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Brussels, 2 February 2007

What’s new in Brussels? Recent developments in European policies and programmes


Europe, and the European Commission in particular, play an increasingly important role for our continent’s higher education institutions. The Commission’s policies have an impact on institutional missions and positioning, and their programmes provide an important source of funding. It is therefore essential for universities and colleges in Europe to learn, as early as possible, about new trends on the European agenda. To do just this, i.e. to familiarise higher education institutions with the latest developments in European policy and programmes in education, training and research, is the purpose of ACA’s European Policy Seminars.

“What’s new in Brussels 2007” featured the latest information on, and analysis of, the new Lifelong Learning Programme, Erasmus Mundus and enhancing the attractiveness of European higher education, European higher education reform (Bologna and Lisbon Processes) and other issues. Angelique Verli (European Commission), Siegbert Wuttig (DAAD), Jurgen Rienks (European Commission), Diego Sammaritano (European Commission), Louise Watts (EduFrance) and ACA Director Bernd Wächter presented the latest developments in their area of expertise.


Thursday 1 February 2007

19:30            Welcome dinner @ Au Stekerlapatte

Friday 2 February 2007




Welcome and introduction
Bernd Wächter, Director, ACA


Erasmus Mundus and European attractiveness: new developments
Angelique Verli, European Commission


European higher education reform: Lisbon and Bologna, not far from 2010
Jurgen Rienks, European Commission


Coffee break 


Higher education in the new Lifelong Learning Programme: how to teach an old dog new tricks
Siegbert Wuttig, DAAD


The Atlantis programme: new perspectives in transatlantic cooperation?
Diego Sammaritano, European Commission




The European Higher Education Fairs: lessons from Thailand and India
Louise Watts, EduFrance


The external dimension of the Bologna Process
Bernd Wächter, ACA


Coffee break


Closing panel: European policy and European programmes in higher education: echo or contradiction? 


Wrap up and end of seminar


Angelique Verli

Angelique Verli is a senior Commission official in the Directorate-General for Education and Culture at the European Commission in Brussels. She currently heads the Unit responsible for EU higher education initiatives with non-EU countries. Her responsibilities include the Tempus MEDA, CARDS and TACIS programmes, the Erasmus Mundus European Masters and global exchange programme and bilateral cooperation agreements in higher education with the United States, Canada and Japan among others.

Angelique has worked on a broad range of the European Union’s educational initiatives during her career at the Commission. She was one of the motors behind the Erasmus programme in its earlier phases and was until recently the Head of the Unit responsible for school and higher education policy development. She has been involved in the development of the ECTS credit transfer system, the general framework for basic educational competencies and skills, and the EIT.

Jurgen Rienks

Jurgen Rienks is a Seconded National Expert in the Directorate-General for Education and Culture at the European Commission in Brussels. In the Unit for School Education and Higher Education, he is working on policy development for reforms in Higher Education, both within the Lisbon Strategy and the Bologna-process. He is in charge of facilitating the open method of coordination for higher education as coordinator of the Cluster on modernisation of higher education.

Before his secondment, Jurgen was responsible as Head of Unit for bilateral educational affairs at the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. In this capacity some of his main responsibilities included the enhancement of international cooperation at higher education-level and the bilateral cooperation with other European ministries. Within the Education Ministry he started working in the student finance department in 1993, developing new policies for grants, loans and fees for almost seven years.

Siegbert Wuttig

Dr Siegbert Wuttig is the Head of Department for “EU Programmes and the Bologna Process” in the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). In this capacity, he is, amongst other tasks, responsible for the implementation of (the decentralised parts of) the entire Erasmus Programme in Germany, as well as for Erasmus Mundus. He also represents his country on various EU programme committees. In recent years, Siegbert has been involved at a high level in the Bologna Process activities of his country.  He organised, for example, together with the German Rectors’ Conference the 2003 Bologna Ministerial Meeting in Berlin. He also has a track record in international traineeships, having been the national secretary of IAESTE Germany for a number of years.

Siegbert is a psychologist and specialist on Romance languages and literature with a Ph.D. from Würzburg University.

Diego Sammaritano

Diego Sammaritano holds a MA degree in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Palermo (Italy) and a second MA Degree in European Integration and Development from the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB, Belgium). In the very early stages of the Erasmus Programme (1990) he spent one semester at the then Thames Polytechnic in London (now University of Greenwich) studying marketing and international business.

After having worked for three years at the San Paolo Bank in Italy, he started his career in the European Commission in 1994 working in the Directorate General for External Relations as desk officer for trade relations with Japan. He was in charge of the Executive Training Programme in Japan and for the EU export promotion campaign Gateway to Japan. He also served in the Directorate General for Enterprises carrying responsibility for access to finance for SMEs.

Since 2003 Diego has been serving in Directorate General for Education and Culture as programme manager for education cooperation with industrialised countries. In this capacity he coordinated the EU-US and EU-Canada cooperation programmes as well as pilot projects with Japan, Australia and New Zealand. He has been in charge of the renewal of the education agreements with the U.S. and Canada. Working in close contact with the U.S. Department of Education, Diego has developed the new EU-US Atlantis programme focusing on transatlantic joint and double degrees.

Louise Watts

Louise Watts is international programmes manager at EduFrance, the national agency in charge of the promotion of French higher education abroad. Louise is responsible for coordinating EduFrance’s replies to calls for tender and the agency’s participation in EU projects. She is the acting Event Coordinator for the series of European Higher Education Fairs (EHEFs) in Asia funded by the European Commission’s Asia-Link programme and implemented by the consortium consisting of DAAD, Nuffic and British Council and led by EduFrance.

Before joining EduFrance in 2004, Louise Watts was in charge of the bilateral language assistants’ programme between France and the United Kingdom and Russia at the Centre international d’études pédagogiques. Louise is a qualified teacher in both the UK and France and holds a Masters degree in Linguistics.

Bernd Wächter

Bernd Wächter is the chief executive officer (Director) of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA). In this capacity, which he has held since 1998, he bears overall responsibility for the implementation of all ACA policy. Earlier on (1995 – 1997), he was the Head of the Erasmus Department in the then Socrates and Youth TAO, which implemented the centralised parts of the Erasmus Programme on behalf of the European Commission. Between 1992 and 1995, he headed the German national agency for the Erasmus Programme inside the DAAD, which also had important national information functions for the COMETT, LINGUA and TEMPUS schemes. His experience with internationalisation also relates to the institutional level, through his functions as head of the international office of the Fachhochschule Darmstadt, and as a departmental coordinator of international relations at the Gesamthochschule Kassel. He has also worked for the British Council. Bernd Wächter has published and lectured widely on issues of Europeanisation and internationalisation of higher education. He is the editor of the ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Education.


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