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Jaume Pagès, Universia CEO
Jaume Pagès has been Chief Executive Officer of Universia since 2005.
He was Chief Executive Officer of the Forum Barcelona 2004.
Founder and Chairman of the Association against Anorexia and Bulimia (ACAB) and the Image and Self-esteem Foundation (IMA).
Doctor Honoris Causa by the Nagaoka University of Technology (Japan).
He has conducted research in the area of signal processing, linear and non-linear filter synthesis, and in the analysis and resolution of control problems for interplanetary missions.
He is a professor of Mechanics, Mathematics and Automation at Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña, where he was vice-rector between 1986 and 1994 and Rector from 1994 to 2002.
He studied Teaching in Girona, Industrial Engineering in Barcelona, and Computer Science in Toulouse, and he was awarded a PhD by Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña in Industrial Engineering in 1975, supervised by Professor Gabriel Ferraté.
In this interview the Chief Executive Officer of Universia talks about the challenges of the Ibero-American universities, the Universia Declaration Rio 2014, the creation of an Ibero-American space of knowledge and the collaboration between Universia and GUNi.
The mission of Universia is to act as an agent for change, helping universities to develop shared projects and to generate new opportunities for the university community, attending to the demands of enterprise and institutions and with economic efficiency and profitability. In your opinion, what changes are needed in the coming years and what challenges are Ibero-American universities facing?
At the end of July 2014, Universia organized the third Universia International Rectors Meeting in Río de Janeiro, attended by more than 1,000 rectors from partner universities at which the so-called Declaration Universia Río 2014 was approved. This declaration includes 10 strategic key points, which in some way constitute the challenges that, to the rectors’ understanding, universities will face in the next few years. These ten key factors are the following:
- The consolidation of the Ibero-American Knowledge Space (EIC)
- The improvement of information on Ibero-American universities
- Universities’ social and environmental responsibility
- The guarantee for teaching quality and adaptation to social needs
- Attention to students’ expectations
- Continuing education of professors and strengthening of teaching
- Extending internationalization and mobility initiatives
- Full use of digital technologies
- Improvement of research, transfer of its results and innovation
- Adaptation to new outlines of organization, governance and funding
Which concrete actions is Universia carrying out to promote social and entrepreneurial development through the collaboration between universities and enterprise?
Tying in with my previous answer, the Declaration Universia Rio 2014 also raises 11 concrete proposals for action. Universia can assist in some of them, such as the following, for example:
The fifth proposal is for an Ibero-American digital space, which aims to strengthen inter-university cooperation in the development and joint use of new technologies, lessons, materials, methods and open programmes, or MOOCs, based on the resources and support provided by the availability, trajectory, roots and achievements of the Universia network.
Or the sixth proposal, which puts forward an information system of higher education in Ibero-America.
Then there is the seventh, which proposes social responsibility programmes (social cooperation and university volunteering), to be developed by universities, with visibility at Universia, to foster social action in partnership with governments, companies and the other social stakeholders, and strengthen the commitment of the university community.
Also the ninth, which puts forward an Ibero-American initiative for training teaching staff, aimed at strengthening their skills and continuous training, mobility, and updating teaching methods and the availability of open educational resources, with the support of spaces promoted by Universia.
Universia is a network of more than 1,300 universities in Ibero-America. What are its goals for the future?
To assist the partner universities in the project for the creation and consolidation of the Ibero-American space and of knowledge in every way in which Universia can collaborate. In particular, the issues relating to the first employment of Ibero-American graduates, the promotion of university-enterprise relations, and the use of new technologies for both educational goals and university research and management.
How do you think GUNi can contribute to achieving them?
I think that GUNi can bring to Universia and its partner universities an interesting insight into the process of the globalization of higher education and research, and also the necessary care and attention that universities must pay to global problems.
Recently, the GUNi secretariat has been assumed by ACUP. In this new phase, GUNi is focusing on the need and responsibility of universities to attend to local and regional development needs without forgetting the global objectives and the issues that affect the whole planet. Universia is already GUNi’s main private source of funding: in addition to its economic support, how do you think Universia can contribute to improving the definition of Glocal University?
Universia can contribute to the objectives of GUNi disseminating its activities and initiatives in Ibero-America, also by identifying in this area cases that can be considered as being good development practices and that can help GUNi to achieve its goals.
What short-term results do you expect from the cooperation between GUNi and Universia in the next two years?
We hope that the cooperation established will provide value to both parties and generate reciprocal influences. In particular, I think we should take advantage of our respective networks to disseminate each other’s activities through them.