EUniverCities Network Meeting in Parma
How have student behavior and expectations changed over the past decade? How can cities and universities address these changes? What are the main new challenges? These are just some of the questions at the center of the EUniverCities Network Meeting, that have taken place in Parma at the beginning of December: thi event has been the end of the three-year period in which Parma, together with the Municipality and the University, was the leader of the European network.
It has been an opportunity to exchange and confrontation between students and members of the network of cities involved in the project, to share good practices and deepen issues related to the university world, with particular regard to the issues of teaching, life and welfare of students and their housing needs.
On December 1st, the first day of the meeting, the delegation received the welcome, at the City Hall, by the President of the City Council Alessandro Tassi Carboni, the Delegate for International Relations of the University of Parma Guglielmo Wolleb and of the members of the EUniverCities Secretariat Gabriele Agnetti (City of Parma) and Alessandro Bernazzoli (University of Parma). On december 2nd, the secondo day was the highlight of the meeting: the second day took place at the Teatro Regio and it was opened by the greetings of the Mayor, Federico Pizzarotti, and of the Vice-Rector of the University of Parma, Paolo Martelli.
“I am pleased with the success of the initiative: it is a project that we have been pursuing for some time and that has put Parma and its University in relation with important European realities. This has allowed us to develop new collaborations and partnerships with cities and universities of international level. Parma must continue on this path, always with an enlarged vision and a European vocation. I would like to thank all the people and institutions that have contributed in various ways to developing and growing the project" (Federico Pizzarotti, Mayor of the City of Parma)
"The international collaboration and the construction of networks formed by realities of different countries that allow the comparison, the sharing and the creation of new experiences and opportunities are, today more than ever, the way to follow, the only possible and really successful in the global scenario in which we find ourselves. For this reason, a network such as EUniverCities is in itself a best practice: for the very spirit that animates it, and with which it was born, and for the objectives it sets, with a view to enhancing the strategic nature of city-university partnerships on a European scale: this is in the priority interest of students, who remain our primary target audience" (Paolo Martelli, Vice Chancellor of the University of Parma)
In addition to the Mayor and the Vice-Chancellor, the introductory moment was attended by Cristiano Sandri from Teatro Regio, Gabriele Agnetti, Alessandro Bernazzoli and Willem van Winden, main expert of the network.
There were two focuses of the morning's work: first of all, the presentation of the Handbook of best practices “Handbook for Strategic City-University co-operation”, coordinated by the Parma Secretariat and the City and University of Lausanne, inspirers of the initiative, and edited by Willem van Winden for the celebration of the network's tenth anniversary; second of all, an in-depth look at the Parma Città Universitaria project, which unites the City of Parma and the University of Parma and in which various activities in favor of university students have been developed in recent years, with opportunities related to local public transportation, the promotion of culture, sports, support for the integration of students in the city and the reception of those outside the city, including from a housing point of view.
Then, in the afternoon, we had the presentation and sharing of good practices related to the three key areas "Education", "Life and well-being of students", "Housing”.
In the final day of the meeting, on december 3rd, we had two parallel workshops, one for partners and one for students; then the two groups have met in plenary session for a final discussion, with the aim of producing a common document; at least, a moment of confrontation with an in-depth analysis of the network of relationships between the universities involved.
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