The construction of the EU-CELAC Common Area of Higher Education is one of the goals set by the Heads of State and Government to strengthen the bi-regional partnership, also contained in Chapter 9 of the EU-CELAC Action Plan (2015). In turn, the ministerial declarations which followed (2016 and 2018) reflect the need to contribute to the Higher Education Area through dialogue and cooperation between bi-regional academic actors.
Thus, the Foundation has set itself the medium-term strategic goal of promoting and facilitating spaces for bi-regional dialogue, particularly with the national higher education authorities of both regions. Among other activities, the EU-LAC Foundation pursues this objective through the process of collective construction and updating of the "Matrix of Objectives and Strategic Lines for the Construction of the EU-LAC Common Area of Higher Education" - a reference document to make visible the diversity of initiatives and lines of work aimed at making the bi-regional Common Area of Higher Education a reality.
On 18 June 2021, the EU-LAC Foundation brought together leading representatives of higher education institutions for a follow-up meeting on this document. Participants included representatives from the Association of Universities of the Montevideo Group (AUGM), the Central American Higher University Council (CSUCA), the EU-CELAC University Council, the Latin American and Caribbean Higher Education Area (ENLACES), the European University Association (EUA), the Permanent Academic Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union (FAP-ALCUE), the League of European Research Universities (LERU), OBREAL - Global Observatory (OBREAL Global), the Organisation of Ibero-American States (OEI), the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB), Universities Caribbean (UC), and the Union of Latin American Universities (UDUAL).
In addition to updating the initiatives being implemented by the institutions, the EU-LAC Foundation invited the participants to agree on priority areas of action contained in the Matrix that can be implemented in the short and medium-term and to identify those initiatives that could eventually be undertaken jointly, in order to create greater synergies and strengthen the work of each of the entities that have contributed to the construction of the EU-LAC Common Area of Higher Education.
Among the priority topics identified were the issue of quality assurance regimes for digital education, open science and the recognition of scientific work, the Sustainable Development Goals and the link between universities and societies, the digital transformation and internationalisation of learning, and advocacy and contribution to public policies in higher education.
The matrix serves as a point of convergence, to which the Foundation gives continuity by promoting the systematisation of themes and initiatives in order to strengthen the bi-regional space. A second meeting is planned for the end of 2021 in Hamburg.