19 – 20 / 4 / 2023
The future of universities is a widely contested issue on a worldwide scale. The future is always intriguing and uncertain. Futurism, however, shouldn’t be confused with a sustainable future. Contemporary discussions about the future are more complex for a multitude of reasons, such as our inability to predict the disruptive effects of technological innovation and the cascades of crises we are currently experiencing, which have a multiplying effect on the quality of life and work.
One word has been omnipresent and fundamental in talks about the future – change. Universities of the future have to observe and continuously adapt to social needs, but they must also create, innovate, and refocus processes of societal upgrading. Not all future universities will be the universities of the future. Even though it is challenging to do so in the world of academia, the universities of the future will be those that focus on the resilient future rather than the past.
Answering this issue requires a diversity of perspectives and social stakeholders with a range of experiences. The idea behind this European Forum is to foster multilateralism and multilevel intersectoral collaboration. One of the foundational elements of universities in the future will undoubtedly be the collective wisdom generated by dialogues between the business and academic worlds.
Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter.
Inspired by Marcus Aurelius
The European Forum consists of four dialogues between representatives of the key regional stakeholders from the business and financial sector, diplomats and experts in multilateral relations, and the representatives of the academic sector. The Forum’s main goal is to go beyond stereotypes and openly discuss the existent dichotomies between private and public, state and market, traditional and progressive, corporate and participatory, and many others.
Peter Lürssen is a naval architect, Managing Director, and CEO at Lürssen Werft GmbH & Co.KG, a well-known company specializing in naval ships and special vessels and one of the leading builders of custom yachts. He studied shipbuilding and industrial engineering in Germany and business administration in the United States. Before joining the family business in 1987, he gathered considerable professional experience working in the commercial shipbuilding industry, including one year spent as a construction inspector at different Japanese shipyards.
Rector, University of Rijeka
Snježana Prijić Samaržija, Ph.D., is a Full Professor of Philosophy at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Rijeka. An expert in social philosophy, political epistemology, and applied ethics, she is the key founder and first director of the University of Rijeka Foundation. She has also founded and directs the Centre for Advanced Studies South-East Europe. She is president of the Young European Research University Network (YERUN), a member of the Strategy Board of the European University Alliance – Young Universities for Future of Europe (YUFE), and a member of the Steering Committee for Education Policy and Practices at the Council of Europe.
Chairman, Erste Foundation
Andreas Treichl has been Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ERSTE Foundation since January 2020. Prior to that he was Chief Executive Officer of Erste Group Bank AG between 1997 and 2019. Under his leadership, Erste Group, which had been a local savings bank up to then, went public and grew into one of the leading banking groups in Central and Eastern Europe, where it has more than 16 million customers. Erste Group is recognised as being at the forefront of digital banking innovation – its award winning banking platform George has already gained traction with over four million clients across the region. Treichl has also been the driving force behind Erste Group’s Social Banking programme, a financial inclusion initiative that addresses the needs of traditionally unbanked groups in CEE including people at risk of poverty, first-time entrepreneurs and social organisations.
CEO, Livin Farms
Katharina Unger is the founder and CEO of Livin Studio and Livin Farms, both Vienna-based companies leading in the field of edible insects and novel food innovations. She is a pioneer in the field of insect farming. For more than 10 years, she has worked on innovative technologies for alternative food and feed production in Europe, the US, Africa, and Asia. Often described as a thought leader in the space of design for sustainability, food, and agricultural innovation, she has given multiple lectures at universities and public events worldwide.
Roberto Kutić, Co-founder and COO, Infobip As Chief Operating Officer, Roberto manages Infobip’s operations to ensure that the company’s strategic vision is reflected through every department’s activity. He has been instrumental in Infobip’s growth and success, applying his background in business management and technology to scaling the platform globally. With co-founders CEO Silvio Kutić and CTO Izabel Jelenić, he helped bootstrap the company from no turnover to $1bn in just 14 years. And that too with no external investment.
Gitone Kvarner, Board Member
Member of the Board in Gitone Kvarner, with the previous experience as a director for strategic investments and incentives. Highly experienced in areas concerning EU funds, strategic planning, new investments, incentives, research and development, communication and promotion. Four years of experience working on the position of Deputy Minister for Strategic Planning, EU Funds Coordination and International Financial Instruments – working on the position in managing tasks related to the coordination of the entire Management and Control System of EU funds for Croatia, as well as tasks of preparation for the use and supervision of the implementation of international financial mechanisms and other aid programs available to the Republic of Croatia according to bilateral and international agreements. Five + years of experience in communication and marketing in public and private companies.
