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What lessons are we learning from Covid-19?

Webinar - 18 September 2020 - 15.00 CET

The Observatory’s first webinar took place on 18 September 2020, the anniversary of the first signing of the Magna Charta Universitatum 32 years ago. The event should have been marked at a large conference in Bologna, at which the new Magna Charta 2020 was to have been launched, but the effects of the Covid pandemic made that impossible.


So how appropriate was it that the theme of the webinar was the lessons being learnt from Covid?


Eva Egron Polak, former Secretary General of the International Association of Universities, took a global perspective and concluded that HE is learning valuable lessons and appreciating that its future role in society and its international dimension will not be the same. As to how universities should embrace and respond to this, she suggested that they should start with the values that are central to the work of their university and should be transparent about these.


Eva was followed by Professor Francesco Ubertini, Rector of the University of Bologna, on whose shoulders the responsibility of leading the response of that university had fallen. The lessons which he shared included the importance of transparency and honesty for building trust with the whole university community and the importance of direct communications. He had written to the entire community on a daily basis to build that trust. The university had developed resilience, had become more flexible and needed to maintain energy throughout the different stages of their response.


A recording of the webinar is available and copies of the presentations can be found at the right of this page.


It was pleasing that more people attended the webinar than would normally have attended the anniversary. They came from 46 different countries thereby reflecting the broad geographical spread of the Observatory.


The MCO is planning further webinars on issues and challenges relating to the new Magna Charta in the period between now and 16 June 2021, when it is planned to launch the new Magna Charta. The next one will look at aspects of sustainability. Watch out for an email and social media for news of how to book.