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Brussels, 24 January 2013

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


ACA European Policy Seminars are all well-attended. The first one every year, What’s new in Brussels? , is always heavily oversubscribed. So register fast to be sure to secure a place at What’s new in Brussels? 2013, to take place on 24 January in  the city with the same name.

As its subtitle says, this seminar is to update participants on the latest “developments in European policies and programmes”.  This year, there is important news galore. The negotiations over the new European education and research programmes Erasmus for all and Horizon 2020 are likely to be in the last and crucial rounds at the time of the seminar. Also in the final stages of preparation will be the new EU strategy for higher education cooperation with non-European countries. Jo Ritzen, the former Dutch education minister, will provide the opening keynote speech on his vision for stronger European universities.

Jo Ritzen is not the only luminary speaking at the seminar. As usual, you will get the news from high-level experts, many of whom “come from the source”, so to speak, i.e. the European institutions, national ministries, and NGOs in Brussels.


Wednesday 23 January



Seminar dinner

Thursday 24 January





Welcome and introduction
Bernd Wächter, ACA (Brussels, Belgium)


Empowering European Universities
Jo Ritzen and Cecile Hoareau, EmpowerEurope (Maastricht,The Netherlands)


Erasmus 4 all: the state of play
Jordi Curell, European Commission (Brussels, Belgium)


Coffee break


Higher Education in Erasmus 4 all: views and expectations of stakeholders
Anna Atlas, Foundation for the Developments of the Education System (FRSE) (Warsaw, Poland)
Jonna Korhonen, European University Association (EAU) (Brussels, Belgium)
Karina Ufert, European Student Union (ESU) (Brussels, Belgium)


The European Commission’s foreign policy in higher education: issues for the ‘Internationalisation Communication’
Claire Morel, European Commission (Brussels, Belgium)


Sandwich lunch


Horizon 2020 and the ERA: where do we stand?
Peter van der Hijden, European Commission (Brussels, Belgium)


The European Institute of Technology: Institutional development and operational activity
Endika Bengoetxea, European Institute of Technology (Budapest, Hungary)


The Bologna mobility strategy
Birgit Galler, Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Berlin, Germany)


Conclusions and farewell coffee
Bernd Wächter


Bernd Wächter

Bernd Wächter is the Director of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA). He studied at the universities of Hull (UK), Giessen and Marburg (Germany). His career has been focused on international higher education. He worked for the University of Kassel, the British Council, and the Fachhochschule Darmstadt, before joining The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) as the head of their EU division. He subsequently became the director for Higher Education (Erasmus) in the Brussels Socrates Office. In 1998, he took up his present post as ACA Director.Bernd Wächter has published and lectured widely on international higher education. He is the editor of the ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Education. He has been the team leader of ACA’s research projects and speaks frequently at major governmental and stakeholder conferences, in Europe and beyond, on the issue of mobility and internationalisation.  Bernd Wächter has two children. He is married to Thora Magnusdottir, a delightful lady from Iceland.

Jo Ritzen

Jozef Ritzen, a Dutch national, was President of Maastricht University from February 2003 – January 2011. During that period the Maastricht University grew out to become one of the leading international teaching research universities, with almost half of its students from abroad and problem based learning as the style of education. Before that Dr. Ritzen was Vice President of the World Bank’s Development Economics Department from August 1999. In July 2001 he assumed the position Vice President of the World Bank’s Human Development Network. Dr. Ritzen joined the Bank as Special Adviser to the Human Development Network in September 1998. Prior to coming to the Bank, he was Minister of Education, Culture, and Science of The Netherlands, one of the longest-serving Ministers of Education in the world. During his term, he enacted a series of major reforms throughout the Dutch education system. He has also made significant contributions to agencies such as UNESCO and OECD, especially in the field of education and social cohesion. Prior to his appointment as Minister in 1989, Dr. Ritzen held academic appointments with Nijmegen University and Erasmus University in The Netherlands, the University of California-Berkeley and the Robert M. LaFollette Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US. He has written or co-authored eleven books. Many articles written or co-authored by him are published in the fields of education, economics, public finance and development economics.He is now honorary professor of Maastricht University, senior advisor to the International Institute of Labor Studies IZA in Bonn, member of the International Advisory Board of RANEPA (Moskou) and KAU (Jeddah), adviser to several ministers of education, Chair and Founder of Empower European Universities and Initiator of the Vibrant Europe Forum.

Cecile Hoareau

Dr Cecile Hoareau is Project leader of Empower European Universities and Research fellow at UNU-MERIT Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology.She is also a research associate at the University of Berkeley Center for Studies in Higher Education, where she was a Fulbright-Schuman postdoctoral scholar, and previously worked at the European Commission Directorate General for Education and Culture. Dr Hoareau obtained her PhD at the London School of Economics. She has published internationally on comparative higher education policy. Further information is available at 

Jordi Curell

Jordi Curell has a law background and since 1986 has worked in different positions in the European Commission, including in DG Employment, where he was responsible for coordinating the preparation and implementation of the European Social Agenda.Jordi Curell is presently the director responsible for Higher Education and international affairs in the European Commission, DG Education and Culture. The mission of the directorate includes supporting excellence through structural reform of Higher Education in Europe and the reinforcement of the knowledge triangle. In the context of a global competition for talent, its aim is to make Europe more attractive for students, scholars and researchers and to respond to the need for skills that are crucial for an inclusive knowledge-based economy.This aim is achieved through policies and programmes such as Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus and Marie Curie Actions, aiming to promote international and intersectoral mobility and partnerships, as well as to support international cooperation (including capacity building) and also to stimulate European integration through excellence in European Studies throughout the world in implementing and developing the Jean Monnet programme The directorate also supports the long-term development of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a showcase for tackling societal challenges and for boosting Europe’s innovation capacity.

