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Participants from 23 Countries at the International Conference of University Rectors

In the frame of the inaugural events of the Euro-Mediterranean University with its seat in Slovenia, the International Conference of University Rectors on Intercultural Dialogue in Higher Education was held on 9 June at the Bernardin Congress Centre in Portoro┼ż. The introductory speech was delivered by Mojca Kucler Dolinar, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Prof Dr Yusuf Ziya Ozcan, President of the Turkish Council of Higher Education, and Prof Dr Francesco Xavier Grau Vidal, President of EPUF (EuroMed Permanent University Forum).

The international conference of university rectors was attended by 15 university rectors and presidents, as well as 19 university pro-rectors and vice-presidents from 23 countries.

"The European Union emphasises the importance of knowledge. If we connect the need for intercultural dialogue and knowledge and the Mediterranean, the idea of a new, modern, international and European university is very close to us. No wonder that the idea to establish a Euro-Mediterranean university has received a major response, one proof of which is the number of signatories of the Letter of Intent on establishing it," said Minister Kucler Dolinar in her introductory speech.

The European Union already has a rich tradition in the field of implementing various educational programmes. The tradition may be observed in the very high number of professors and students who, in the frame of European Union educational programmes, have received broader knowledge of higher quality and started to live out intercultural dialogue in new environments. Programmes like Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus and others have become the constant that enables young people to gain knowledge and get acquainted with other people, languages and cultures. Mobility in higher education and the flow of knowledge have to be continuously encouraged, pointed out Minister Kucler Dolinar.

She expressed the belief that the Euro-Mediterranean University would bring new quality to academic knowledge and special nobility to the exchange of other knowledge, as well as to intercultural dialogue. "It is understandable that we are pleased that the Euro-Mediterranean University has its seat in Slovenia," pointed out the Minister at the conference.

"We must not forget that a very responsible act is ahead of us. All higher education institutions which will be members of the Euro-Mediterranean University, as well as professors and, last but not least, students shall carry this responsibility. The competitiveness of knowledge does not exclude intercultural dialogue, responsibility and ethics; on the contrary, the opportunity to become competitively more successful is based on the fact that we will be better only if we are more inclined to intercultural dialogue," concluded Minister Kucler Dolinar.


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Date: 11.06.2008