FORTHEM Statute Signed!

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The ceremony of signing of the Statute of European universities alliance FORTH was held on January 25, 202. It was virtually attended by the rectors and presidents of partner universities, as well as alliance coordinators and members of the FORETHEM transnational statute team.

The UO was represented by:  Prof. Marek Masnyk, Rector of the UO, Prof. Izabella Pisarek, Vice-Rector for Academic and Student Affairs, Dr Barbara Curyło, Coordinator of FORTHEM at the UO and Head of the statute team, and Dr Elżbieta Szymańska-Czaplak, Dean of the Faculty of Philology.

The remaining alliance universities were represented by:  

Johannes Gutenberg-Universität (Mainz, Germany) - Georg Krausch  

Université de Bourgogne (Dijon, France) - Vincent Thomas 

Jyväskylän yliopisto (Jyvaskyla, Finland) - Keijo Hämäläinen 

Universita 'degli Studi di Palermo (Palermo, Italy) - Fabrizio Micari 

Latvijas Universitāte (Riga, Latvia) - Indriķis Muižnieks 

Universitat de València (Valencia, Spain) - Maria Vicenta Mestre Escrivá

According to the scenario prepared by Dr Barbara Curyło, the ceremony started at 2 p.m. with a welcome address by the moderator of the meeting, President of J. Gutenberg University, Georg Krausch.

Forthem - an ambitious joint venture

In the first part, the rectors and presidents of the universities spoke in their national languages.

Rector of the University of Opole, Prof. Marek Masnyk said: - On behalf of the University of Opole, I warmly welcome all rectors and presidents and extend my best New Year's wishes to their academic communities. I also extend my wishes to the FORTHEM alliance as our ambitious joint venture. For me and my university, all the activities of the alliance are important and strategic, science included. For FORTHEM is also about research, which is to be strengthened by the alliance's latest success: the FIT FORTHEM project and its key objectives, such as developing a common R&D policy, sharing best practices in innovation, and applying jointly in European research programmes. Together we will contribute to strengthening scientific excellence in Europe.

Synchronised signing of the strategic document

The most important part of the ceremony was the signing of the statutes. The rectors and presidents did so simultaneously, seeing each other on laptop screens.

In the second part of the meeting, the rectors briefly exchanged views on topics such as innovative mobility, digital skills and the durability of the FORTHEM alliance.

Rector Masnyk spoke also about the importance of European universities for the socio-economic environment in which they operate.

- Higher education in Europe faces a number of challenges to which we must respond individually, and now we can also respond together as an alliance of European universities - said Prof. Masnyk. - The university as an institution does not function in a vacuum, but in the socio-economic environment, which places certain demands on it, and expects inspiration, solutions, and knowledge. FORTHEM as an alliance of European universities can make a significant contribution to building and deepening relations not only between universities and external partners, but also inspire cooperation between them at the international level.  In the first part of today's ceremony, I mentioned research cooperation. It is one of the determinants of our alliance becoming a partner and inspiration for business, social actors, etc. This is one of the determinants of our alliance becoming a partner and inspiration for business, social actors, etc. In order to do that, we must aim to lay the foundations for a common infrastructure for conducting research, which will strengthen its innovativeness and socio-economic topicality - stressed Prof. Masnyk.

Meeting in Mainz in the autumn

Concluding the meeting, the president of J. Gutenberg University expressed his regret that in the present days only a virtual meeting was possible and invited all participants to come to Mainz in September to meet in person.

The participants of the meeting applauded the representatives of the University of Opole for their excellent preparation of the ceremony and their work on the statute of the alliance.

Statute - substantive and symbolic meaning

- I'm very happy that the statute has been signed, says Dr Barbara Curyło, who leads the team working on the statute and is the author of its draft. The work lasted from last spring, and the working group included representatives of all the universities associated in the alliance. In the draft statute we included all our goals, projects, ideas and ambitions which we want to realise within the alliance. Of course, many details had to be perfected and many suggestions incorporated. But we have it! After the approval of the document by the legal departments of all universities, the statute was signed today.

The authorities of our university did not hide their satisfaction either, acknowledging that the moment of signing the most important document of the FORTHEM alliance had a huge symbolic meaning, but above all a substantive meaning.

 What is FORTHEM

The FORTHEM alliance was established in September 2019 as a consortium of seven universities, which jointly won a prestigious grant in the Erasmus+ competition procedure. Its name comes from the English acronym for Fostering Outreach within European Regions, Transnational Higher Education and Mobility.

The main objective of the alliance was to expand the scope of student mobility, create a virtual campus, involve scientists in joint research projects in multi-disciplinary laboratories, organize joint initiatives for the social and economic environment of the university, and also institutionally integrate the universities more closely.

Partners in the alliance are: The alliance includes Johannes Gutenberg-Universität (Mainz, Germany), Université de Bourgogne (Dijon, France), Jyväskylän yliopisto (Jyvaskyla, Finland), University of Opole (Opole, Poland), Universita' degli Studi di Palermo (Palermo, Italy), Latvijas Universitāte (Riga, Latvia), and Universitat de València (Valencia, Spain).

The meeting was organized with the support of the Office of Marketing and PR

Tekst: Beata Łabutin

Photos and video: Filip Ożarowski, Sylwester Koral