Anna Atlas

Graduated in history and German philology from the University of Warsaw. Holder of both DAAD and Robert Bosch Foundation scholarships. In the years 1992-2003 collaborated with and worked at the National School of Public Administration (KSAP). Since 1998 Head of the Modern Languages and Communication Department. Since 2004 she worked for the Cooperation Fund for the Leonardo da Vinci programme. Since 2007 Lifelong Learning Programme Deputy Director for LdV in Foundation for the Development of the Education System (FRSE); since 2009 Director of LLP responsible for Erasmus, Comenius, and Study Visits programmes, as well as the European Language Label.

Jonna Korhonen

Jonna Korhonen is Project Officer/Data-analyst at the European University Association (EUA). At EUA her main focus is to follow-up and contribute to various higher education policy developments at EU level through projects, policy input and policy dialogue.  She is the co-author of the 2010 “Trends” report, which analyses a decade of policy change in European higher education, and has been involved in several EUA projects related to the Bologna Process and lifelong learning. Within the project work she is in particular responsible for data management and analysis.  Jonna started her career in Finland working  with the internationalisation of the Finnish universities. In addition, she has worked for the Universities Finland UNIFI as Senior Adviser.  Jonna has a Master-level degree in Geography from University of Turku (Finland).

Karina Ufert

Karina Ufert is a Chairperson of European Students’ Union for academic year 2012/ 2013, previously she has served as an Executive Committee member (2010/11) and a Vice-Chairperson for ESU (2011/12). Karina is responsible for overall ESU policy and advocacy coordination. She is also co-chairing Bologna Follow-up Group for Social Dimension and Lifelong learning (2012-15) and elected member of the Bureau of a Steering Committee on Educational Policies and Practices of the Council of Europe.Karina has a broad experience in institutional governance and quality management, she has been a member of a management group at her home institution (Vilnius University), later joined a number of institutional reviews with European University Association, Irish Universities Quality Board and other. Currently Karina is involved in the drafting group for revising the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG) for Quality assurance.

Claire Morel

Claire Morel has worked for the past 17 years in the field of international cooperation in education and training. Before joining the European Commission, she worked at the European Training Foundation, and agency of the EU based in Turin, on the modernisation of vocational education and training systems in the Eastern neighbouring countries. She then moved to DG Education and Culture (DG EAC) of the European Commission where she worked for the Tempus programme (for higher education modernisation), dealing mainly with Central Asian countries, and the programme’s external communication. She is now deputy head of the unit for international cooperation and programmes in DG EAC and her work concentrates on international policy dialogue in education and training, in particular with the EU’s neighbouring countries, and preparing the next generation of EU international education programmes.

Peter van der Hijden

Peter Van der Hijden works for the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, in the Skills Unit dealing with Universities and Researchers. Dossiers of the Unit include university funding, human resources strategies, research performance assessment, researchers’ training, -career and -mobility, all contributing to the creation of the ‘Innovation Union’ and the European Research Area (ERA).Peter has worked for the European Commission in the field of transport (inland waterways), but his main experience lies in higher education and research: the Erasmus Programme, the modernisation agenda for universities, the European Higher Education Area (Bologna Process) and the European Research Area. Peter has studied law at Nymegen, Leyden and Maastricht University. Before moving to Brussels, he worked at the University Council and the Law Research Committee of Maastricht University.

Endika Bengoetxea

Endika Bengoetxea has a BSc in Computer Science from the universities of the Basque Country (ES) and Brighton (England), an MSc in medical imaging from the University of Aberdeen (Scotland), and a PhD in Image and Signal Processing from Télécom Paris in France.Currently, Dr. Bengoetxea holds the position of Senior Education Officer at the EIT since April 2012, and he is leader of the team in charge of the education, entrepreneurship and innovation agendas in collaboration with EIT’s KICs (Knowledge Innovation Communities). Previously he worked three years in DG Education and Culture as higher education policy officer and Erasmus programme manager, as responsible for the coordination of Erasmus centralised actions and the EACEA, the Erasmus University Charter, Erasmus Country Desk Officer for the UK, and in policy works notably on third cycle policy, quality assurance and transparency tools. Before joining the European Commission, he worked from 1996 to 2009 as professor at the University of the Basque Country in Spain.Being a former Erasmus student in 1993/94 in the UK, Dr. Bengoetxea had several management positions in the University of the Basque Country related to international relations. From 2001 to 2009 he has also been independent academic expert in DG EAC and DG INFSO programmes such as Leonardo, Erasmus, Tempus, Erasmus Mundus, FP6 and FP7.

Birgit Galler

Birgit Galler is a staff member of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.Since 2004 she has been Head of the Department „International Exchange in Higher Education, Internationalisation“ in the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (in charge of: the Bologna Process, mobility and exchange of students, graduates and scientists. Cooperation with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, DAAD, Fulbright Commission, DFH)Birgit Galler studied in Bonn, Paris and Bern. She studied Modern History and Romance Studies in Bern, Bonn, Strasbourg and Brussels. She received a promotion in Bern for the theme: Belgian-French connection between the World Wars.


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