President of the Management Board, Jadran Galenski Laboratory
Ivo Usmiani graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry of the University of Zagreb, where he further specialized in pharmaceutical technology (production of drugs). He is the founder of the largest Croatian pharmaceutical company, Jadran-galenski Laboratory, and has been the company’s director since its founding in 1991 and President of the Board of Directors since 2015. As the President of the Board, he deals with the company’s strategy, vision, and supervision.
President of the Management Board of Erste Bank, Croatia
Christoph Schöfböck became a member of the Board of Erste Bank in 2011, and he is the current President of the Management Board of Erste Bank, Croatia, while also performing various functions within the supervisory boards of Erste Group members in Croatia. During his career, he held senior management positions at Bank Austria Creditanstalt Russia and was the chief representative of Creditanstalt in Moscow. He earned his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Vienna, completed numerous managerial training programs in Switzerland, Great Britain, and the USA, and held various management positions in Croatia.
Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Rijeka
Lado Kranjčević is a full professor at the Department of Fluid Mechanics and Computer Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Rijeka, and as of October 2022, he has been acting as the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering in Rijeka. He is also the Head of the Center for Advanced Computing and Modeling of the University of Rijeka, and his research interests include fluid mechanics, numerical models in environmental engineering, supercomputer resources, parallel computing, climate change, and supercomputer technology.
Senior Executive Director, Atlantic Group, President of University of Rijeka Council
Mladen Pejković is a Senior Executive Director for transformation and ICT at Atlantic Group and the Chairman of the University of Rijeka Council. Before joining Atlantic, he held various executive positions in 4 countries and built his expertise through deep experience in the technology industry, from the start-up phase of companies to tech giants.Since 2021, he is the Vice-President for Technology Development at the National Council for Science, HE, and Technological Development. Mladen Pejković is also a member of the Executive Board of the Croatian Ski Federation.
Dean, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Rijeka
Saša Drezgić is a full professor at the Department of Finance and Banking and head of the postgraduate specialist study of management in the public sector at the Faculty of Economics and Business of the University of Rijeka. His research interests include macroeconomics, fiscal policy, public finance, local government finance, and econometrics. He is the Head of the Center for Support to Smart and Sustainable Cities of the University of Rijeka, and as of October 2022, he has been acting as the Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business in Rijeka.
Managing Director at Lürssen Design Centre Kvarner/Maritime Centre of Excellence
Teuta Duletić holds a Master’s degree in Naval Architecture and an MBA with 13-years of experience in shipbuilding industry. For the third year in a row, she serves as a Managing Director at Lürssen Design Center Kvarner, the Rijeka branch of the well-known Lürssen group. She graduated from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Rijeka, studied at Cotrugli Business School and received professional training at University College London, UK and Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon, Portugal. She is interested in innovation ecosystems and engineering excellence. She built her international career working with American Metal Shark, a leading supplier of military vessel fleets to the United States Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, Army as Managing Director and Brodosplit, where she worked as Commercial and Design Manager for the total Group.
Vice President of Planning and Strategy Implementation at Infobip
Marin is an experienced management consultant with a deep understanding of the sector and expertise in building out bluechip tech organisations. He spent 12 years at Microsoft, where he was central to product development and the force behind Microsoft’s first business intelligence application. After his first eight years of working at the company’s headquarters in Redmont, USA, he moved to Microsoft’s London headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where he led the Application Platform business in over one hundred countries. In his spare time, he enjoys running and hiking. Marin has a small olive grove on the Croatian island of Šolta, where he often spends his summer days with his family.
Management Board of Gitone-Kvarner and Liburnia Riviera Hotels
Johannes Böck is Managing Director at GITONE Kvarner and Chairman-Supervisory Board at Liburnia Riviera Hoteli. Gitone Kvarner is company that manages various investments in Croatia with the main focus of investments in the field of tourism and hospitality. Work experience: rich experience on management positions in several Austrian real estate companies, as well as management positions in various companies from banking and insurance sector. Education: Graduate Degree in Law at Vienna Law School and Graduate Degree in Economics and Computer Science at Vienna University of Economics and Business. He also finished the Masters in Taxation program in New York University school of Law, specialization in international taxation and taxation of financial instruments.
North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley Joint Working Group Strategic Coordinator
Stephen Taylor was recently appointed as Strategic Coordinator by the Joint Working Group of the North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley, the first transnational hydrogen valley initiative in Europe. Prior to taking on this challenge he was Director of Research and Innovation at Area Science Park, the largest and longest established Science and Technology Park in Italy. He has over thirty years’ experience gained in Europe and in Silicon Valley in the USA and in both the public and private sectors, driving innovation through the strategic valorisation of research results and technology commercialization.
Executive Director, ERMAFA Environmental Technologies GmbH
Karl Pölzlbauer is a executive director of ERMAFA ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES who develop and provide novel environmental solutions in various fields and cooperate with industry and business. Karl has been dealing with topics such as recycling, sustainable circular economy and resource-saving disposal for 25 years now, as these in particular still offer enormous potential worldwide.
