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Innovation through internationalisation

Roughly 18 months after its originally planned date, ACA and its members Movetia and swissuniversities have successfully hosted a hybrid event, called ‘Innovation through internationalisation - How international cooperation and mobility foster innovation in higher education’.

Taking place in Zürich, on 4 November 2021, the event hosted several engaging discussions, presentations, and campfire sessions for in-person and online audiences.

The conference tackled issues related to current developments in international HE cooperation, from a policy perspective during the opening panel, to sharing valuable experiences in the following presentations and campfire sessions, where participants had a chance to exchange on their successes, but also failures and hiccups in elevating internationalisation at their institutions.

The conference was opened by Olivier Tschopp, Director of the Swiss National Agency Movetia and Ulrich Grothus, ACA’s President.

The high-level panel discussion included the Swiss State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, Martina Hirayama, Yves Flückiger, President of swissuniversities and Rector of the Université de Genève, Piet van Hove, Vice-President of the European Association for International Education (EAIE) and Director of the International Relations Office at the University of Antwerp, Christian Simm, Head of the International Relations Office at the University of Zürich and Sijbolt Noorda, President Emeritus of the Universiteit van Amsterdam.

Keynote speech was given by Edwin van Rest, CEO and co-founder of the StudyPortals highlighting the need to boldly pursue one’s ambition, even in difficult times.

Inputs on innovative internationalisation practices, models and role-models were given by Olga Wessels, Head of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU), Brussels Office, Eva Haug, Educational Advisor for Internationalisation of the Curriculum and COIL/Virtual Exchange at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Marina Casals Sala, Director of the International Relations Office at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili and Jonas Brunschwig, CEO of Swissnext.

Main takeaways and messages to the participants were:

  • Give a voice to those who want to innovate
  • Build ecosystems: local and planetary
  • Can't have innovation without internationalisation
  • Take risks
  • Diversity and mobility are fundamental for innovation; we must care about this by design

Martina Weiss, Secretary General of swissuniversities closed the event stressing the need for the re-association of Switzerland into the Erasmus and Horizon Europe programmes. Speakers as well as the participating audience supported this call throughout the event. You can read ACA’s statement on this matter here.

The video highlights of the event will be published soon, so stay tuned in to our channels.