From January 1st until the 30th of June 2022, the Presidency of the Council of Europe will be held by France. The priority of the Presidency, as declared, is to help prepare the Europe of tomorrow by laying the groundwork for many far-reaching changes focusing on:
- A new growth and investment model;
- European values;
- Young people;
Along the lines of the Conference on the Future of Europe, through which European citizens can contribute to define Europe’s future policy, the Presidency organized a Forum for the Universities of the Future of Europe that was held on the 26th of January in Paris.
credits Alessia Pascarella
The main goal was to discuss the role of Universities in the European Union of the future and their contribution to its construction by promoting common European values and a strengthened European identity as well as improving the quality, attractiveness and international competitiveness of Europe’s higher education institutions.
The Forum was also a way to assess the pilot phase of the 41 alliances formed since 2019 under the European Universities Initiative, including UNITA - Universitas Montium.
As a member of the Student Assembly of UNITA, I had the opportunity and the honor of being selected to participate in the Forum, along with students from other Alliances across Europe.
The discussions of the day developed throughout three sessions:
- power and Universities of Europe;
- recovery and Universities of Europe;
- sense of belonging and Universities of Europe.
I had the chance to participate in the last roundtable of the third session whose theme was "The University as a trusted third place: science at the risk of disinformation".
I am a student of the fifth year of the Medicine and Surgery study course of the University of Turin (hold at San Luigi Gonzaga Hospital), therefore for me it was very interesting to follow a discussion that is not only coherent with my career path, but also extremely relevant, as we are now already two years into a pandemic that has deeply modified the way in which we - as European citizens - live in a globalized world.
The panelists' discussion focused on the means and the methods as to how best fight against disinformation and misuse of data, leading them to the conclusion that Universities as institutions should be open to listening to the population and its expectations and fears, in order to try reassuring the general public and possibly giving the tools to understand the complexity of the issues that are part of the scientific debate.
Moreover, it was made clearer and clearer throughout the discussions of all roundtables that Universities and in particular the European Alliances should have a role in strengthening the European identity that has sometimes been discarded or shadowed by nationalisms in the past.
It was inspiring to see so many people, from Ministers to researchers, from professors to students, share thoughts and make proposals to reach a common goal: build the brightest possible future of Europe.