peter Greisler, Head of Directorate Higher Education, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany
Jean-Pierre Finance, Permanent Delegate in Brussels, Conférence des Présidents des Universités (CPU), France

16:00-16:30 Coffee

16:30-18:00 Break-outs: Building institutional capacities and enhancing international connectivity

Group 1: The ‘internationalisation’ of quality assurance
(English-Spanish interpretation provided)
Chair: Jaime Zarate, Presidente, Consejo de Evaluación, Acreditación y Certificación de la Calidad de la Educación Superior Universitaria (CONEAU), Perú

Eric Froment, Chair of the European Quality Assurance Registrar (EQAR)
Sérgio Kieling Franco, ex-President, Comissão Nacional de Avaliação da Educação Superior (CONAES), Brazil

Group 2: Building knowledge economies: Frameworks for skills and qualifications
(English-Spanish interpretation provided)
Chair: Misael Camus Ibacach, Rector, Universidad Católica del Norte, Chile

Anne Scott, Deputy President and Registrar, Dublin City University, Ireland
Henning Jensen, Rector, Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica

Group 3: Degree mobility and recognition: Institutional and regional priorities and policies
(session in English - no interpretation)
Chair: Dario Maiorana, Rector, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina

Carla Locatelli, Vice Rector for International Relations, University of Trento, Italy
María José Lemaitre, Directora Ejecutiva, Centro Universitario de Desarrollo (CINDA), Chile

Group 4: Building research capacity through doctoral education
(session in English- no interpretation)
Chair: Vahan Agopyan, Provost for Postgraduate Studies, University of São Paulo, Brazil

Liviu Matei, Senior Vice-President, Central European University, Hungary
Fernando Chaparro, Advisor, COLCiencias, Colombia

20:00 Official dinner


9:00-10:30 Plenary 4: Latin American and European responses to globalisation and higher education internationalisation

Higher education systems and institutions have become more international, partly as a reflex to the pressures of globalisation that impact many facets of life and work, and partly as an outcome of targeted strategies and goals for internationalisation. As frequently remarked, this has had a structural impact within higher education institutions and organisations, as internationalisation is no longer confined to international departments and offices, but involves and impacts the full range of institutional and national activities. The panel will discuss institutional and national responses to the breadth of possibilities and pressures that come to play around this topic. It will consider how national and institutional agendas actually synergise, and the related resource implications.

Chair: Fernando de Jesús Bilbao Marcos, General Director of Inter-institutional relations, National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions (ANUIES), Mexico

Lauritz Holm-Nielsen, Rector, University of Aarhus, Denmark
Carlos Felipe Escobar Roa, Rector, Universidad El Bosque, Colombia
António Rendas, President, Portuguese Rectors’ Council (CRUP), Portugal
Francisco Telémaco Talavera, Rector, Universidad Nacional Agraria de Nicaragua

10:30-11:00 Coffee

11:00-13:00 Plenary 5: Local and regional cooperation for innovation and growth: The relationship between universities and industry and society

Collaboration with institutions and organisations in their local and regional environment has become an important ‘third mission’ for universities. The session will examine how universities are interacting on different levels with industry and other local actors to drive growth and innovation. In this first part, the regional case of Sao Paulo will be given, followed by several case studies from different European countries in the second part.

Chair: Christian Mueller, Country Director Brazil, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Part 1: The case of São Paulo:

Julio Cezar Durigan, Rector, UNESP
Marco Antonio Zago, Vice-President for Research, Universidade de São Paulo, USP, Brasil
Fernando Ferreira Costa, Rector, Universidade Estadual de Campinas - Unicamp, Brasil
Hernan Chaimovich, Coordinator, Centros de Pesquisa, Inovação e Difusão CEPID/FAPESP, Brasil

Part 2: European approaches: Panel discussion:

Wieslaw Banys, Rector, University of Silesia, Poland
Karl-Dieter Grüske, President for Research and Finances, University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany
Mark Spearing, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), University of Southampton, UK

13:00-14:30 Lunch and optional information session:* ‘Universities supporting the Olympic Games: From London to Rio’* (presentation by Ian Campbell, PVC Student Experience & Staff Development, Brunel University, UK)

14:30-15:45 Plenary 6: The changing landscape for global partnership: Prospects for strengthening Latin America- European collaboration

While the historic and cultural ties between Europe and Latin America in higher education are strong, the dynamics and prospects for global partnerships are changing rapidly. Does it make sense for European and Latin America universities to maintain a bi-regional dialogue and how can this best be structured? This session will address how the prospects for partnerships are changing between Latin America and Europe, particularly given the economic emergence of a variety of countries within Latin America and in other regions. Panelists will discuss what the the priorities for cooperation are going forward and how bi-regional higher education policy agenda/frameworks can support this.

Chair: Lesley Wilson, Secretary General, EUA

Arturo Somoza, Vice-President, Consejo interuniversitario Nacional (CIN), Argentina
Marlon Escoto, Rector, National University of Honduras/ Minister of Education, Honduras
Horst Hippler, President, German Rectors' Conference (HRK), Germany
Sigi Gruber, Head of Unit for North America, Latin America and Caribbean, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission

15:45-16:15 Concluding session: The way forward

Conference conclusions

Chair: Ramon Torrent, Executive Secretary, Observatory of EU-Latin-American relations - (OBREAL)

Targino de Araújo Filho, President, Association of Universities ‘Montevideo Group’ (AUGM)
Helena Nazaré, President, European University Association (EUA)

16:15 Official close

Wednesday 14 NOV – Post Conference Activities

Site visits to São Paulo Universities - UNICAMP, UNESP and USP (upon registration)

To DOWNLOAD and PRINT the most recent PDF version of the Programme, please click here.