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This is our wrap-up of the year newsletter, and what a year it’s been! With 2021 around the corner, I take this opportunity to share with you a few insights into what 2020 meant for ACA, and to offer a glimpse of what the New Year excitingly holds in store.
The current year has been an extraordinary one for our association, in more than one respect. The new context of life, (tele)work and higher education cooperation created by the COVID-19 pandemic, with its inherent challenges for all of us, overlapped at ACA with an important leadership change – the retirement of ACA’s long-standing director, Bernd Wächter, who brought ACA to field acclaim and my take-over of the ACA directorship in September. Over the autumn, we also had a substantial renewal of the ACA Secretariat team, in line with our new ambitions, as well as important board elections. September feels already like years ago. Talking to many esteemed colleagues in our field, I hear this is a shared feeling – we’ve lived through so much more this year; several years condensed into one, orbiting much more than usual online.
Looking back, I am proud to say we’ve managed to turn many of this year’s challenges into opportunities, and we’ve learnt a few important lessons that will serve us well for the anticipated quantum leaps ahead.
What to expect from ACA next year? A more present, engaged, dynamic, vocal and impactful player and partner in the field. We look forward to welcoming you at ACA’s flagship events – the What’s new in Brussels? seminar (28-29 January 2021, online), the Innovation through internationalisation conference (22 April 2021) with Movetia and swissuniversities (see our online campaign #EducationInnovation_2021), an ACA Strategic Summit for invited leaders, a high-level debate on the Transformation agenda, and certainly more. We also look forward to collaborating with you on many of our ongoing projects. We’ll welcome your input, when needed, into the important work with our member organisations on research in international higher education, on European policies and programmes, on inclusion in higher education and on digital and green mobility. You’ll sure see and hear us in (virtual) Brussels, doing our policy and advocacy work. And, look out for a new ACA Think Pieces series!
Essentially, we look forward to working and exchanging with you also in 2021 and beyond. I’d also like to warmly thank all our members and partners, and I wish you all Happy holidays, a restful period, a great start into a better 2021, and I look forward to seeing you again in person, as soon as possible!
Before the start of your holidays, I also hope you’ll manage to read and enjoy the December 2020 ACA newsletter.