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Towards comprehensive mobility approaches

On 8 September 2021, ACA held, together with its members with Brussels representations – the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills, the Flemish Higher Education Council – VLUHR International, and the Czech National Agency for International Education and Research – Czech Liaison Office for Education and Research in Brussels (DZS-CZELO) – its first hybrid event, bringing together a sizeable onsite and online audience. Under the topic Towards comprehensive mobility approaches: marrying the inclusion, sustainability and the digital agendasthe event explored the interlinks between the overarching policy priorities for student mobility – inclusion, digitaliszation and sustainability – addressing potential tensions between these objectives and mapping concrete approaches to overcome them in both policy and practice, for the development of more comprehensive models for the sector. 

Building on insights from the European Commission representatives – Vanessa Debiais-Sainton and Filip van Depoele, senior staff of ACA member organisations, higher education (network) representatives – from The Guild,  to Ghent University and CHARM-EU, and the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), as well as an active audience, the event concluded that, as field, we are striving for more and better mobility, for a wider variety of students, and that this vision requires maximising links between pillars and objectives within strategies and in practice, as well as reconciling any potential tensions. The event’s recordings are available on ACA’s YouTube channel. 

The event also drew on the input from ACA’s position paper on the upcoming European Strategy for Universities, launched on 7 September 2021, and building on more than six months of internal member consultations and in-depth discussions. ACA members see this strategy, expected to bring together the higher education dimension of the European Education Area EEA) and the European Research Area (ERA) as a chance to spotlight and support the full potential of transnational cooperation within the European landscape and equip the sector with all available tools at European level, by:

  1. Fostering the role of international cooperation as motor for domestic and institutional reform and meaningful change; 
  2. Creating a comprehensive policy framework, building complementarity between various priorities and strategy pillars – for more impact; and 
  3. Enabling a more strategic and regular use of data on (international) higher education – in strategy making, programme design and institutional action setting. 

 The related recommendations are detailed within the full paper.