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Tallinn, 15 June 2008

Beyond 2010: European Higher Education in the Next Decade


ACA organised the annual ACA Conference of 2008 in cooperation with its Estonian member, Archimedes Foundation. The two-day conference took place in the vibrant city of Tallinn on 16 and 17 June, with a welcome reception and tourist programme on 15 June.

A selection of the papers presented at this conference have been published in the ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Education.

Beyond 2010: European Higher Education in the Next Decade


Pre-conference day 15 June 2008




Social/Tourist programme: guided tour of the old city


Welcome Reception at the Estonian National Opera

1st Conference Day 16 June 2008




Tõnis Lukas, Estonian Minister of Education


Welcome addresses
Rait Toompere, Director, Archimedes Foundation
Sir Peter Scott, ACA President, Vice-Chancellor, Kingston University


Opening keynote
Beyond 2010: European higher education and employment in the next decade
David Coyne, Director, European Commission, DG Employment


Coffee break


Panel Discussion
European higher education after 2010: will Bologna and Lisbon have been concluded?
Chair: Bernd Wächter, Director, ACA
Barbara Weitgruber, Senior Adviser, Austrian Ministry of Science and Research
Lene Oftedal, Policy Adviser, European Commission, DG Education and Culture
Jiři Nantl, Bologna Expert, Masaryk University
Rait Toompere, Director, Archimedes Foundation
Gerd Köhler, Member of the Council of Frankfurt University



Introductions to the sub-themes of the conference
Mobility: Bernd Wächter, Director, ACA
The role of languagesMikko Toivonen, Director, Helsinki Education and Research Area
Alternative learning paths and cross-border EducationMaria Kelo, Senior Officer, ACA
Funding internationalisationChripa Kizhakeparampil, Policy Officer, ACA




Parallel working groups 

WG I: Mobility
Chair:  Bernd Wächter, Director, ACA
Ulrich Teichler, Professor, INCHER, University of Kassel
Aune Valk, Head of Open University, University of Tartu

WG II: The role of languages
Chair: Mikko Toivonen, Director, Helsinki Education and Research Area
Ulf Lie, Deputy Director, ACA
Rhonwen Bowen, Head of English Department, University of Gothenburg

WG III: Alternative learning paths and cross-border education
Chair: Maria Kelo, Senior Officer, ACA
Ute Lanzendorf, Project Leader, INCHER, University of Kassel
Patricia Pol, Vice-President International, Université Paris 12

WG IV: Funding internationalisation
Chair: Chripa Kizhakeparampil, Policy Officer, ACA
Neil Kemp, Visiting Fellow, Institute of Education, University of London
Hans Hendrik Saxild, Vice-Dean International, Technical University of Denmark


Coffee break


Where shall the money come from? Public vs. privately financed higher education
Chair: Robin Middlehurst, Professor, Kingston University
Ulrich Teichler, Professor, INCHER, University of Kassel
Marijk van der Wende, President, IMHE/OECD 


End of First Conference Day


Conference dinner

2nd Conference Day 17 June 2008




Plenary speech
Creating the first university
Rolf Tarrach, Rector, University of Luxembourg


Plenary discussion
European higher education viewed from outside. Expectations, hopes and threats
Chair: Neil Kemp, Visiting Fellow, Institute of Education, University of London
Catharine Stimpson, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York University
Hon. Ms. Ton Nu Thi Ninh, President of Founding Committee of Tri Viet University Project, Former Vietnamese Ambassador to the European Union
Jocelyne Gacel-Avila, General Coordinator for Cooperation and Internationalisation, Universidad Guadalajara, Mexico


Coffee break


Reports from the working groups




Plenary speech
The emergence of a new ‘geopolitics’ of higher education: Context, causes and framework
Jan Sadlak, Director, CEPES/UNESCO 


Closing keynote
Challenges for global higher education in the 2020s. What the next decade holds in store
Sir Peter Scott, ACA President, Vice-Chancellor, Kingston University


Wrap-up and good-bye


Rhonwen Bowen

Rhonwen Bowen was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in England in 1950 but she has lived in Sweden since 1970. A Degree of Bachelor of Arts in English and Linguistics was conferred on her at the University of Gothenburg in 1990 and she got her doctorate in English Language in 2003. Her dissertation was entitled Noun Complementation in English. A Corpus-based study of structural types and patterns. She has been employed at the University of Gothenburg since 1987 and has taught a wide range of courses at undergraduate, advanced and postgraduate levels. Her research interests include English grammar and English for academic purposes.

