The members of the Universities Estonia Board visited the University of Rijeka Rectorate on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. The delegation, headed by Prof. Toomas Asser, Ph.D., President of the Board and Rector of University of Tartu, included rectors of four Estonian universities, namely Prof. Mart Kalm, Ph.D., Rector of Estonian Academy of Arts, Prof. Tiit Land, Ph.D., Rector of Tallinn University of Technology, Prof. Ivari Ilja, Ph.D., Rector of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, and Prof. Tõnu Viik, Ph.D., Rector of Talinn University. The rectors were accompanied by Ms. Hanna Kanep, Secretary General, Universities Estonia, and Ms. Eve Tõnisson, Analyst, Universities Estonia.
The esteemed guests were welcomed by the UNIRI Rector, Prof. Snježana Prijić-Samaržija, Ph.D., along with other members of the University Management, i.e. Prof. Senka Maćešić, Ph.D., Vice-Rector for Digitalization and Development, Prof. Saša Zelenika, Ph.D., Vice-Rector for Strategic Projects, and Prof. Marta Žuvić, Ph.D., Vice-Rector for Studies, Students and QA.
The Estonian delegation visited Rijeka for the first time. During the working meeting, the participants exchanged their experiences and views on higher education from the perspective of two different education systems and EU members. Madam Rector Prijić-Samaržija and Professor Asser agreed on the importance of internationalization and international cooperation, as well as the importance of European university networks, which represent the future of the European higher education area. The meeting served as an opportunity to discuss the manner of financing higher education in Estonia and Croatia, and special emphasis was placed on doctoral studies, which proved to be a certain challenge, but also an opportunity, both at the University of Rijeka and at universities in Estonia. An example of good practice is UNIRI’s Doctoral School, whose goal is the development and improvement of doctoral studies in programs of all scientific disciplines at the University of Rijeka.
Madam Rector Prijić-Samaržija and Estonian rectors agreed on the importance of the UN’s SDGs, which are also highlighted in UNIRI’s strategy, such as quality of education, digitization, gender equality, innovation, and sustainable development. Having that in mind, Madam Rector Prijić-Samaržija emphasized that the University of Rijeka strives to be an open and socially responsible university engaged with the community.
The meeting was also an opportunity to discuss future avenues of cooperation between the University of Rijeka and universities in Estonia, especially in the field of science, but also in the field of student exchange.