• ATHENA Project

    Fostering Sustainable and Autonomous
    Higher Education Systems
    in the Eastern Neighbouring Area

  • Focus

    University autonomy and funding reforms
    in Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine

  • Objectives

    Transfer of good practice
    Promotion of inclusive approaches
    Capacity building in university management


Change through exchange – ATHENA final event discusses role of universities in the Eastern Partnership

On 15 September, EUA organised the ATHENA project final event on “Fostering university autonomy in the Eastern neighbourhood” in Brussels. The event gathered 80 participants from ATHENA partner universities, Ministries and Missions of Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine to the European Union as well as representatives from the EU institutions and other Brussels-based stakeholders.

On this occasion, Thomas Estermann, Director for Governance, Funding and Public Policy Development at EUA, presented the outcomes of the project that comes to its end in January 2016. He highlighted the importance of a dialogue between public authorities and the universities to pave the way towards more sustainable and autonomous university systems in the partner countries. Armen Ashotyan, Minister of Education and Science of Armenia, explained how the Ministry uses the policy roadmap and action plan developed throughout the project as a tool for reform and continuous discussions with the sector, also after the project ends.

In his key note speech, José Roman Leon Lora, Team Leader for Education, Science, Health and Social Policy of the European Commission Support Group for Ukraine, highlighted the importance of European cooperation for the development of the universities and societies in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood and called upon the universities to be critical voices in the discussions about EU’s and their own country’s policies.

This was echoed by Julie Ward, Member of the Committee for Education and Culture of the European Parliament during the panel discussion on the role of universities in the Eastern Partnership. She underlined the importance of cultural exchange across borders and encouraged universities to engage in projects like ATHENA which offered the opportunity to learn from each other and build something new cooperation. When asked how the EU could support them in their reform efforts, representatives from the partner universities underlined the importance of developing further joint degrees and research projects, but also building capacity at university level, such as proposed by ATHENA, to equip university staff for managing the reform challenges.

Pictures from the event can be downloaded here.

  • Yerevan State University
  • Gavar State University
  • State Engineering University of Armenia
  • State Universities Rectors Council of Armenia
  • Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia
  • Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova
  • Cahul State University
  • Free International University of Moldova
  • National Council of Rectors of Moldova
  • Ministry of Education of Moldova
  • Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev
  • Donetsk National University
  • Odessa National University
  • Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University
  • Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine
  • University of Coimbra
  • Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra
  • University of Helsinki
  • Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences
  • University of Amsterdam
  • European University Association