II Academic Summit: EU-LAC Foundation upholds proposals for a common space of knowledge

Brussels.- Deans, academic staff, and universities from the European Union, Latin-America and the Caribbean gathered on 8th and 9th July in Brussels in order to advance the formulation of measures to strengthen the bi-regional cooperation on the academic field, ultimately leading to the creation of a common space of knowledge.  

The II EU-CELAC Academic Summit, a continuation of the process that began in Santiago de Chile in 2013, coincided with the summit of the EU-CELAC Heads of the State and Government in Brussels, to whom by the end of the debate the academic community addressed a set of recommendations entitled Brussels Declaration (click here).

The academic community consequently responded to the request of the president of EU-LAC Foundation, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, who, as the EU-LAC Foundation is one of the institutions sponsoring the process, requested swifter exchange of models and formulation of concrete proposals.

“We have committed ourselves to very ambitious objectives, and that implies debate and reflection, but it is necessary to move forward”, said Ferrero Waldner in the opening ceremony of this II Academic Summit. Ramón Jáuregui, co-president of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EUROLAT) and representing CELAC René Ramírez, Ecuatorian Secretary of Education, Science and Technology attended the event.

The meeting was also attended by Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Science and Technology; Alicia Bárcenas, executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin-America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and Jörg Monar, rector of the College of Europe, as honorary president of the summit.

Ramírez subscribed Ferrero-Waldner's appeal, however, he conditioned the success of the current process to debate and agreement on “the management of knowledge”, a delicate issue on which he said there are still “very serious cracks”.

“We have to tackle this issue or there will not be progress”, warned Ramírez and added that it is essential for Ecuador to recover their “public sense of knowledge, because only this way – he argued – the existing dependency relationship in fields like science, innovation and technology will be erased”.

The democratisation that the economic policy of knowledge defended by Ramirez proclaims was tackled peripherally in the panels formed during the academic summit, even though the debates obeyed the predefined order in the table of contents. Those included, among other titles, the promotion of bioregional integration of systems of scientific research, birregional collaboration between higher education institutions and their relations with society and the productive sector.

The EU-LAC Foundation participated, through its executive director, Jorge Valdez, in the panel entitled “ links between the academic community and public policies”, together with Iordan Barbulescu, from the National University of Political Studies and Public (ISLA) from Romania, and Cristian Parket, from the University of Santiago, Chile.