Barcelona takes over from Paris at the UNESCO Higher Education Conference

The III World Conference on Higher Education, to be held in Barcelona between May 18 and 20, will define the roadmap for universities after the pandemic and for the next decade. This is the first time that UNESCO has held this event outside of Paris, where its headquarters are located. The meeting coincides with World Higher Education Week, with the forecast of 429 conferences and the attendance of 1,500 participants from universities, governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector and civil society who will share their experiences and ideas in order to develop a common agenda for the next decade.

“The world of higher education has changed, and is almost unrecognizable, since the last conference (2009), and the great leaps have occurred particularly in the number of students, international cooperation and educational quality,” he said yesterday in the event was presented by the head of the UNESCO Higher Education Division, Peter Wells. For this, it will be necessary to “break with the traditional models of higher education and open the doors to innovative and creative conceptions”.

The world of higher education has changed, almost beyond recognition, since the last conference (2009)”


Peter WellsHead of Higher Education at UNESCO

Beyond current sustainable development agendas, the goal of the conference is to have a “forward-looking” vision to “pave the way for future learning communities” that are “inclusive of all learners throughout life” and based on sustainability parameters, Peter Wells has pointed out.

The conference will address inequalities in access to higher education (also in conflict areas), studying aspects such as gender gaps and refugee status in relation to student status.

There are currently 235 million students enrolled in higher education worldwide, a number that has doubled in the last 20 years and will double again in the next decade.

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