Between 2003 – 2006  she was Director of Studies of the Department of English at the University of Gothenburg and since 2006 she is Head of Department. During this time, she has devoted a lot of her time to the implementation of the Bologna Process. She has participated in a number of university projects: the Digital Project for the development of a TV programme on language studies with special emphasis on the study of grammar, the Language Policy Project which involved members of staff from the various faculties of the university and the project concerning the re-organisation of the Faculty of Arts at the university.

David Coyne

David COYNE is Director for the “European Social Fund (ESF), Monitoring of Corresponding National Policies I and Coordination”. He was previously Director for Education, responsible for co-ordinating the Commission’s education programmes and activities, and before that Head of Unit for the Policy Co-ordination of the ESF.

Prior to that he was a member of the private office of Sir Leon Brittan, Vice President of the Commission responsible (at various times) for external trade, relations with the US/Canada/China/ OECD countries, pre-enlargement issues, and Anti-Trust Policy. David Coyne joined the Commission in 1977. He studied at Cambridge University.

Jocelyne Gacel-Avila

Jocelyne Gacel-Avila holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Paris VII in Foreign Languages and Civilizations and PhD in International and Comparative Education, specialized in the Internationalisation of Higher Education. Since 2001 she is the Director of the Office for Cooperation and Internationalisation as well as Research Professor at the Center for Strategic Studies for Development at the University of Guadalajara.

Professor Gacel-Avila has represented Mexico on the Governing Board of the Institutional Management in Higher Education of the OCDE since 2006, and as Vice-President in the Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration U.S.A. and as member of its Directorial Board from 1997 to 2004. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Journal of Studies in International Education and the Council on International Educational Exchange, President and founding member of the Mexican Association for International Education (AMPEI) between 2000 and 2004.

Professor Gacel-Avila is the author of 9 books and a large number of scientific articles, book chapters and essays on the theme of internationalisation, international education and  cooperation. She has conducted several research projects regarding internationalization and cooperation for the Ford Foundation, World Bank and has taken part in many European and Latin American projects on the subject. She has lectured on these topics in many distinctive forums and more than 120 seminars and conferences. She has been awarded the Support for Internationalization in Higher Education in Mexico award from AMPEI in 2006 and she is Member of the National System of Researchers (SNI) since 2003. 

Maria Kelo

Maria Kelo is Senior Officer at the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA). In this role, which she has held since 2003, she is responsible for the acquisition, development and implementation of ACA projects, the organisation of ACA conferences and seminars, as well as ACA’s public relations activities including representing the association at international fora. Recently she completed a large-scale study on services and preparatory programmes for international students in higher education, and is currently managing a project on transnational education. Before her appointment at ACA Maria Kelo worked as a researcher for Eurydice (the Information Network on Education in Europe). She has also worked as an intern at the DG for Education and Culture of the European Commission. Maria has a MSc in Philosophy, Policy, and Social Value from the London School of Economics.

Maria Kelo is the author of Support for International Students in Higher Education. Practice and Principles (2006), the co-author of Brain Drain and Brain Gain – migration in the European Union after Enlargement (Kelo and Wächter, 2004) and The Admission of International Students into Higher Education (Muche, Kelo and Wächter, 2004). She is the co-editor of EURODATA – Student mobility in European higher education (Kelo, Teichler, Wächter, eds., 2006) and the editor of The Future of the University. Translating Lisbon into Practice (2006).

Neil Kemp

Neil Kemp has contributed to a wide range of education and training projects in over 20 countries. He has lived and worked in South and East Asia for 20 years, including eight years each in Indonesia and India. His career has involved several posts in the British Council: Country Director in Sri Lanka and Indonesia and in the UK as, Director of Science and Technology and Director of Education UK Marketing.

He manages his own international education consultancy and his clients include a number of universities, the UK’s Departments for Education and Home Office, the British Council and Education UK Partnership; CIRIUS Denmark; the Swedish Institute; UK-India Education and Research Initiative; Universities UK. His current professional interests include national and institutional policies relating to the internationalisation of higher education; the role of the independent sector in higher education, particularly in developing countries; and international student mobility.

