Representatives of universities from around the world met in Valencia | Gdańsk University of Technology

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Date added: 2023-05-18

Representatives of universities from around the world met in Valencia

Rectors' meeting
5th International Meeting of Rectors in Valencia. Photo: Santander materials
The 5th International Meeting of Rectors Universia, held in Valencia, gathered 700 rectors from 14 countries, representing 14 million students from Europe, the United States and Latin America. Representatives of 30 universities from Poland took part in the event. Gdańsk University of Technology was represented by prof. Dariusz Mikielewicz, vice-rector for organization and development.

The meeting, which took place on 8-10 May, was a unique forum for a debate under the slogan "University and society". The event was officially opened by Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Spain, and Ana Botín, president of the Santander Group. The discussion was attended by personalities from the world of science, politics and business: Tim Berners-Lee - inventor of the World Wide Web, Larry Summers - former US Treasury Secretary in the administration of President Bill Clinton and Chief Economist of the World Bank, Ignacio Cirac - Spanish physicist and winner of the Prince of Asturias Prize in 2006, and Pilar Manchón - Chief Director of Engineering and Artificial Intelligence Research at Google.

Participants of the meeting discussed how universities can operate even more effectively in three areas:

  • lifelong learning,
  • entrepreneurship and innovation,
  • creating networks and relationships between universities from around the world

Santander will invest an additional €400 million in education

At the opening ceremony, Ana Botín confirmed Santander Group's continued support for universities, pledging to "invest an additional €400 million between 2023 and 2026 in education, employability and entrepreneurship". She also added that “there is no better social investment than education. That is why, 26 years ago, Santander decided to focus its efforts on supporting universities”.

As part of its commitment to universities, Santander has already invested more than €2.2 billion in higher education, funding scholarships, lifelong learning projects and helping more than a million students through contracts with more than 1,500 institutions in 25 countries.

­–When we support universities, the entire community - more than a billion people in the countries where Santander operates - benefit from it. As universities grow, society follows suit,” said Ana Botín. “A society that invests in education develops sustainably, is more open and diverse, creates opportunities for everyone and can face the conflicts and challenges of the future,” explained the president of the Santander Group and Universia. During the meeting, she called on rectors and experts to "think ambitiously" in terms of the university's mission in an ever-changing society that "acts like an interconnected network and removes barriers between the digital and physical worlds. (...) Lifelong learning is essential in society and among companies; it is not a luxury but rather a necessity,” she noted, referring to the skills and knowledge that universities should impart today, and to lifelong learning.

Work of the Polish delegation

The meeting also included workshops for the Polish delegation. Rectors, together with representatives of Santander Bank Polska, discussed the challenges and opportunities for Poland concerning sustainable development and digital transformation.

– Speeches by personalities from the world of science, business and politics, as well as debates, inspired me to new ventures, which I hope will have a positive impact on our students, graduates and society as a whole. Moreover, the meeting in Valencia was a unique opportunity to build relationships and networking with universities from around the world and to strengthen relations within the Polish delegation – summed up prof. Dariusz Mikielewicz, vice-rector for organization and development.

Valencia Declaration

The commitments developed during the 5th International Meeting of Rectors were written down in the "Valencia Declaration". It reflects the commitment of rectors and the academic world to the development of society

Valencia Declaration

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