Farewell as Non-Executive Director of GUNi


Francesc Xavier Grau Vidal addresses this farewell letter to the GUNi community. He has been non-executive director of GUNi for the last two years.

Francesc Xavier Grau. Picture: delCamp.cat

In September 2016, my two-year commitment with ACUP as non-executive director of GUNi has reached the end. During these past two years I led the transition of the GUNI project  hosted by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya – BarcelonaTech towards a new phase in which it is hosted by the Associació Catalana d’Universitats Públiques (Catalan Associacion of Public Universities – ACUP). The partners of the network remain the same: UNESCO and the United Nations University.

During these two years, GUNi has reaffirmed its mission of contributing to strengthening the role of higher education in society by renewing the visions and policies of higher education around the world, from a perspective of public service, relevance and social responsibility. The main instrument for doing so has been to promote the reflection and the discussion of international experts and to collect them in a World Report on Higher Education focused on an emerging theme of global interest.

Thus, the main activity in this period was related to the conception and preparation of the 6th World GUNI Report: Higher Education in the World 6: "Towards a Socially Responsible Higher Education Institution, locally and globally engaged." To date, its contents are complete and under editorial review process. As a new feature to facilitate that everyone from everywhere can reach the reflection, analysis and conclusions of experts, the complete edition of the report will be free and available online. The launch of HEIW6 is expected at the beginning of 2017.

With this report, GUNi makes, once again, a crucial contribution to the university systems around the world, in a time when there is a general concern on how universities can contribute to a better local or regional development while being respectful or even further, having a positive contribution to global development and sustainability.

Naturally, this work and all that it has involved, has been possible thanks to the character of global network that an organization like GUNi has, but also thanks to people who, day after day, have dedicated their efforts to it. In this moment of farewell as non-executive director of GUNi, I would, therefore, like to convey my appreciation and gratitude to:

Angels Cortina and Cristina Escrigas, the GUNi team from the UPC, who have given continuity to the project while also contributing significantly to it.
Alice Betts, Nadja Gmelch, Marta Cayetano, Nicole Font, Joan Esculies, Josep Maria Vilalta and the other members of the secretariat of the ACUP, who, from different responsibilities and contributions, have had a direct role in the work of GUNi.
ACUP rectors, who have entrusted me the responsibility of directing GUNi in this period.
The heads of UNESCO and the United Nations University, who endorse confidence in the project and, particularly, in the strategic approach which I proposed.
And finally, the four world experts who have accompanied me in HEIW6 editorial team, and who have given the needed direction, focus and the effectiveness to it: John Goddard, Budd Hall, Ellen Hazelkorn and Rajesh Tandon.

In short, during these two years, I lived a particularly demanding intellectual experience, very intense but also very positive and enriching, as always happens when one has the opportunity to share views, and knowledge and work together with qualified experts.

Now, I hope that the results of these two years have been, and continue to be in the future, positive and directly usable by universities and university systems around the world. I am also confident GUNI’s work will  gain impact and projection in future. World universities need it.
Thanks to all the GUNi community, and whenever I can help, you’ll find me at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (francescxavier.grau@urv.cat).



  • UNESCO. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • The Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP)

Sponsored by

  • Generalitat de Catalunya
  • Ajuntament de Barcelona