Over recent years he has been a member of the UK government’s Education and Training Export Group, the Higher Level Steering Group for the Prime Minister’s Initiative on International Students, the Education UK Board and the UK New Route PhD Committee. He has a number of part-time posts including as a Board Member for the Association of Independent Higher Education Providers in the UK; as a Trustee of the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex; Director of Open University Worldwide; member of the International Boards at the University of Westminster and Sussex Downs College.

Chripa Kizhakeparampil

Chripa Kizhakeparampil is Policy Officer at the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA). She is currently in charge of a pilot project in Mexico within the Erasmus Mundus Global Promotion Project, which aims at improving availability and accessibility of information on European study opportunities and at enhancing the professional capacity of European countries to proactively promote themselves as study destinations. Chripa, who is a French-German citizen, studied International Business and Cultural Studies at the University of Passau as well as Portuguese Language and Literature at the Università degli Studi di Bologna. Before joining ACA, she has held positions in Germany, Spain and India in the private sector.

Gerd Köhler

Gerd Köhler has a degree in History, Political Science and Pedagogy at Göttingen University, Germany. At the end of the 60ies  he has been one of the presidents of the German National Union of Students and in the beginning of the 70ies he worked as an assistant for the German National Council for Education. From 1980 to 2006 Köhler was an Executive Board member of the German Trade Union for Education and Science. Between 1991 and 1998 he worked as the Secretary of the Standing Committee for Higher Education and Research in the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE). In 2003, he became the organiser of the EI-GEW Berlin Forum “Shaping the European Area of Higher Education and Research”. Furthermore, he has been a member of the Task Force “Commercialisation of Higher Education and Research” in Education International“.

From 1999 to 2006 he represented the trade unions in the German Council for Accreditation. From 2004 to 2007 he joined the German Bologna Follow-Up-Group and engaged himself  as a Bologna Promoter. Today he is  elected to the Boards of the Universities in Frankfurt/Main and Halle-Wittenberg. 

Ute Lanzendorf

Ute Lanzendorf is project leader at the International Centre for Higher Education Research of the University of Kassel (INCHER-Kassel). Her fields of research include the internationalisation and globalisation of higher education as well as reforms of higher education governance. She published several analyses on the relevance of transnational higher education. These analyses partly refer to individual countries and partly to a particular mode of delivery (foreign-backed institutions). Her recent research also includes methods of data collection on student mobility in Europe, the impact of the ERASMUS programme and the implications of governance reforms in higher education for university research. She is a geographer and worked at the German Institute for International Educational Research in Frankfurt/Main and the German Rectors’ Conference in Bonn before she joined INCHER- Kassel in 2002.

Ulf Lie

Ulf Lie is the Deputy Director of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA), a position he has held since 2007. In this capacity, he is instrumental in the development and implementation of ACA policy and projects.

Earlier on, he was Senior Advisor at Norway’s Centre for International University Cooperation (SIU) in Bergen. He created this organisation and was its Director until the summer of 2004. Prior to this he was the Director of the Bergen Student Welfare Organisation and the Chairman the Norwegian Student Welfare Organisations. In a different career, he was a Professor of American Literature at Bergen University, and a Vice-Dean. He held a research fellowship from ACLS to SUNY at Buffalo and published books and articles on poetry, art and literature, discourse analysis and language competence in industry. His publications include topics such as internationalisation, commercialisation, and globalisation of higher education, particularly cooperation with developing countries. Ulf Lie also has a distinguished track record in educational development cooperation, in which field he championed many successful projects.

He has received the Constance Meldrum Award for Vision and Leadership from the European Association for International Education.

Tõnis Lukas

Tõnis Lukas was appointed as Minister of Education and Research of the Republic of Estonia in April 2007. Tõnis Lukas was previously Minister of Education between March 1999 and January 2002. Tõnis Lukas was member of the Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament) in 1995-1996, in 1999, and in 2003-2007. He joined the Riigikogu after being Teacher at Rõngu School, Director of the Estonian National Museum, as well as Mayor of the City of Tartu between 1996 and 1997. Tõnis Lukas belongs to Pro Patria and Res Publica Union.

