Trinity College Dublin has joined a newly launched European University today. Together with four other prestigious universities, including the University of Barcelona, Utrecht University, the University of Montpellier and Eötvös Loránd University, it has signed a foundational agreement for the Charm European University (Charm-EU) which will focus on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) providing an interdisciplinary, challenge-based education.
On the occasion of the launch in Barcelona, Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast said:
“Trinity is delighted to be part of this new network of European universities, cooperating together without frontiers. We will focus on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), providing training to our European students in becoming global citizens. We need education programmes and research at the frontiers of knowledge to reduce poverty and the overall human pressure on our planet. A truly sustainable planet requires a global effort. As individuals, institutions, cities and countries, we all have an essential part to play and through this collective European network we hope our universities will make a significant impact.”
The Rector of the University of Barcelona, Joan Elias, explained that the network would provide a unique and innovative academic offering involving the SDGs:
“The seventeen objectives of the 2030 Agenda will be a direct inspiration for the European University. Unlike the UN Millennium Development Goals, of the period 2000-2015, the SDGs seek the involvement of local governments and civil society entities, while they also bring a global and interdependent perspective of the challenges humanity faces. The European University we propose will play a key role regarding training.”
The Rector of Utrecht University, Henk Kummeling, highlighted three main aspects of Charm-EU. First, the plurality of language these five participating universities bring to the network. The future students of this alliance will be trained in an academic offering based on three romance languages –Catalan, Spanish and French, additionally English and Dutch, as well as Hungarian and Irish. Moreover, the university will be based on international projects led by the five universities; it will be an open and inclusive university for people from all over the world.
The Rector of the University of Barcelona, Joan Elias added that the network will “create a truly European learning experience”. It will take the best of the tradition of each country’s culture and will aim to integrate popular and academic culture. Therefore, students will be exposed to a unique cultural experience that will be expanded over their training period and will provide them with tools to become critical citizens in accordance to the European values.
The Rector of Utrecht University, added: “By joining forces in this alliance, we can provide all students and teachers with the skills necessary to play a part in solving the challenges facing society. I look forward to jointly innovating our education further, to make it more flexible, better accessible and more inclusive, because that is what society needs us to do.”
The Rector of Eötvös Lórand Univesity in Budapest, Lászlo Borhy, commented on the similarities between the objectives of the alliance and values of his university which intends to strengthen European identity and to transform the cultural heritage to achieve progress:
“The new European university will offer an example regarding the standardisation of academic and mobility programs for students. It will be a more flexible and sustainable system with the aim to respond the wide range of social needs.”
Vice-Rector for International Affairs, Patrick Caron. at the University of Montpellier, said: “The first faculty of Medicine still active in Europe was created in the University of Montpellier, and was created thanks to the mobility and migration of the Mediterranean area. We never forgot about it.” According to Caron, being part of this alliance will enable the University of Montpellier “to contribute to strengthen European Values”.