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The series of trainings provided by the University of Latvia, as part of the implementation of the project “Universities – communities – strengthening cooperation” (March 25-28, 2024, Riga, Latvia) have been dedicated to the study of the mechanisms of interaction between the University and the community on the way to their sustainable development, in the aspect of the economic growth of communities and the availability of education.

The project coordinator, B. Šavriņa and G. Berdziņš, Dean of the Faculty of Business, Management and Economics of the University of Latvia, presented the long-term achievements of the University’s experts in the development of lifelong education and the third mission, establishment of the cooperation with the municipality for the sustainable community development purpose including the economic aspect.

The role of the appropriate local mechanism of the third mission implementation at the  higher education institutions, as well as its place in regional development programs, was discussed by the President of the Municipal Council of Kuldiga I. Astaševska, Head of the branch R. Karloviĉa, Lecturer of the University K. Bẽrdziņa-Cunska and  Coordinator of the project Baiba Šavriņa at the branch of the University of Latvia in Kuldіga.

The significant experience of the University in promoting the employment of university graduates and the possibility of sustainable career growth were described in the speech of I. Bausova, director of the Management and Entrepreneurship Educational Center of the University of Latvia. The personal participation of the delegates in the network online game “Bankrupt” contributed to the processing of the obtained information.

The experience of involving young people in the creation and integration of startups was presented by L. Bẽrdziņa, head of the Business Incubator of the University of Latvia, are very interesting in the perspective of the best practices implementation by Ukrainian universities.

Professor H. Kaḽḳis familiarized the participants with the content of STEAM education and the new employer’s requirements and also noted that higher education provides an opportunity to acquire the skills of modern and innovative thinking that is necessary to solve economic problems.

The development of the discussion was facilitated by the participation of representatives of the Ukrainian universities consortium in the 82nd International Scientific Conference, session – ” Resilient universities and resilient communities”, where the nationwide historical development of higher education institutions and the peculiarities of the development of the internal structure of the University of Latvia were discussed, as well as the work to support sustainable demand for lifelong education, including obtaining a third (educational and scientific) degree.

The delegates of the Ukrainian consortium shared with the participants their own experience of the implementation of the third mission and also assessed the impact and consequences of the university’s relocation. Alessandro Figus, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Italy, with his speech about university resilience in modern conditions, finalized the discussion.

Intensive work at training and studying the expertise of the University of Latvia on the development of the third mission was bordered by a visit to the National Library of Latvia, where during the tour the directions of cooperation with the University and its role in the educational process were determined.

The concept of training, discussions, and study visits, considered by the Faculty of Business, Management and Economics of the University of Latvia, allowed the delegates of the Ukrainian consortium to form several insights for the effective implementation of project tasks in Ukraine.

“The educational visit to the University of Latvia, which took place within the framework of the UNICOM project, inspired us to create a business incubator based at a pedagogical university. This will contribute to increasing the prestige and rating of the institution, positioning it as a center of innovation and support for entrepreneurship in education.”

“For the Sumy National Agrarian University, the need to introduce a systematic approach to the organization of lifelong learning became obvious. In particular, educational modules based on gamification of educational activities deserve more attention”

“The experience of cooperation of the University of Latvia with business structures and the municipality, which ensures not only the economic development of the community but also national welfare, will be useful for the sustainable development of the Institute of Higher Education of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.”

“Implementation of the mechanisms of cooperation between the University and the municipality is necessary for the twice-displaced Donetsk State University of Internal Affairs and its assistance in ensuring the security of the development of communities in Ukraine during the war and after”

“The insights from the Dragomanov Ukrainian State University working team mainly focused on innovative approach to Lifelong Learning. The sessions led by I. Bausova on “Lifelong and continuing education” offered insights into unique methods of adult education and professional development, including the use of business simulating games which are effective in providing hands-on experience and understanding of complex business scenarios”.