He was educated at the University of Tartu and holds a MA degree in History. Tõnis is the member of the Estonian Students’ Society, Estonian Heritage Society, The Learned Estonian Society, and Estonian Vocational Education Promotion Society. He is married with two daughters and a son.

Robin Middlehurst

Robin Middlehurst is Professor of Higher Education at Kingston University and has been seconded half-time to the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education in the UK as Director, Strategy, Research and International since 2004.  Robin joined Kingston in July 2007 from the University of Surrey where she held a variety of roles over a period of almost 10 years including Director of the Centre for Continuing Education and Director of the Centre for Policy and Change in Tertiary Education.  In her career, Robin has taught at all levels of education, from primary and secondary levels, to further, adult and higher education.  From 1984-1987 Robin was Director of the Quality Enhancement Group at the Higher Education Quality Council (subsequently the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in the UK).  Robin’s research interests include leadership, management and governance in higher education, quality assurance and enhancement policies, and internationalization of higher education.  Robin led the research on ‘The Business of Borderless Higher Education: UK Perspectives’ that recommended the establishment of the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, set up by Universities UK and the Association of Commonwealth Universities in 2002 (which is now a global strategic information service).  She also led a series of research and consultancy projects that contributed to the development of the Leadership Foundation for HE (UK) in 2003.  Robin has co-directed the UK’s Top Management Programme for Higher Education since 1999 and undertakes a range of national and international consultancy for institutions and agencies such as UNESCO, the European University Association and OECD/IMHE. 

Jiri Nantl

Jiri Nantl was born in 1979 and graduated in political science (2003) and law (2004). He was active in the student government in a number of roles, including that of President of the National Union of Students in the Czech Republic in the years of 2003 – 2005. He served as Vice Chairman of the Czech Council of Higher Education Institutions (2003 – 2005) and as Internal Auditor of the ESIB (currently ESU) in the years 2004 – 2005. He has been Bologna Promoter/Expert in the Czech Republic since 2004, Chairperson of the Educational Policy Committee of the Council of Higher Education Institutions since 2005 and member of the National Board for Qualifications since 2007. He had worked as Director of Academic Affairs of the Masaryk University (Brno, Czech Republic) until he was appointed as Registrar of the same university in 2006.

Besides his duties as university administrator that include university’s academic policies, government and community relations, legal service and collective bargaining, he has also been researcher and lecturer in public administration, interest groups and educational policy at the Masaryk University. Jiri Nantl’s main academic focus is on the politics of interest groups, public sector management and higher education governance. His main current higher education policy involvement deals with the tertiary education reform in the Czech Republic (as part of a task force on new tertiary education law) and the development of the national qualifications framework for tertiary education.

Ton Nu Thi Ninh

Madame Ton-Nu-Thi Ninh is currently the President of the Founding Committee of Tri Viet University, to be opened in Viet Nam in 2010.   Tri Viet University ambitions to be innovative in the context of a Viet Nam in transition: a private enterprise dedicated to public service, a strongly-rooted Vietnamese entity boldly open to the modern world.  Madame Ninh obtained her Agregation in France (Ecole Normale Superieure de Fontenay-Aux-Roses) and in the United Kingdom (Cambridge University).  With this university project, Madame Ninh thus reaches back to her first calling, having started her career as an academic teaching at the Sorbonne. 

For more than two decades Madame Ninh was a diplomat in Viet Nam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, specializing in multilateral institutions and global issues. From 2000 to 2003, she was Viet Nam’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and Head of Mission to the European Union in Brussels.  From 2002 to 2007 Madame Ninh served in the 11th National Assembly of Viet Nam as Vice-Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, focusing on North America (particularly, the United States) and Western Europe.

Madame Ninh has been consistently active in social issues, including post-war legacies such as the Agent Orange/dioxin issue.  She has a special interest in gender and recently established the Global Vietnamese Women Network, a women’s NGO linking up Vietnamese women in Vietnam and abroad actively contributing to Viet Nam’s international integration.

Lene Oftedal

Lene Oftedal is a Seconded National Expert in the Directorate-General for Education and Culture at the European Commission in Brussels since the beginning of 2008. In the Unit for Higher Education and Erasmus, she is working on policy development for reforms in Higher Education, both within the Lisbon Strategy and the Bologna-process. She is also in charge of facilitating the Bologna Experts, recognition issues, mapping HEIs.

