The III Universia International Presidents’ Meeting Rio 2014 has consisted in two days of intense discussions about 10 topics that are key for higher education in Ibero-America. 1,103 honorable presidents from 33 countries participated in this event, which closes with an institutional commitment subscribed by all universities in the Rio University Charter 2014. The President of Universia, Emilio Botín, thanked the efforts and collaboration of all participants in the discussion, development and conclusions of the 3rd Meeting, which was regarded as “historical”.
The event attracted 1,103 Presidents, more than 2,000 contributions from academic experts by means of online social networking services, a wide variety of topics discussed by participants from various countries, more than 100,000 university students that participated in the generation of topics and a diverse technological showcase. In the end, Emilio Botín highlighted six topics that emerged from the debates and are priorities for the future of the University:
The necessary social leadership of each university to “play a significant role in the social, institutional, cultural and economic development of all countries involved”.
The need to renew educational models with the support of all governments and the private sector to “open the University and face the new demands and expectations of both students and communities”.
The internationalization as a crucial factor in the relationship among universities and their systems in a globalized world.
Educational investments I+D+I as strategic and socially relevant, “directly related to job creation, competitiveness, economical prosperity and social and cultural development”.
The university-business collaboration is essential "to effectively use all knowledge in favor of economical, social and entrepreneurial development".
The digital dimension of the University that aims to integrate digital practices at an institutional level, as “a primary challenge for universities”.
A global commitment
The President of Universia emphasized that the Rio Charter “represents no only a declaration of principles but also a magnificent plan for the Ibero-American universities to play a relevant role in the years ahead”. Emilio Botín closed his speech calling upon regional and world institutions, businesses and universities to be fully engaged in order to "work diligently on the diffusion of the takeouts generated by this Meeting and to make the Rio Letter widely known so that concrete plans and schedules can be implemented”.
In this sense, Botín has emphasized the efforts of Banco Santander and Universia to attain the set goals while announcing the investment of 700 million Euros (945 million US dollars) to university projects in the next four years, of which 40% will be fueled to scholarships for the access national and international mobility of students and professors; 30% will be used to foster research, innovation and entrepreneurship at universities. The remaining 30% will be used to support academic projects and initiatives aimed at modernizing and incorporating new technologies to universities.
The 4th Universia International Meeting of Presidents will be held in Salamanca, 2018.