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Global challenges, global solutions: Una Europa Week in Helsinki

This week colleagues came together at the Helsingin Yliopisto, the University of Helsinki for Una Europa Week – five days dedicated to collectively shaping and securing the future of the alliance. International collaboration, broadening our outlook and expanding our community by welcoming fresh perspectives from Europe and Africa were key themes throughout the week.

We were delighted to welcome our three new partners – Universiteit Leiden, University College Dublin and Universität Zürich – to connect with Una Europa colleagues in person for the first time. The value of coming together physically was underscored by the presence of all 11 partner universities, reminding us of our shared mission and the vibrant community we are all part of.

The spirit of collaboration and co-creation extended beyond Europe, as Una Europa also hosted senior leaders from universities across the continent of Africa. Representatives from Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar in Senegal, Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique, University of Ghana, University of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, University of Nairobi in Kenya, and University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa met with key figures from Una Europa to open a dialogue that will facilitate effective approaches to co-creation in the future.

Una Europa recognises the enriching impact of diverse perspectives and openly shared knowledge and expertise. As such, working in partnership African institutions, countries, and communities is critical to the work of the Alliance. Beginning this conversation is a significant first step in identifying where Europe-Africa collaboration would be most valuable, enabling us all to better tackle global challenges, facilitate research excellence and empower learners to thrive in a rapidly changing, increasingly interconnected world.

" For Una Europa, it is crucial to work together with our neighbouring continent Africa to ensure we can jointly continue to address global challenges and ensure our students are equipped for what the future will bring. "

Sari Lindblom, Rector at the University of Helsinki

Una Europa Talk: Shaping our future together - Europe and Africa, Solving Global Challenges

Highlighting the importance of Europe-Africa collaboration, the University of Helsinki hosted an Una Europa Talk, ‘Shaping our future together – Europe and Africa, solving global challenges’. The high-level panel discussion identified and explored key issues to address when building bridges between the neighbouring continents, including:

  • How can we build sustainable collaboration that brings added value and helps to solve the greatest challenges of our times?
  • What role can continental and governmental strategies play in boosting collaboration?
  • What kind of opportunities are there for truly equal partnerships between the two continents?

The insightful discussion highlighted obstacles to effective collaboration between the neighbouring continents of Europe and Africa, as well as potential solutions. Key themes include the need for equal positioning between individuals, and listening as essential to successful cooperation. As summarised by Tuija Brax, Director of the Rule of Law Centre at Helsingin Yliopisto/ Helsingfors Universitet, "Ask and listen to the answers, really listen. And after listening, have an eye-to-eye conversation".

" The world is about values, it's about integrity, it's about mutual respect, it's about wanting to live together.We have to accommodate each other and try to have a good life for ourselves – and leave an even better life for our children. "

Professor Felix Dapare Dakora, President at the African Academy of Sciences

Missed the Una Europa Talk? A full recording of the event is available on our YouTube channel.

" Joining forces, sharing and learning is critical for our common future. Una Europa welcomes this step, building connections with African institutions, countries, and communities to co-develop effective, inclusive, sustainable solutions to global challenges "

James Smith, Vice Principal International at the University of Edinburgh and Chair of the Una Europa Board of Directors

Co-creation in action – Una Europa MOOC AI in Society

Una Europa launched its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), AI in Society, with a panel discussion considering the question, “Are you ready to live with AI?”. The discussion provided a sneak peek into the content of the MOOC, which equips learners with a critical understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on the world around us, both opportunities and challenges.

Co-developed by three universities within Una Europa – Helsingin Yliopisto, the University of Edinburgh, and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne – MOOC AI in Society provides students, professionals, and the public with an awareness of Data Science, AI, and related concepts, as well as their practical applications across sectors and societies. The course will help learners feel comfortable with AI, equipping them with the tools needed to understand related legal, ethical, and political issues and how these impact their own lives.

Find out more about the MOOC AI in Society and register as a learner now.