on November 21, 2022
Published on November 22, 2022 Updated on December 9, 2022

EUTOPIA Week Day One - An emotional start to the week

EUTOPIA Week day 1
EUTOPIA Week day 1
Tamino Petelinšek/STA

"The sun shone brightly after a foggy Ljubljana this morning for the Opening Ceremony of the sixth and final EUTOPIA Week pilot project EUTOPIA-2050. This week is resolutely geared towards the future and facilitating EUTOPIA’s changes in the coming months. “University of the Future, Universe of Opportunities” is the official motto of the week, and as UL rector, prof. Gregor Majdič said in his opening address: “EUTOPIA has passed its first infant years, and now it is time to move on.”

gregor majdic
gregor majdic - Tamino Petelinšek/STA
Indeed after a speech by Mariya Gabriel (Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth at the European Commission), it was time to say some goodbyes. This EUTOPIA Week marks the last EUTOPIA event participation of two rectors, the EUTOPIA Secretary General, and the Academic Lead for EUTOPIA from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Oriol Amat (rector of the Pomepu Fabra University-Barcelona), François Germinet (President of CY Cergy Paris University), Luk Van Langenhove (Rector’s Commissioner in charge of EUTOPIA at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Nikki Muckle (Secretary General of EUTOPIA) took turns accepting awards for their engagement and hard work on EUTOPIA and giving what may be among their last speeches to the multilingual and multicultural audience that is EUTOPIA.

After short addresses from Lori Šramel Čebular (Student Council Representative from UL), Anna Dragoš (Young Leaders Academy fellow), and Petra Petra Videmšek (member of the Inclusion team in EUTOPIA) on student engagement, research, and inclusion, it was time for a passing of the torch of sorts in the governance of EUTOPIA. Eva Wiberg (Vice-Chancellor, University of Gothenburg) and François Germinet both stepped down from their roles as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Strategic Board of EUTOPIA, respectively. They were replaced by Ca’Foscari University of Venice rector Tiziana Lippiello and University of Warwick Vice-Chancellor Stuart Croft.

The assembled 10 rectors and presidents of the universities of EUTOPIA then signed on this occasion two documents. The EUTOPIA Inclusion Manifesto will lead EUTOPIA’s inclusion actions in the future, and the International Partnership Charter aims to bring EUTOPIA closer to its non-European partners.

Tiziana Lippiello speech
Tiziana Lippiello speech - Tamino Petelinšek/STA
The Ceremony ended with an address from rector Tiziana Lipiello. “As always, it is people who make a real difference, with their sensitivity and their convictions. From this perspective, I believe we are an incredibly rich community. Our people are talented, competent, passionate, and motivated. This is evident in our universities’ participation in this week together. Involvement is key.”

This new EUTOPIA Week started with a bang of emotions and hope, and excitement for the future.

Watch the replay of the Opening Ceremony here.


The first session to follow was that of prof. Maruša Bradač titled “James Webb Space Telescope - From Water on Mars to the First Galaxies”. She accessibly portrayed the scale and age of the universe, the (short) history of the James Webb Telescope and its effectiveness for future research on the makings of our universe. 

You can watch the replay of this session on the EUTOPIA Youtube Channel here.

This long day ended with a Q&A session (that you can watch here) centred around the EUTOPIA Inclusion Manifesto signed by the rectors and presidents of EUTOPIA during the Opening Ceremony."
Thomas T'Joen, Communications Officer for EUTOPIA
James Webb telescope marusa bradac
James Webb telescope marusa bradac - Tamino Petelinšek/STA


"The last 'EUTOPIA Week' of EUTOPIA 2050 has kicked off in Ljubljana, hosted by the University of Ljubljana. The chilly and foggy winter mornings of Ljubljana welcomed the delegates and participants from all the partner universities. The celebration of EUTOPIA week started with the warmth of meeting each other one more time and renewing the acquaintance. The inaugural ceremony witnessed some emotional moments as some personalities handed over the batons of the relay race of the alliance to their successors and headed towards other commitments in their careers. The session also facilitated the signing of the two important manifestos, the Inclusion Manifesto by all the 10 Rectors and the Global Partnership Charta by the Rectors and the Global Partners.

As EUTOPIA is in the transition phase from 2050 to MORE, Inclusion is an important aspect of the discussion. So far, EUTOPIA's Inclusion efforts were taken on solely by its Inclusion taskforce. With the arrival of a new four years phase, Inclusion will spread over all the teams as an element of priority. In the words of Catherine Gillo-Nilson (University of Gothenburg): "We live in a world where Inclusion is a fluid concept, that changes every day, and we need to adapt and bring in policies that focus on the vulnerabilities and recognitions as a need of the hour. This pushes us to review our inclusive practices every day".

While chairing the EUTOPIA MORE Question and Answer session, Kulbir Shergill (University of Warwick) emphasised how the excluded are heard. It's time we focus on "who is listening" and holding the listeners accountable for Inclusion. Muriel Epstein (CY Cergy Paris University) highlighted "how each of the universities struggles to deal with Inclusion and its practices".

"How do we go further?" And "what shall be the future of Inclusion in EUTOPIA?" remained unanswered questions. The engaging meeting ended with a positive note on pursuing Inclusive Policies by EUTOPIA as an alliance and all its partner universities, discussing and implementing it across all the Work Packages. 

See the Q&A session here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t3gBzSmV4g"
Renu Elza Varkey, Communications Officer for EUTOPIA