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Brussels, 13 October 2006

Cooperation in higher education between Europe and other world regions: Latin America


Europe is increasingly looking beyond its borders. Cooperation in higher education within Europe has been a stunning success story, but there are still shortcomings when it comes to cooperation with other world regions, and to the number of non-European students studying at Europe’s universities. Following the success of ACA’s seminar on cooperation with Asia, this seminar was devoted to Europe’s relationship with a different world region: Latin America.

Latin America is at the same time Europe’s poor cousin and best friend. Proximity in culture, society and education is being evoked at every meeting between leaders of the two regions. Spain and Portugal see themselves as Europe’s gates to Latin America. Italy, France or Germany likewise build on their traditional links with the region when it comes to cooperation in higher education.

Despite the lip service praising Europe and Latin America as “natural partners”, reality is different. First, the US is and remains the preferred destination of Latin American students and researchers. Second, the European Union has in the recent past rather looked eastwards, and focused on Asia’s emerging knowledge economies as well as neighbouring countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. While European programmes like Alban or Alfa have enabled a number of worthwhile projects, their contribution has remained marginal, and their future is unsure.

What is happening in Latin America’s higher education systems and economies? How could the European Union, its member states and universities best cooperate with their counterparts in Latin America? What are possible models and tools to foster this cooperation? What is being done, and what are the perspectives for the future? How does bilateral cooperation fit in the European context? What works for European institutions, from strategic cooperation and targeted recruitment to the setting up of specific regional programmes? These and other questions were addressed at this seminar by European, national and institutional level experts.


Thursday 12 October 2006


Welcome dinner @ Café du Vaudeville

 Friday 13 October 2006


Registration and coffee


Welcome / Opening
Franziska Muche, ACA


Higher education and internationalisation in Latin America – emerging identity or backyard of the US and Europe?
Hans de Wit, The Hague Forum for Judicial Expertise/independent consultant, The Netherlands


Mexico: embracing North America, South America and Europe
Stefan Lauterbach, Saarland University


Short intervention
Establishing a multi-national and multi-sectoral accreditation system in Central America. The Role of DAAD
Christoph Hansert, DAAD, Germany


Coffee break


The Alban programme: lessons from the past, predictions for the future
Alberto Sereno
Alßan Office, Santander Group of Universities / University of Porto, Portugal


European policy towards Latin America: the place of higher education, ideas for the future
Ramon Torrent, University of Barcelona and OBREAL-EULARO, Spain




Intra- and interregional cooperation: Tuning educational structures in Latin America
Bastian Baumann, Tuning Latin America / FU Berlin, Germany


Curriculum development and double degrees: the undergraduate cycle for Latin-American (and Iberian Peninsula) studies at Sciences-Po
Smilja Dabène, Sciences-Po Paris in Poitiers, France


Coffee break


Round table discussion
Europe and Latin America, natural partners in higher education? How to get from lip service to action


End of the seminar


Hans de Wit

Hans de Wit is Director of The Hague Forum for Judicial Expertise of the Hague Academic Coalition, and Director Training and Education of the T.M.C. Asser Institute for Private and Public International Law in the Hague. He has also set up a private consultancy and research company called De Wit International Higher Education Consultancy. He is currently a Fulbright Scholar in the 2005-2006 New Century Program Higher Education in the 21st Century.

Hans de Wit has been the Director of the Office of Foreign Relations, Vice-President for International Affairs and Senior Advisor International at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands in the period 1986-2005. In 2006 he received the Honorary Medal of the Universiteit van Amsterdam for his long term services to the university, and an Award of the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) for outstanding leadership and contributions as Editor of the Journal of Studies in International Education from its infancy to the happy occasion of its tenth anniversary.

He is the Editor of the ‘Journal of Studies in International Education’, published by the Association for Studies in International Education and as of 2001 by SAGE publishers. He has written several articles and books on international education and is actively involved in assessment and consultancy in international education, for organisations like the World Bank, ESMU, the Salzburg Seminar, the European Commission, the European Universities Association (EUA) and IMHE/OECD. Hans de Wit is one of the founding members and a past president of the European Association for International Education (EAIE). Currently he is, among other positions, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of World Education Services (New York), and Chair of the Board of the Amsterdam School of International Relations (ASIR).

Latin America and its higher education are well-known to Hans de Wit: one of his latest books is ‘Higher Education in Latin America: The International Dimension’, co-edited with Isabel Cristina Jaramillo, Jocelyne Gacel Avila and Jane Knight, and published in 2005 by the World Bank. He was a research assistant at the Center for Latin American Documentation and Studies in Amsterdam, 1977-1979. He did his masters in 1979 in social anthropology with a specialisation on Latin America at the University of Amsterdam. From 1979-1981 he was an associate professor in Latin American Studies at the University of Utrecht. He has studied, worked and published as a researcher and development consultant in Peru, Ecuador and Central America in the seventies and eighties.

Stefan Lauterbach

Stefan Lauterbach is currently director of the international office of the Saarland University in Germany. One of his main duties has been the implementation of a strategy for the internationalisation of his university. He also co-ordinates programmes with Latin America and represents the Saarland University in a specific Alfa Project concerning the Internationalisation of the Higher Education system in the EU – Latin America Area .