Director, Science and Technology Park, University of Rijeka
Boris Golob is the director of the Science and Technology Park of the University of Rijeka, STEP-Ri. He is a business consultant and lecturer, expert in innovating products, services and business models as well as business strategies. He graduated in mechanical engineering at the Technical Faculty in Rijeka and completed a series of professional educations abroad.
Program Director, Erste Foundation, President of Board of Trustees of the Moise Palace
Hedvig Morvai is Director for Strategy and Europe at the ERSTE Foundation in Vienna. She participated in establishing the European Fund for Balkans where she was the executive director for more than a decade. Prior to this she served as director of the Citizens’ Pact for South Eastern Europe and office coordinator of Partnership for Democratic Changes. Hedvig is author and initiator of a number of outreach and advocacy initiatives focused on dialogue and exchange. She developed her multi-disciplinary approach to leadership in regional co-operation and European integration in civic activism, philanthropy and regional politics. She created and ran capacity building initiatives and training programmes focused on good governance, community development, citizen participation and public policies. Hedvig is currently, among other functions and engagements, a council member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and president of the International Board of Patrons of the Center for Advanced Studies in Rijeka. In 2006 she was laureate of the Maja Marsicevic -Tasic Foundation’s “Conquering Freedom Award” and in 2015 with her team at the European Fund for the Balkans, she got the Regional Cooperation Council’s “Champion of Regional Cooperation” award.
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to the Republic of Croatia
Haakon Blakenborg is a Norwegian politician and current Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to Croatia. He studied history and political sciences at the University of Olso. He chaired the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Enlarged Committee on Foreign Affairs from 1993 to 2000, and also served as a Chairman of the Norwegian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (2001-2005). In 2006 he left Parliament to become Norwegian ambassador to Serbia (until 2010). From 2011 to 2012, he was the Director for Western Balkans section at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a Director for South East Europe section from 2012 to 2019. He has been very active in the European Movement in Norway.
Former Croatian Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration
Vesna Pusić is a Croatian sociologist and politician who served as First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs (2011. – 2016.). Throughout her political career, in both legislative and executive branches, Ms. Pusić was widely recognised as a leader advocating freedom, human rights, human dignity and democratic political culture based on dialogue and tolerance. Widely experienced in politics, academia and social activism, with a life-long commitment to strengthening peace and democracy, and promoting and defending human rights and human dignity, Vesna Pusić has been able to move borders in achieving these goals throughout her career.
Special Adviser to the President of the Republic for the Economy, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb
Velibor Mačkić is a special Adviser to the President of the Republic for the Economy, since 2020, is also the President of the Economic Council of the President of the Republic of Croatia. He is Sssociate professor at the Faculty of Economics & Business at the University of Zagreb and his main research interests are in these fields: (new) political economy, electoral cycles, analysis of price and non-price competitiveness of contemporary economies, and budget transparency. Mr. Mačkić is currently a member of the Steering Committee of the Centre for Democracy and Law Miko Tripalo.
Editor at Ideje.hr, permanent fellow at CAS-SEE Rijeka, senior lecturer in digital finance at Prague City University
Željko Ivanković is Principal Lecturer in Finance in School of Business at the Prague City University. With a PhD in political philosophy from the Australian National University, his research interests have evolved from the theory of property, institutional economics and political economy to the history of finance and digital money. Mr. Ivanković is editor at the Ideje.hr and a permanent Fellow at Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe, University of Rijeka.
Assistant Director and Research Fellow at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade
Luka Glušac is Assistant Director and Research Fellow at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade. Before joining the academia, he was a Senior Adviser at the National Human Rights Institution of Serbia, a Fellow at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and a Programme Manager at the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF). His training is in political science (PhD) and security studies (MA, BA). He is primarily interested in human rights institutions, accountability mechanisms and good governance, as well as democratic security sector governance. As an international expert, he has supported the strengthening of parliaments and independent oversight bodies (ombuds institutions, anti-corruption agencies, and similar) in various countries (e.g. Cameroon, Kenya, Niger, Ukraine, Georgia, Indonesia, the Maldives).
Austrian Institute for International Affairs
Vedran Džihić is currently a Senior Researcher at OIIP – the Austrian Institute for International Affairs, Co-Director of the Center for Advanced Studies, South East Europe and Assistant Professor at the Institute for Political Sciences, University of Vienna. Vedran Dzihic is a member of the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group, an advisory board member of the European Forum Alpbach as well as a member of the managing board of the community TV-station in Vienna, OKTO. His research interests are related primarily to democracy and transition processes as well as de-democratisation, illiberalism and authoritarianism, new nationalism, European integration, and civil society.
Organised by the University of Rijeka and Lürssen group.