After joining the YUFE initiative in December 2018 and contributing to the YUFE project as an associate partner since June 2019, the University of Rijeka is proud to announce that its ongoing efforts and active engagement have resulted in a change of status to a full member of the YUFE consortium. The full membership status was awarded by the European Commission upon formal request submitted by the YUFE alliance. The University of Rijeka is thus equated with other member universities from Belgium, Cyprus, England, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain, and will, therefore, assume even more responsibilities in co-creating the first European University of the future open to local and international students of all backgrounds.
University of Rijeka becoming a full member of YUFE Alliance is of great importance for the region as well, since one of YUFE’s strategic goals is to establish cooperation with local businesses and stakeholders, local citizens, and communities to contribute to solving local and European challenges. This will all be easier to achieve now, as the formal status of the University of Rijeka is equal to that of the other YUFE universities. University of Rijeka and Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun becoming full members of the YUFE project also ensures that YUFE full membership becomes even more diverse and representative of different European regions, which demonstrates a distinct European orientation of the YUFE alliance.
Prof. dr. Martin Paul, President of Maastricht University and YUFE Chair, shared the exciting news: “The integration of Nicolaus Copernicus University and of the University of Rijeka as full partners in YUFE is a milestone not only for these institutions but for the whole alliance. It constitutes an official recognition of the significant progress YUFE has already achieved in building a university alliance that connects all parts of Europe. We are further encouraged that our inclusive approach of bringing together academic institutions, staff, and students from many different countries, cultures, and fields will be successful to implement a shared vision and actions leading us to become a true European University based on excellence, equality, and mutual respect”.
Upon receiving the official confirmation, University of Rijeka Rector Prof. Snježana Prijić-Samaržija, Ph.D., stated: “The status of a full member of the YUFE Alliance is of vital strategic importance for the University of Rijeka and all of its students, researchers, and staff members, who will now have access to broader modes of mobility, studies, research, and development. We have repeatedly underlined that the YUFE network’s mission is entirely consistent with the mission and the vision of the University of Rijeka, we share a common dedication to the European idea, and we are equally sure of the critical role of universities in the future of Europe. The European University Initiative, which places particular emphasis on the quality of the YUFE network’s project, is of vital importance for the entire European Higher Education Area and the European Research Area. The University of Rijeka’s full membership in the YUFE Alliance will undoubtedly contribute to the Republic of Croatia’s better cohesion within the European Union. It will also reduce the gap existing between universities in EU13 member countries – which were the last to enter the European Union, and which include Croatia – and universities in EU15 member countries. Thanks to the YUFE network members’ openness and inclusiveness – both during earlier stages, when we were an associate partner, and now – we noticed no disparate treatment in any segment of our work, as all partners were in principle allowed full participation in activities. However, full-partnership will bring with it further reputational advantages and a change in status, as well as the opportunity to gain further benefits through our joint work.
Finally, I must thank all members of the YUFE Strategic Board for their support, and especially YUFE Chair Prof. Martin Paul, managing director Daniela Trani, and the entire team for their commendable efforts, continuous support, and a relationship of mutual respect that transcends ordinary partnerships and opens the space for a new reading of universities and civic friendships”.
The YUFE Alliance is a large strategic partnership that gathers 10 young universities from 10 European countries, which have partnered with 4 associated partners with core competencies in the field of employment and inclusion. YUFE wants to make a radical change in European higher education, presenting itself as the leading model of a young, non-elitist, open and inclusive European student-centered university. YUFE is a unique ecosystem that connects universities with communities and will be based on the cooperation of higher education institutions, the public and private sectors, and citizens across Europe.