From 26th to 30th of June, more than 100 representatives of the eight universities belonging to the EUt+ alliance met in Riga to continue working on the creation of a joint European University of Technology – EUt+. Different working groups dedicated to establishing joint study programs, facilitating student and staff mobilities within the consortium, widening the global outreach of the alliance as well as other topics important to the future of the joint institution spent their week at RTU, writing deliverables and planning the next steps.
The event was opened by the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at RTU, Professor Elina Gaile-Sarkane who welcomed our guests in Riga, wished them a productive week and emphasized how the vision of EUt+ is in alignment with the overall strategy of Riga Technical University. The guests were also welcomed by the Principal Representative of EUt+ at RTU and the head of the International Cooperation and Foreign Students Department Professor Igors Tipans, International Mobility Unit Team Leader at RTU Zane Emilija Sarma and representative of the EUt+ Secretary General Rafael Toledo Moreo. To make sure our guests feel welcome not only in RTU but in Latvia, a short introduction to Latvian language and culture was provided by the EUt+ Group Leader at RTU Anete Beinarovica. Different cultural activities for everyone interested were available throughout the week as well.
One of the highlights of the week was a panel discussion that took place on Wednesday, June 28th, and was organized by the EUt+ Ideas Institute – a think tank established within the European Culture and Technology Lab (ECT Lab+) of EUt+. Four panelists – Professor of Philosophy and the Dean of Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media at TU Dublin Noel Fitzpatrick, European Parliament member of Subcommittee on Security and Defense Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and Head of the board of the Latvian Academy of Culture Dace Melbarde, co-founder of the innovation management company HELVE Liva Perkone and lecturer at Riga Business School and expert in human/technology relationships Chiaki Sekiguchi Bems – shared their views on the topic of Bridging European Values and Technologies and discussed different aspects of digitalization, AI development, ethics and how these align and manifest themselves within education, entrepreneurship and our daily lives.
The EUt+ Riga Week 2023 was concluded by a meeting of the EUt+ Rectors Board that was co-chaired by the Rector of Cyprus University of Technology, Professor Panayiotis Zaphiris, and the Rector of Riga Technical University, Prof. Academician Talis Juhna. The Rectors of the eight universities discussed important issues like cooperation with industry partners, possible expansion of EUt+ and other topics crucial to the future of the alliance. The Rectors also met with the EUt+ Students Board to listen to their suggestions and wishes for the development of EUt+ which is essential as students form the largest group of stakeholders that will benefit from the establishment of a joint European university.
Aside from the regular EUt+ working group meetings that took place throughout the week, significant added value was provided by joint workshops with representatives of RTU’s partner universities outside Europe who were visiting RTU within the framework of the KA171 Erasmus+ International Staff Week that overlapped with this years’ EUt+ Riga Week. Bringing these two groups together not only contributed to the global outreach strategy of EUt+ but also gave our guests the opportunity to make new connections, network and lay foundations for new partnerships and joint projects.
Our guests were also given the chance to witness one of the most important events in the life of Riga Technical University – the RTU Grand Graduation that takes place once per year and celebrates all the graduating students across the nine faculties of RTU. We hope that this event, as well as the rest of the week, not only brought our partners closer together, but also helped bring to life one of the main aims of EUt+, namely, making one feel at home on every campus.