SGroup 2021 annual meetings: a fruitful working week

During  this year’s online annual meetings (General Assembly meeting, Liaison Officers’ meeting and Think Tank Academy Conference) on 26, 27 and 28 October, more than 90 participants from 40 institutions had the opportunity to reflect on the topic ‘Responsible International Higher Education 2021 - transformative modes for sustainable and hybrid engagement’.

The annual meetings were originally planned to take place at the University of Cantabria, in Spain. But because of the current pandemic and the travel restrictions still in place, the SGroup Executive Committee, in consultation  with the host institution,  decided to hold online meetings instead. In the meetings, SGroup members listened to and discussed with both internal and external speakers. They also addressed internal business issues such as the Budget 2022 and the election of new Executive Committee members, shared new ideas about both internal and external projects, and discussed  some new ambitious goals for 2022. 

The week started with the Think Tank web conference with three guest speaker panels that provided diverse and rich perspectives on relevant current topics. Participants were also invited to join the coordinators in an open discussion on future activities and events of the Think Tank Academy, which provided valuable input and ideas to be developed further in the next year. 

The second day is traditionally dedicated to the Liaison Officers’ meeting. This year’s online programme was structured around workshops, in order to involve LOs as much as possible in the discussion. Five workshops were prepared that focused on multi-stakeholder perspectives on the Social Mission of Universities (SMU); SGroup’s results and strategy 2021; SGroup communication policy; brainstorming on joint international projects,  and  the future development of SGroup. Active participation  was stimulated  by using a number of new and interactive technological tools.

During the Internal Business Meeting, SGroup General Assembly representatives thanked Professor Alexandra Hughes for her engaged mandate in the Executive Committee as Vice-President, and elected Professor Cecilia Christersson from Malmö University, Sweden as the new EC member. They also re-elected Maria Del Mar Fernandez from the University of Valladolid for a 2nd term of 2 years. In addition, four new full member institutions and one new associate member were approved as well as the financial report of 2020 and the new budget for 2022. The afternoon was dedicated to very current topics in Higher Education (HE), such as Academic Freedom and the Third Mission and Internationalisation in HE for Society. The day was concluded with a Roundtable discussion that involved our brand-new members and made them immediately feel the collaborative spirit of SGroup Universities in Europe.

SGroup would like to thank all the member representatives and speakers for participating, reacting, giving feedback and building  on the future of SGroup!