Stefan Lauterbach has a large experience as a representative of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) and was a visiting professor in Córdoba, Argentina (1991-1996) and Mexico City (1999-2004). While working for the Mexico branch office of the DAAD, he had the opportunity to co-ordinate the marketing activities of both the DAAD and GATE in Mexico. Among other activities, he organised the German educational fair “Edu-Alemania” and later on coordinated the German participation in the European educational fairs “Edu-Europa” in Mexico.

Christoph Hansert

Christoph Hansert is head of department for University Management and Consultancy Projects at the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) since 2005. Before taking up this position, he was “Senior Project Manager Capacity building for international Quality Assurance Projects” at the department of education of InWEnt (Internationale Weiterbildung und Entwicklung) in Bonn with regional emphasis on Central America and Indonesia. Earlier, he was employed at InWEnt as expert for core issues regarding company development in Berlin. Previously, he worked at the German Foundation for International Development.

Christoph Hansert has studied political science, economics and history at the universities of Freiburg, Heidelberg, Washington D.C. and FU Berlin and completed a postgraduate course at the German Development Institute, Berlin (now Bonn); complemented by research stays in Argentina and Chile.

Alberto Sereno

Alberto Sereno is Director of Alßan Office – Santander Group of Universities, responsible for the implementation of Programme Alßan – European Union Programme of High Level Scholarships for Latin America (2002-2010) since its start in 2002 and Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Porto in Portugal.

The AlBan Office, located in the University of Porto has, among others, the following attributions: launching of calls to scholarship applications, scholarship follow-up, promotion and diffusion of Programme Alßan. This programme has selected so far 2513 applications to be supported out of more than 16 thousand applications received during the four calls for applications already completed. It is expected that around 3900 Latin American students and professionals will benefit from these scholarships, in the European Union, until 2010. The programme will enable Latin American students and professionals, future academics and decision-makers in their own countries, to benefit from the excellence of the Higher Education Area in the European Union.

He is 57 years old and comes from Porto, northwestern Portugal. He is a Doctor in Chemical Engineering from the University of Porto and holds a M.Sc. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Connecticut, USA. His research interests are in the area of Food Science and Engineering. He is the author or co-author of over 50 scientific publications in the area. He held for several years positions at the Portuguese Institution of Engineers (Coordinator for the Chemical Engineering college and Vice-President for the Northern Region branch).

Ramon Torrent

Ramon Torrent is Professor of Political Economy at the University of Barcelona (UB) and coordinator of the Observatory of EU – Latin America Relations (OBREAL-EULARO).

He was actively involved in higher education policy in Spain from 1966 until 1986. First as one of the leading members of the democratic student movement under Franco’s dictatorship; then as a representative of University lecturers during the democratic transition; and finally as vice rector of the University of Barcelona from 1978 to 1986, in which capacity he was responsible for the drafting of the new by-laws of the University.

He entered the Legal Service of the EU Council in 1988 and was promoted in 1994 to the position of Director for International Relations. During that period he was in charge of the legal aspects of the EU Council decisions concerning the opening of negotiations and the signature and conclusion of the new wave of agreements with MERCOSUR, Chile and Mexico (1995-1997).

He returned voluntarily to the UB in 1998 and developed a line of research and teaching on international economic relations and regional integration as well as on EU – Latin America relations. Since December 2004, he coordinates the Observatory of EU – Latin America Relations, a consortium of 23 leading academic institutions from the EU and Latin America created in order to develop a three-year cooperation project funded by the European Commission.

Bastian Baumann

Bastian Baumann is an independent consultant at the moment. He has a very rich experience in higher education. He is an advisor to the co-ordinator of the Thematic Network for languages TNP3 and a National Bologna Promoter, earlier he worked as a consultant for the E4 group on the European register for quality assurance agencies.

Bastian is a member of several boards, a. o. the Senate’s commission on education at Universität Trier, the executive board of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the standing commission on studies, education and student affairs of the German rectors’ conference (HRK), the Bologna Process Committee of ESIB – The National Unions of Students in Europe and the Management Committee of the project „Tuning Educational Structures in Latin America”.

He performed various functions in the local student union executive at Universität Trier, furthermore, he was officer of the German national union of students (fzs) for European higher education politics.

He combined these activities with studies of Anglo-American law and studies of German law, special focus on European law, international public law and laws of international organisations at Universität Trier; studies of Spanish law at Universidad de Málaga, Spain; studies of German law at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, with special focus on European law, international public law and laws of international organisations and he is starting a Master in Higher Education Programme at Universität Kassel in October.

Smilja Dabène

Smilja Dabène is currently the international development manager at the Science Po undergraduate campus for Latin American and Iberian studies. In this capacity, she coordinates the administration of student admissions from Latin America, Spain and Portugal and the promotion of the range of degree programs offered by Sciences Po Paris. She organises the international mobility of students and develops relations and projects with local, national and diplomatic partners in these countries.

Previously in charge of international marketing and development for Euromed Marseille – School of Management, Smilja’s experience in the field of academic cooperation with Latin America has been rich, particularly with the southern cone. She has combined these activities with teaching Latin American and Iberian culture and language, international affairs and intercultural management.

Smilja comes from Chile. She holds a Master degree in International Affairs from the University of Aix-Marseille.


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