Leading Universities welcomed to Universitas 21 Annual Network Meeting by The University of Nottingham

In the first week of May 2017, the University welcomed senior leaders from Universitas 21 for their Annual Network Meeting and Presidential Symposium.

Universitas 21 is the leading global network of research-intensive universities from 16 different countries, that work together to promote global citizenship and innovation through research-inspired teaching and learning, student mobility, connecting staff and students and wider advocacy for internationalisation. Collectively, Universitas 21 members enroll over 1.3million students and employ over 220,000 staff.

The Universitas 21 conference is hosted by a different member each year. During the three-day meetings, University Presidents, Vice-Chancellors and senior international staff, come together to set the forthcoming U21 agenda.

May 2017’s meeting represented only the second occasion when the annual meetings have been held in the UK. Hosting the conference has been a privilege for Nottingham, providing representatives of the 25 member institutions the opportunity to see our world-class facilities, including our recently opened GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratories for Sustainable Chemistry on our Jubilee Campus.

During the visit, the VIPs heard from keynote speakers at a Symposium including our Chancellor – Sir Andrew Witty.  The Symposium considered ‘21st Century Global Anchor Institutions: universities, cities and the international talent economy’.

Also during the week, the University planted 25 trees, one to represent each of the U21 member universities.  The avenue, which sits in front of the David Ross Sports Village, will subsequently be named ‘Universitas 21 Avenue’ in celebration of the last 20 years of collaboration with partner institutions.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Greenaway said: ‘Nottingham was one of the founding Members of U21, and we have been enthusiastic partners since then. Over the past twenty years, thousands of our students have benefited from mobility opportunities, and a range of research partnerships have been created. I am delighted that we were selected as the host University for the 20th Annual Meetings, and look forward to welcoming our partners’.

The winners of the Universitas 21 Global Ingenuity Challenge – an online competition which challenges teams of undergraduate students to come up with solutions to real-life issues – were also announced during the week. This year the GIC attracted entries from fifteen teams from nine universities participating in the challenge, including two teams from Nottingham.

The group ‘You Only Cook Once’ (YOCO) were awarded joint first prize, alongside a team from the University of Amsterdam. YOCO were also awarded the Peers Choice Award, which is voted for by fellow competitors. YOCO is an app which brings together people from different cultural backgrounds.

A broad theme is selected each year that allows for an interdisciplinary approach to solutions and analysis, so that it appeals to a wide range of students and disciplines. This year’s theme was ‘Promoting Cultural Inclusiveness in Society’.

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