Welcome to the universities of Pisa and Vienna!
It was with a lot of enthusiasm that Circle U. held the official celebrations for the broadening of the alliance to its new members – the University of Pisa and the University of Vienna – at the signature ceremony on Friday, 25 March 2022, kindly hosted by the Mission of Norway to the European Union in Brussels.
The ceremony was followed by a networking seminar which brought together partners and stakeholders, including the European Commission, permanent representations, representatives of other alliances, university networks and associations. Together, we had an open discussion on the lessons learnt from the pilot phase of the European Universities Initiative and ways forward.
The two new member universities of the Circle U. alliance were represented by Prof. Paolo Maria Mancarella, Rector of the University of Pisa, Prof. Francesco Marcelloni, Vice-rector for Cooperation and International Relations at the University of Pisa, and Prof. Jean-Robert Tyran, Vice-Rector for Research and International Affairs at the University of Vienna. The event was opened by HE Ambassador Rolf Einar Fife, Svein Bæra, Director at the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, Tine Delva, Deputy Head of Unit at the Directorate General for Education and Culture, European Commission, and Prof. Svein Stølen, Rector of the University of Oslo and President of Circle U.
On joining the Circle U. alliance, Rector Mancarella said
I cannot hide how absolutely impressed we were by the atmosphere of great collaboration and harmony that immediately raised with you all and that was greatly appreciated over the last months.
Vice-Rector Tyran said:
Joining the Circle U. alliance will bring new appreciation to what it means being a European student, scholar and, ultimately, a European citizen.
Rector Stølen closed the event by underlining how solid initiatives with long-term perspectives take time to develop:
Circle U. is about change and transformation on the basis of the values that distinguish its member universities. At a critical time for Europe, collaboration is ever so crucial.
The University of Pisa and the University of Vienna have been effective members of Circle U. since January 2022, following unanimous vote by the Circle U. General Assembly in November 2021. Renowned research-intensive universities with centuries of experience in societal impact, their inclusion will further strengthen Circle U.'s mission as a European university thriving for innovative and inclusive teaching and service to society.