Sorbonne University (France) A Focus on Sustainability at the 4EU+ Annual Meeting in Copenhagen

“By joining forces we accomplish so much.”

From October 26-28th, 2022, rectors, members, associated partners and government officials of the 4EU+ European University Alliance met in Copenhagen for the fourth 4EU+ Annual Meeting.

The central theme this year was “Sustainability — an ever closer alliance,” while the Alliance’s core value of European collaboration was a strong undercurrent. This was evident in the opening words of Henrik C. Wegener, the hosting rector from the University of Copenhagen, who reiterated one of the driving convictions of 4EU+: “By joining forces, we accomplish so much.”

While citing the Alliance’s “deep wish to contribute to society,” he also acknowledged the myriad of contemporary challenges—political, environmental, financial and social, that complicate this goal. Nonetheless, Wegener showed confidence in attesting that “we have the means to overcome these and many more challenges.”

Importantly, he also drew attention to the future actors of our society: “Together, we may be able to offer more and better education to our most important stakeholders—our students.”

This emphasis on European students in itself recalls the words of President Emmanuel Macron, from whom the idea of the European universities originated. In 2017, he defined European collaborative educational initiatives as “acts of conquest for future generations.” The idea of using European collaboration to create a sustainable future for its inhabitants was therefore a fundamental theme throughout the 4EU+ Annual Meeting in Copenhagen.

As an active member of the Alliance, a large Sorbonne University delegation was present and firmly engaged in discussions, presentations and exchanges. Sorbonne University president Nathalie Drach-Temam participated in a panel discussion along with rectors and vice-rectors from the six other universities. The panel discussion centered on sustainability in the Alliance, and drew on the upcoming project 1CORE, which will kick off this month after securing European funding for the next four years.

Our Vice President for Research and Innovation, Elisabeth Angel-Perez, also attended this year’s annual meeting, along with Sorbonne University’s 4EU+ coordinator Sabine Bottin-Rousseau, who presented during the Governing Board an overview on the EUP project status and main achievements, bearing in mind that EUP came to an end on October 31st 2022, after three years of execution and SU coordination.
David Siaussat, Sorbonne University’s advisor for sustainable development and environmental transition, also participated during a session of parallel talks, presenting the university’s steps towards conducting sustainable mobility programs.

Sorbonne University’s presence was clearly felt at the 2022 4EU+ Alliance’s Annual Meeting, through the active involvement of the 4EU+ local team at SU along with a diverse SU delegation representing research services, communications, IT services, 4EU+ flagship members, library services, international relations offices, and of course, SU students. From proposing innovative solutions towards a sustainable future to reinforcing values of academic freedom, European collaboration and diversity of perspectives, there was no doubt that the vision of the Alliance is firmly aligned with Sorbonne University.