Prior to her secondment, Ms. Oftedal was Senior Adviser in the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. In this capacity some of her main responsibilities included the enhancement of international cooperation at higher education-level, incl. Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus and the bilateral cooperation with countries outside EU/EEA-area, as Russia, US, Canada and Western Balkan.

Patricia Pol

Graduated from a French « Grande école », ESSEC business school  in 1980, Patricia Pol has worked in the private sector of multinational corporations before entering the world of teaching and research. Doctor in management sciences in 1996, she is associate professor at the University Paris 12 Val de Marne. Her teaching concerns international management and human resource management and her research is about internationalization of organizations and more particularly international staff mobility.

In charge of the international development of her university since 1991, Vice president of the Université Paris-Est since 2007, she has coordinated several international and European projects all over the world. Expert for the French National evaluation agency, she has participated in the evaluation of the internationalization processes of different French universities. She has contributed as well to different studies related to the Socrates programme, the international scholarship system of the French government, and the CampusFrance agency.

Since September 2004, Patricia Pol has been coordinating the French experts Bologna team and participating in many conferences about the Bologna process in France, Europe, Africa  and Latin America

Jan Sadlak

Dr. Jan SADLAK is Director of UNESCO-European Centre for Higher Education (UNESCO-CEPES) in Bucharest, Romania. Prior to this he was Chief of the Section for Higher Education Policy and Reform in UNESCO, Paris.

Jan Sadlak holds an MA degree in economics from the Oskar Lange Economics, Academy in Wrocław, Poland, and a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Buffalo/SUNY, USA. He is a member of the governing boards and scientific councils of various organizations and editorial boards of the leading journals in the field of higher education and science policy. He received a number of high rank academic and national distinctions, including five honorary doctorates (Doctor Honoris Causa) from the prestigious universities in Romania, Russian Federation, and Ukraine. He is a Member Correspondent of the European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Humanities – Academia Europensis, Paris, France, and a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, San Francisco, USA. He is an Honorary Senator of the University of Maribor, Slovenia. 

His research interests and publications cover such topics as processes of reform and transformation in higher education and science policy, organization of doctoral studies and qualifications, private higher education, “world-class university”, quality assurance and university ranking, ethical dimension of higher education and academic values.

Hans Hendrik Saxild

Hans Henrik Saxild is the vice-dean for international affairs at Technical University of Denmark (DTU). He took this position in 2005 after fifteen years as teacher, researcher and administrator at the Department of Biotechnology at DTU. Hans Henrik Saxild holds a PhD form University of Copenhagen in Microbial Molecular Genetics and has worked as post doc, assistant professor and associate professor in Biotechnology at DTU. He has published a series of scientific papers on microbial gene function. He was appointed professor in 2007.

As vice-dean Hans Henrik Saxild are responsible for the development and implementation of the university strategy for internationalization of education and studies. DTU faces serious challenges on the international market for education. Students from non EU countries must pay high tuition fees at Danish universities. To stay competitive DTU has to develop unique MSc programs and provide attractive financial offers to the best over seas students. Keywords are quality, reliability and substance.

His work has until now focused on the development of modern and attractive master programs and the subsequent international recruitment of good engineering students. Hans Henrik Saxild participates in the national effort of marketing the Study in Denmark concept and represents DTU at meetings held by EU, CESAER, EUA and other international organisations.

Sir Peter Scott

Peter Scott is Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University and President of the Academic Cooperation Association. Prior to this he was Pro Vice-Chancellor for External Affairs at the University of Leeds, as well as a Professor of Education and the Director of the Centre for Policy Studies in Education. Before going to Leeds in 1992, he was for sixteen years Editor of the Times Higher Education Supplement.

Peter Scott was educated at the University of Oxford and at the University of California at Berkeley. He has honorary doctorates from the University of Bath, UMIST, the (former) Council for National Academic Awards, Anglia Polytechnic University and Grand Valley State University. He is also a Member of the Academia Europea and of the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences. In December 2006, Peter Scott was knighted in recognition of his contribution to higher education both in the UK and at the international level.

