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Inspiring days in Bled

Rarely has a conference met with more challenges than the ACA/CMEPIUS event The engaged university. And rarely has an event been more inspiring and insightful. ACA and CMEPIUS weathered the storm.

The engaged university was to be a smooth event in one of the cosiest places in Europe: Bled in Slovenia. Participants registered in great numbers and all was sweetness and light until, a few days before the conference, Slovenia’s flag carrier, Adria Airways, went into insolvency and three quarters of all flights into and out of Ljubljana airport were cancelled. Should we cancel the event too, we asked ourselves. Our answer was a stubborn “we refuse to lose”. We organised pick up services from six international airports at a distance up to 400 km from Bled. And it worked. Even the weather banded up with us: we were pampered by a wonderful Indian summer.

The conference was opened by Jernej Pikalo, Minister of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia. We also had the most dedicated audience in the world and the most outstanding speakers. Together, we delivered a memorable conference, and the first one which tried to ‘think together’ the far and the near, i.e. internationalisation and cooperation with actors at the local and the regional level. The event yielded insights galore. The most important one was perhaps this: internationalisation and local and regional engagement are not mutually exclusive. What is more, often the two seeming opposites reinforce each other.

CMEPIUS and ACA are deeply grateful for the privilege to have been able to deliver The engaged university.