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ACA in 2019: Active, Collegial and Ambitious

Another active year for ACA. In the past 12 months the small ACA Secretariat team, together with members and partners, implemented a wide range of activities that marked 2019 and will shape 2020. The list includes five events, five projects, four working groups, numerous speaking roles at international events and an important reward for its work and the work of its long-time Director, Bernd Wächter.

Starting successfully with the traditional European Policy Seminar (EPS) What’s new in Brussels?, ACA gathered over 100 participants for a day of information sharing on the latest developments in EU programmes and policies. ACA’s second EPS – From Physical to Virtual? Internationalising higher education in the digital age - was equally successful judging by the packed room of colleagues interested in policy updates on the digitalisation of higher education in Europe and latest developments of digital infrastructure and digital tools available to universities for advancing their internationalisation ambitions. On 21 February, ACA’s annual advocacy event took place in Brussels, titled Internationalisation for all? Wider inclusion in the internationalisation of higher education. It was developed and supported by the ACA Secretariat and ACA members DAAD, Diku and Flanders Knowledge Area (FKA), who also hosted the event on the premises of VLEVA (Liaison agency Flanders-Europe). One of the results of the event working group is the ACA Reflection Paper with the same title, which has so far received exceptionally positive feedback from relevant actors in the field of inclusion and internationalisation. The final event of the GREET project took place on 13-14 June at the European Committee of the Regions gathering around 150 European, national and institutional representatives engaged in supporting students and scholars with refugee background. A joint endeavour of the GREET and Academic Refuge project teams, the event was an example of synergies between Horizon2020 and Erasmus+ supported activities. The highlights of the event can be found in the summary report. October was marked by beautiful Bled and wonderful colleagues from CMEPIUS, who hosted the ACA-CMEPIUS conference The engaged university. Linking the global and the local. Excellent organisation, excellent programme and speakers, together with an excellent location contributed to its success and high satisfaction of the audience.

2019 has been equally dynamic on the project front:

  • The second year of the Study in Europe 2 project resulted in two ACA-led webinars on marketing and promotion activities – one for national promotion agencies and one for higher education institutions. The latter can be found on ACA’s Youtube channel.

  • GREET ended in October but the same team (ACA, DAAD and EDUFI) continues with its sister project CARe (Career Advancement for Refugee Researchers in Europe), which will run well into 2020.

  • The Campus Mundi project with ACA’s Hungarian member TPF involved 5 review visits of Hungarian universities in 2019, taking stock and advising them on their internationalisation strategies.

  • A similar project - MICHE (Monitoring Internationalisation of Czech Higher Education) run in the Czech Republic by  ACA’s member DZS enabled 6 Czech higher education institutions to be advised on their internationalisation endeavours in the year, with the ACA Secretariat contributing to 4 of these visits. Both projects will continue in 2020.

ACA Newsletter – Education Europe successfully continues to inform the higher education community of latest news and developments in the field. Recurrent topics in 2019 have been different stages in the preparations for EU programmes Erasmus 2021-2027 and Horizon Europe, the European Universities Initiative, as well as important developments in ACA members’ organisations and their countries.

At the Institute of International Education (IIE) award ceremony in Helsinki in September, ACA and its Director, Bernd Wächter, were awarded the IIE Centennial Medal for being a“valued IIE partner. In the words of IIE President and CEO, Allan E. Goodman, ACA enabled IIE, through its leadership and guidance to maintain the standard of excellence in international education, especially in Europe.

We’s like to warmly thank all our collaborators and we hope that 2020 will be equally cooperative and active for the ACA Secretariat, ACA members and all our valued partners who make invaluable contributions to the field of international higher education.

Best wishes for 2020!

ACA team