His research interests are the governance and management of universities and colleges, non-standard access to higher education and the links between further and higher education. Among his publications are The Meanings of Mass Higher Education (1995), Governing Universities (1996), The Globalization of Higher Education (1998) and Higher Education Re-formed (2000), University Leadership: The Role of the Chief Executive (2000), Ten Years On: Higher Education in Central and Eastern Europe (2000) and Re-Thinking Science: Knowledge Production in an Age of Uncertainties (2001).

Catharine Stimpson

Born in Bellingham, Washington, educated at Bryn Mawr College, Cambridge University, and Columbia University, Catharine R. Stimpson is University Professor and Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University. From January, 1994, to October, 1997, she served as Director of the Fellows Program at the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. Simultaneously, she was on leave from her position as University Professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick, where, from 1986-1992, she was also Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education. Before that, she was also the first director of its Women’s Center at Barnard College.

Currently the editor of a book series for the University of Chicago Press, she was previously the founding editor of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society from 1974-80. Professor Stimpson has written a novel, Class Notes (1979, 1980), edited of seven books, written a column in Change magazine from 1992 to 1994 and has also published over 150 monographs, essays, stories, and reviews, as well as served as co-editor of the two-volume Library of America edition of the works of Gertrude Stein.

Professor Stimpson has lectured at approximately 360 institutions and events in the United States and abroad. Her public service has included the chairpersonships of the New York State Council for the Humanities, the National Council for Research on Women, and the Ms. Magazine Board of Scholars. She served as the President of the Association of Graduate Schools as well as the Modern Language Association. She is now a member of the board of directors of several educational and cultural organizations. Professor Stimpson holds honorary degrees from 13 US and international universities. She has also won Fulbright and Rockefeller Humanities Fellowships.

Rolf Tarrach

Dr. Rolf Tarrach is the rector of the new University of Luxemburg as of 2005.  Dr. Tarrach is professor of theoretical physics, and has served in that capacity at the universities of Valencia and Barcelona as well as the University of Saint Petersburg.  Many organizations have taken advantage of his breath of knowledge and his command of languages.  He is a former president of the CSIC (the Spanish Scientific Research Council), and a former member of EURAB, EUROHORCS, ESOF2004 (and 2006, and 2008).  The EU Commission has availed themselves of Dr.Tarrach’s services at various times. He is currently on the EUA Council.

Ulrich Teichler

Ulrich Teichler is professor at the International Centre for Higher Education Research (INCHER-Kassel) of the University of Kassel, Germany; he served as director of the Centre for 16 years. He was active as professor on part-time basis in Belgium, Japan and the U.S. and spent extended periods of research in Japan and the Netherlands. His key areas research are higher education and the world of work, international comparison of high­er education systems, and international cooperation and mobility in higher education (among others major evaluation studies of ERASMUS); he wrote more than 1,000 academic publications.

Ulrich Teichler is a member of the International Academy of Education and the Academia Europaea, former chairman of the Consor­tium of Higher Education Researchers (CHER) as well as former president and honorary member of EAIR; he was awared the Research Prize of CIEE (1997), the Comenius Prize of UNESCO (1998) and the doctor honoris causa of the Uni­ver­sity of Turku, Finland (2006).

Mikko Toivonen

Mikko Toivonen is Director of Helsinki Education and Research Area (HERA), a consortium of all 18 higher education institutes in the Helsinki Metropolitan Region in Finland. HERA is developing international activities for all institutes and enhancing joint services offered for international students and staff. The key development projects of HERA include international marketing and recruitment, career services, and Finnish and Swedish language teaching for international students. 

Mikko Toivonen has been building the HERA capabilities and cooperation since the founding of the consortium in 2005. He has been an active participant in several educational and regional development strategy processes in both regional and national level. Previously he has worked in various tasks of internationalisation in University of Helsinki and as a researcher in University of Helsinki and University of Tampere. He has also been a Fulbright Scholar in University of Minnesota.

Rait Toompere

Rait Toompere is the Chairman of the Board of the Foundation Archimedes – independent body established in 1997 by the Ministry of Education to manage the European Union education and research programmes. Departments of the Foundation Archimedes include Centre for Educational Programmes, Estonian National Agency for Youth in Action Programme, Research Cooperation Centre, Centre of Higher Education Accreditation, Academic Mobility Centre and most recently joined Implementing Agency of Structural Funds.   He is also the Director of the Centre for Educational Programmes, implementing body of the European Union Lifelong Learning Programme (follower of the Socrates Estonian National Agency).

