“We are very pleased that our partners are coming to Bremen to celebrate our 50th anniversary and that we can finally see each other again in person after a long period of digital communication,” says the President of the University of Bremen, Professor Bernd Scholz-Reiter. “We have already set the wheels in motion to shape a European university with YUFE in the coming years. Together we can educate young people who think and live in a European way across our ten university locations.”
The Chair of the YUFE Alliance, Professor Martin Paul of the University of Maastricht, adds: “YUFE stands for a radical change in higher education. Our common goal is to establish a European university that is young, non-elitist, open, and inclusive. We look forward to a stimulating exchange in Bremen to further advance this process with all partners and political representatives.”
Exchange between YUFE Partners and Political Representatives
The meeting with about 60 participants in Bremen is taking place within the framework of the annual Town Hall Meeting. Here, university leaders and staff have the chance to meet and discuss things outside of the regular YUFE meeting schedule. In the future it is planned for there also to be opportunities for interested members of the public. This year’s event has been organized together with the annual YUFE Mayors’ Meeting. This is intended to contribute to deepening the exchange between YUFE partners and the political representatives of the YUFE locations. With that in mind, the Mayor of Bremen, Dr. Andreas Bovenschulte, and Senator for Science, Dr. Claudia Schilling, will also take part. The first Town Hall and YUFE Mayors' Meeting was held in January 2020 at Maastricht University, which is leading the project. In the winter semester 2020/21, another Town Hall Meeting was organized digitally due to the pandemic.
Bremen’s Senator: “Enormous potential for innovative teaching approaches and excellent research”
Dr. Claudia Schilling, Senator for Science and Ports, says: “Thinking outside the box, thinking in a European way, that is the idea behind YUFE . Young students from the University of Bremen learn together with students from Maastricht, Essex, and Antwerp, for example. And it is not just the students who are part of this European network, but also researchers and employees of the University of Bremen.” YUFE offers excellent opportunities for the internationalization of the participating universities and therefore also provides the chance to deepen international scientific cooperation. “This is exactly how I envision universities of the future: Students, researchers, and administrative staff can all build deeper networks with international partners and benefit from each other’s knowledge and experience,” adds Schilling. “With YUFE , something European is being created, the principle of thinking outside the box is being institutionalized, and there is enormous potential for innovative teaching approaches and excellent research.”
Bremen’s Mayor: “Internationality and networking are becoming increasingly important”
“Research and teaching are the keys to meeting almost every challenge of the future,” says the Mayor of Bremen, Dr. Andreas Bovenschulte. “It is therefore necessary to support young people in the best possible way, to discover and develop their talents and abilities, and to offer them the best possible education. And to do so irrespective of their background or the wealth of their parents. Internationality and networking are becoming increasingly important. That’s why I very much welcome the founding of YUFE and am pleased that the University of Bremen is part of this network.”
The YUFE Alliance is supported by the EU, the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), and the State of Bremen. It is one of 41 alliances selected in summer 2019 to shape a European university. The network already gives students the opportunity to take academic courses at their respective partner universities in pilot projects. Further opportunities include language courses/tandems/cafés, professional and social skills training, civic involvement activities, physical, virtual, and mixed mobility opportunities, international internships, and support for entrepreneurial initiatives. The alliance also offers exchange and training opportunities for staff from the areas of science, administration, and technology. The first YUFE post-doc positions have already been awarded. In addition, there are opportunities for events and further training for all university employees. YUFE also aims to connect the respective cities and regions while promoting cooperation and exchange.
In addition to the University of Bremen, the network includes the University of Maastricht (Netherlands), the University of Antwerp (Belgium), Carlos III University of Madrid (Spain), the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Essex (Great Britain), Nicolaus Copernicus University Torun (Poland), the University of Rijeka (Croatia), the Tor Vergata University of Rome (Italy), and the University of Cyprus.