Successful Academic Leader seminar in Oslo

The future of higher education and universities were among the topics discussed when a total of 60 Deans and Presidents met in Oslo last week. Here, Rector at the University of Oslo, blogs about the seminar. 

Seminar participants gathered at the University of Oslo. Photo: Yngve Vogt/UiO

The future of higher education and universities were among the topics discussed when a total of 60 Deans and Presidents met in Oslo last week.

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The goal is to give our students knowledge and strength to make a positive change in society, to help develop a stable and sustainable Europe. One of our goals is that students from our seven universities move freely (physically and/or virtually) between our campuses and that they, by doing this, will have a richer student experience, both in terms of study programmes, perspectives, cultures and student diversity.

We have taken time to develop our alliance. The circle has grown gradually. Academic leaders, administrative staff and students have been involved at various stages in the process.

Rectors fron Universities of Oslo, Aarhus, Paris and Louvain
Rector at the Unversity of Oslo, Svein Stølen, President Christine Clerici from Université de Paris, Recor Vincent Blondel from UC Louvain and Rector Brian Bech-Nielsen at Aarhus University. 

During the seminar the Deans participated in workshops put together across institutions. The groups covered all areas within the comprehensive university, that all seven represent; humanities, science and technology, health science, and social sciences. Among topics discussed were how we can share what we have, develop new study programmes and ways of working together.

Our seven universities are committed to creating a strong and lasting alliance. «We are in this for the long run» is an expression that we hear often when we meet.

Andreas Wroldsen, head of the Student Parliament at the University of Oslo gave a thoughtful presentation during last week’s seminar. He also challenged us on several issues, and this is a great example of why these European University alliances must be developed in close cooperation with students.  

Head of the UiO Student Parliament Andreas Wroldsen impressed the Deans and Rectors with his thoughtful reflections on the alliance.

In the end this is about our students. They lay some of their best years in our hands. How do we meet, involve and co-create with them? That is why our next seminar is for the students. We’ll gather student representatives from all our universities, academic staff and administrative staff in Brussels to reflect, discuss and create.

Our universities are all located in capitals or large cities. We care deeply about nurturing the relationships with our cities and therefore I was very grateful that the City of Oslo and the Ministry of Education supports our alliance. Thursday evening the Mayor of Oslo, Marianne Borgen, invited the whole seminar to a reception at City Hall and gave a wonderful speech highlighting the importance of such ties between the city and higher education institutions. State Secretary Rebekka Borsch stressed the value of the European University Initiative the importance of European cooperation. We were also honoured that several ambassadors and diplomats from our alliance countries came to show their support.     

Reception with mayor of oslo at oslo city hall
Reception at Oslo City Hall, also venue for the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony each year in December. 

We’re happy so see that we have many supporters and to see the positive reception the alliance gets everywhere we go. It’s an ambitious endeavour that we’re embarking on, but the idea and vision creates an amazing energy and willingness to succeed. Our focus now is on the endless opportunities that the alliance enables.


By Svein Stølen, Rector at the University of Oslo
Published Sep. 27, 2019 11:02 AM - Last modified Jan. 28, 2020 1:29 PM