The acronym stands for Young Universities for the Future of Europe. Alongside the University of Bremen, the universities of Maastricht, Antwerp, Carlos III Madrid, Eastern Finland, Essex, Roma Tor Vergata, and Cyprus belong to the network. What connects them? They are all young universities that have joined to create a new path for European university education. One could call them pioneers.
Within the YUFE alliance, students, staff, and the management of the eight universities want to create one of the first European Universities together with six associated partners. YUFE will be open, inclusive, and non-elitist – exactly what the European idea represents. With the University of Essex as a partner, the alliance wants to take a stand against Brexit. The EU will be funding the pilot project with 5 million euros over the next three years.
Making Use of What We already Have
It is clear that such a process requires a lot of work, time, and coordination. This is why all YUFE partners regularly communicate within different working groups, and discuss and develop their ideas. It is important that we make use of what we already have – for example, the joint study programs and high-profile research areas of the individual partners.
One example: Whilst the University of Bremen carries out a great deal of activities on sustainability, the University of Essex in the UK is a forerunner in the field of diversity. The fact that they have a great deal of international students and staff is one of the reasons for this. Thus, the YUFE partners can complement and profit from each other in these areas.
There was a big meeting in Maastricht in January. The Bremen senator for science, Dr. Claudia, Schilling, took part alongside Bremen students, staff, and management. Political representatives from the cities and regions of the partner universities also participated. Their work is of great importance, as political questions will play a part during the establishment of a European university. For example, laws will have to be amended in order to create European qualifications in the long run.
Moreover, politicians can help to anchor the project in the respective towns and regions. One idea is that a student from Madrid or Belgium, for example, may not just study in Bremen but also be active in the social or cultural sectors or complete an internship and by doing so learn more about the language and culture of the country. Accommodation within host families would also promote this and would be more cost effective. The support of the people in the towns and the whole regions is needed to make this a success.
Student Expertise Required
Jessica Winter, a math student at the University of Bremen, is one of the students involved in YUFE. She has already taken part in many work meetings. “We, the students, are full members of the alliance and contribute important ideas in all study matters.” All YUFE committees and working groups include student representatives with voting rights, even on the management level. Additionally, there is a student parliament, in which there are three students from each university. Jessica Winter is one of them.
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