Edition 213 - January 2019

Rectors’ conferences adopt Vienna Declaration

Already in December 2018, presidents and representatives of 10 European rectors’ conferences convened in Vienna and adopted the declaration “Universities for Enlightenment”. The document - of the rectors’ conferences of Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland - reconfirms the importance of the Magna Charta Universitatum (1988) and it underlines the importance of academic freedom, institutional autonomy, the participation of students and faculty in the governance of universities, as well as public responsibility as decisive for the functioning and development of higher education.

The signatories encourage governments to support the above core values by providing adequate resources and legal frameworks. They call on governments to refrain from any interference in independent research. Further, they voice concern about rising tendencies and movements in Europe and beyond threatening democracy and open societies. They stress that such tendencies are all the more worrying when viewed “against the background of increasing inequalities, nationalism, populism, racism, anti-Semitism, intolerance, polarisation, and radicalisation as well as pseudo-science and pseudo-facts”. The rectors’ conferences also commit to strengthening their dialogue inside the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) elsewhere, with a special emphasis on “shared experiences”.

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