Rait has graduated form the University of Tartu, where he studied history and art history. He has written more than 100 publications in the field of art. Rait has ten years experience as part time lecturer at Tartu University. His earlier posts include consultant of art issues by the Estonian Artists Union, president of Tartu Artists Society and director of artists cooperation ARTES, but also alderman and later deputy mayor  in the fields of education, culture and social affairs for Tartu City Government.

Aune Valk

Dr. Aune Valk is a native of Estonia and has her Ph.D. in psychology from Tartu University.  She has recently been a visiting researcher at University of Sussex in the UK and in Clark University in the US. She has a distinguished career at the University of Tartu as a teacher, researcher and administrator, e.g. director of the Department of Academic Affairs.   She is currently Director of the Open University Centre at the University of Tartu.  Dr. Valk has published extensively on university pedagogics, particularly on adult learning and e-learning, and in the area of identity and ethnicity.

Marijk van der Wende

Marijk van der Wende is a professor in higher education at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and a visiting professor at the Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) at the University of Twente. Van der Wende holds bachelor degrees in teaching and pedagogy, and a master and doctoral (Ph.D) degree in educational sciences (from the University of Amsterdam and the University of Utrecht respectively). After an initial phase in primary and secondary education (1980-1986), she worked and studied in France (1986-1990). From 1990 to 2002 she held positions at NUFFIC (the Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education), the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) in Brussels, and the University of Amsterdam.

She is the founding dean of Amsterdam University College, an international liberal arts & science college established jointly by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Universiteit van Amsterdam. In 2001 she was a visiting scholar at the Centre for Studies in Higher Education, at Berkeley. She was responsible for the CHEPS PhD programme from 2001-2005 and was a senior lecturer on the Erasmus Mundus Master Programme on Higher Education from 2003-2007.

Professor Van der Wende has published widely on how the processes of internationalisation and Europeanisation affect higher education systems. She is chair of the Honours Programme and chair of the Internationalization Board of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the President of the Governing Board of the Programme on Institutional Management in Higher Education (IMHE) of the OECD, member of the Governing Board of Nuffic, member of the Scientific Board of the Dutch Military Academy, and member of various national and international advisory committees and editorial boards.

Bernd Wächter

Bernd Wächter is the Director of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA), a consortium of European and global agencies which support international cooperation in higher education. ACA is a think-tank which promotes innovation and internationalisation in higher education. Bernd was born in Giessen (Germany) and studied at the universities of Hull (UK), Giessen and Marburg (Germany).  He lives in Brussels (Belgium) and is married to Thora Magnusdottir, a delightful lady from Iceland.

Bernd’s career has been focused on international higher education. In his first post, at the University of Kassel (Germany), he devised international degree programmes in cooperation with universities abroad. He later joined the British Council, before becoming the Director of the international office of the Fachhochschule Darmstadt. Moving on to Germany’s internationalisation agency DAAD, he became the head of this organisation’s European section. He subsequently became Director of Higher Education in the Brussels Socrates Office, with overall responsibility for the Erasmus Programme in Europe. In 1998, he took up his present post as the director of ACA. Bernd has published widely on international matters in higher education, and he is a frequent speaker at European and international education conferences. He is the editor of the ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Higher Education and.  He also works, as an expert advisor, for many international organisations. 

Barbara Weitgruber

Barbara Weitgruber holds a “Magister” degree in English/American and Interdisciplinary Studies, a Certificate in Mass Media and a Translator´s Diploma in English from Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Austria and a M. A. in Communications from the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA, where she started her professional career as a Fulbright Scholar and Teaching Assistant. She was founding staff member and then director of the Office for International Relations and lecturer at Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Austria and Director of the Office for European Educational Co-operation of the Austrian Academic Exchange Service in Vienna, Austria. In December 1994 she joined the Austrian Ministry in charge of higher education and research as head of department, later became Deputy Director General for Higher Education and Director General for Scientific Research and International Relations. She is currently in charge of Strategy and Coordination in the field of international relations with special consideration for the interface science – research – education at the Federal Ministry of Science and Research, Vienna, Austria. She is also chairs the Working Group “European Higher Education Area in a Global Setting” in the Bologna Process.


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