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EHEA Ministerial Conference and Rome Communiqué: spotlight on inclusive, innovative and interconnected European Higher Education Area

The EHEA Rome 2020 Ministerial Conference took place in virtual format on 19 November. The Conference proceedings were opened by the Minister for Universities and Research, Prof. Gaetano Manfredi, and by the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, followed by the participation of all EHEA Ministers and Consultative Members of the process. 

The Conference provided an opportunity to foster a debate on the common objectives for the next decade of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and further strengthen cooperation among 48 member countries. During the Conference, EHEA Ministers took note of the progress results outlined in the Bologna Process Implementation Report. The report includes a chapter on internationalisation co-authored by ACA’s former and current Directors Bernd Waechter and Irina Ferencz.  

The Ministers also adopted the Rome Ministerial Communiqué, which set the course of work for the next decade. The Ministered committed to building an inclusive, innovative and interconnected EHEA by 2030, supported by greater investment in education required to enable solutions for the current crisis, post crisis recovery, and the transition into green, sustainable and resilient economies and societies, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

  • The Rome Communiqué gave new impetus to overcoming the social inequities that still limit the achievement of a fully inclusive EHEA, with the adoption of the “Principles and Guidelines to Strengthen the Social Dimension of Higher Education in the EHEA” based on a broadened understanding of the social dimension. 
  • The document emphasized the vital role of higher education in delivering solutions to global challenges and the need to support higher education institutions’ innovative efforts in line with the newly adopted Recommendations to National Authorities for the Enhancement of Higher Education Learning and Teaching in the EHEA”. 
  • The Ministers reaffirmed the target that at least 20% of those graduating in the EHEA should have experienced a study or training period abroadaiming to enable all learners to acquire international and intercultural competences by various means of internationalisation. 

The Ministers’ commitment to improve the implementation of fundamental values of education and democracy, reconfirmed with the adoption of the Statement on Academic Freedom, comes in at a crucial point in time, as risks to infringement of academic freedom and institutional autonomy emerge in various parts of the world 

ACA will continue to support the implementation of the EHEA goals and targets in the field of internationalisation and beyond, offering data and expert advice on the key issues of academic mobility in the renewed context of inclusion, sustainability and innovation. 

More information 

EHEA Ministerial Conference 

Rome Ministerial Communiqué