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The international conference “University and Inclusion”, organized by the Fondazione Sicurezza e Liberta in Rome (Italy) on December 14 and 15, 2023, became the summarizing dissemination event of the 1st year of the UNICOM project.

All participants presented the results of their research on the role of the Universities and associations in European cooperation, the specifics of their interaction with communities and stakeholders, as well as the implementation of foreign experience in the work of Universities with communities.

Felice Romano and Alessandro Figus, along with their welcoming speeches to the conference participants, emphasized the need to ensure the safety of communities, the role of research and the scientific community in responsible informing communities about changes and international cooperation trends, in case of studying public needs and its redress, etc.

Menico Rizzi a member of the Executive Board of the National Agency for the Assessment of the Universities and Scientific Research (ANVUR) spoke about the tasks and main activities of the agency, including the initial and periodic review of the activities of the Universities and their educational programs, as well as the assessment of the quality of scientific research (VQR).

In continuation of the conversation about the quality of education Nataliia Stukalo, the Deputy Head of the National Agency for Quality Assurance of Higher Education has presented the Ukrainian experience regarding the Third mission of the Universities during wartime, emphasizing that Universities should be aware of their special role as the educational institution and the institution of indomitability, a volunteer hub and the heart of the community.

Representatives of the Directorate of Economic Advancement, Higher Education of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, Oleksandra Laktionova and Olha Onoshko, informed the participants of the reform of public finance available in Ukraine, presented an updated concept of government financing of higher education which caused a discussion on the problem of providing paid educational services.

Under the mixed format of the conference, online participants had the opportunity to join a lively discussion and share their own experience of project implementation throughout the year, and participate in the discussion of pressing issues.

The unifying theme became a work with forced migrants as an education seeker in Ukraine and beyond. Thus, Professor Baiba Šavriņa (Riga) presented the experience of the University of Latvia and the overall geopolitical situation, and its effect on the impact on higher education exporting countries. During the discussion, the issue of mutual integration of the forcibly displaced students and the host community was raised, as well as the impact of such direction of internationalization on changes in the host HEI.

In the course of discussion the Researcher of the University of Glasgow, Ievgeniia Dragomirova spoke on Great Britain’s experience, regarding the status of Sanctuary Universities, and their role in community development from the representatives of forced migrants, appeared. Professors Yehor Nazymko and Mykhailo Boichenko shared the Ukrainian experience on the interaction between displaced citizens and HEI.

Generalization and features of the implementation of the Third Mission of Ukrainian Universities were dedicated to the speeches of associate professors Ruslana Kharkovenko, Olena Orzhel, Natalia Falko, and others.

The presentation by associate professor Oksana Golovko-Gavrysheva emphasized the differences between Ukrainian and European legal frameworks and practices for ensuring the Third mission of the Universities.

Head of the Ukrainian Association of Professors and Researchers of European Integration, associate professor Iryna Sikorska, spoke about the University-Community in partnership for Ukraine’s rebuilding.

It should be noted, that the expert’s experience of European partners regarding the activities of Universities in an inclusive space, which was presented by Professors Guido Amoretti and Niklas Bernsand, must be useful for Ukrainian HEI.

Alessandro Figus, project manager Diana Spulber, and the Head of the Erasmus+ office in Ukraine Svitlana Shitikova discussed with the conference’s participants the prospects of cooperation in the field of European Higher Education.

Please find materials of the Conference here
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