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Corfu Summer School 2004

June 2004

Background

Since its launch in 2001, the Observatory has developed a series of activities:
• Comparative research on the legal constraints shaping the management of institutional autonomy and academic freedom in the European academic area
• Yearly conferences exploring one aspect of the management of institutional autonomy that would allow the university to be both more accountable and more innovative in the development of society
• Interventions in situations of potential or existing strains between universities and their stakeholders, essentially the governments supporting higher education and research – the Observatory playing a mediating or analytical role

These activities are reported in two series of documents, the proceedings of the yearly conferences organised in conjunction with the ceremonies arranged by the University of Bologna to allow more universities to endorse the Magna Charta, on one side, the case studies focusing on one area of possible tension, on the other. They are complimented by Essays proposing new approaches to university governance and autonomy.

The Board proposed to take advantage of that material and of the experience acquired by the members of the Observatory to arrange in Corfu, with Greek support, an encounter between Magna Charta representatives and South East European university leaders – rectors, vice-rectors or potential top administrators – to explore in a neutral and constructive environment the constraints, needs and opportunities linked to the development of university principles like institutional autonomy and academic freedom.

The three day session (16/17/18 June) took place at the Kontokali Bay Hotel in Corfu; it welcomed some 15 participants. Priority for this intensive debate was given to countries of South East Europe, Ukraine, and the Caucasian Republics, nations that have all experienced recent and wide-reaching changes in their higher education systems. The fact that these countries are neighbours gave the group of participants the possibility to develop formal or informal links between their institutions, thus contributing to support Magna Charta principles, work and ideas in the area.

 

The programme

Participants were given various documents produced by the Observatory as preparatory material for discussions. The pace of the meeting gave ample time for personal reading and informal group discussions – the ‘learning concept’ being that of informed conversations between peers from various backgrounds rather than of a series of lectures on higher education and its present situation in Europe. Members of the Observatory Collegium and Board were thus asked to act as facilitators and not like teachers. Indeed, participants had their own experience of institutional autonomy and academic freedom - that was of use to the whole group, Magna Charta members included.

On Wednesday 16 June, stress was put on the functions of the university, yesterday (session 1) or tomorrow (session 2). Their present shape was envisaged through the example of Turkey where the university is considered to be a motor for national transformation – but on somewhat unclear bases today since society in the area knows of tensions between various traditions, secular and religious in particular.

On Thursday 17 June, emphasis was put on the regional dimension of academic responsibility in a changing society, in countries cutting away from a socialist past (session 3) or adopting structures and behaviour leading to a European academic community (session 4). The resulting tensions and the way to use them for better development was discussed through a Romanian example, Babès-Bolyai University, an institution posing a new focus of citizenship.

On Friday 18 June, the focus of attention was the management of freedom, either when meeting the challenges of crisis – economic, political or social – (session 5) or when inventing the future (session 6). The afternoon meeting brought together all participants and the members of the Observatory Board and Collegium to discuss the interest, relevance and use of the ‘Summer School’, participants being asked to comment their experience and suggest improvement or new approaches for the Observatory to take into account for future activities; - the last day participants reported to the financial backers of the whole event, i.e., the Ministry of Education represented by the Secretary of State for Higher Education.

 

PARTICIPANTS

Prof. Eric Froment
EUA President and Member of the Magna Charta Observatory Board
Lyon, France

Prof. Dimitris Glaros
Vice-Rector University of Ioannina and Member of the Magna Charta Observatory Board
Ioannina, Greece

Prof. Roberto Grandi
Università di Bologna and Member of the Magna Charta Observatory Board
Bologna, Italy

Dr. Eduardo Marçal Grilo
Gulbenkian Foundation Lisboa and Member of the Magna Charta Observatory Board
Lisbon, Portugal

Prof. Andrei Marga
Former Rector Babès-Bolyai University in Cluj and Member of the Magna Charta Observatory Collegium
Cluj, Romania

Prof. Josep Bricall
Former CRE President and Member of the Magna Charta Observatory Collegium
Barcelona, Spain

Prof. Michael Daxner
Former UNMIK Civil Administrator and Member of the Magna Charta Observatory Collegium
Oldenburg, Germany

Prof. Josef Jarab
Senate of the Czech Republic and Former Rector of Palacky University Olomuc and Member of the Magna Charta Observatory Collegium
Olomuc, Czech Republic

Prof. Fabio Roversi-Monaco
Former Rector Università degli Studi di Bologna and President of the Magna Charta Observatory Collegium
Bologna, Italy

Prof. Lucy Smith
Former Rector Universitetet i Oslo and Member of the Magna Charta Observatory Collegium
Oslo, Norway

Prof. Ludvik Toplak
Former Rector Univerza v Mariboru and Member of the Magna Charta Observatory Collegium
Maribor, Slovenia

Dr. Andris Barblan
Secretary General of the Magna Charta Observatory
Bologna, Italy

Ms. Carla Pazzaglia
Administrator of the Magna Charta Observatory
Bologna, Italy

Dr. Ken Edwards
Former CRE President and Chair of the Magna Charta Observatory Board
Cambridge, UK

Prof. Ustun Erguder
Boganci Univesity - Turkey and Member of the Magna Charta Observatory Board
Istanbul, Turkey

Ms. Edlira Late
International Coordinator University of Gjirokastra
Gjirokastra, Albania

Prof. Sanja Berjan
Alternative Academic Educational Network
Belgrad, Serbia

Prof. Marija Stefanovic
University of Novi Sad
Novi Sad, Serbia

Prof. Konstantin Balabanov
Mariupol Institute of Humanities
Mariupol, Ukraine

Prof. Viktoriya Chelpan
Mariupol Institute of Humanities
Mariupol, Ukraine

Prof. Vladimir Shevchenko
Donetsk National University
Donetsk, Ukraine

Prof. Vassil Anastassov
Medical University of Plovdiv
Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Prof. Alexandar Bjelic
University of Zagreb
Zagreb, Croatia

Prof. Dragolijub Mirjanic
University of Banja Luka
Banja Luka, Bosnia Herzegivina

Prof. Charis Xanthoudakis
Ionian University
Corfu, Greece