19. April 2024

University of Bonn Joins Global U7+ University Network Alliance calls on G7 to improve access to higher education

Alliance calls on G7 to improve access to higher education

“Inclusive Education for Inclusive Societies” was the title given to the latest summit of members of the U7+ Alliance of World Universities, which now includes the University of Bonn as one of only five German representatives. They are demanding tangible action from the G7 to improve access to higher education worldwide, including by investing more in the university system in low-income countries and simplifying the visa process for researchers from conflict-hit nations.

Leaders of over 80 universities came together for the U7+ summit to discuss how access to higher education could be improved.
Leaders of over 80 universities came together for the U7+ summit to discuss how access to higher education could be improved. © Bocconi University
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At last week’s G7 summit in Italy, the U7+ Alliance of World Universities called on the heads of state and government to improve global access to higher education, which it sees as a way of accelerating economic growth and stabilizing societies. The U7+ presidential summit welcomed over 80 university leaders from 18 countries to Milan’s Bocconi University. The University of Bonn was also represented at the meeting by its Rector Professor Michael Hoch and its Vice Rector for International Affairs Professor Birgit Ulrike Münch.

At the summit, entitled “Inclusive Education for Inclusive Societies,” the members of the U7+ committed to making access to higher education easier for people at all stages of their academic career and to do so both within their own institution and outside its walls. This also includes fostering an inclusive and supportive culture on campus where all students, faculty and staff can flourish.

Requesting the G7’s commitment in four key areas

A total of 46 of the universities represented, including the University of Bonn, also agreed the 2024 U7+ Statement on Global Access to Higher Education, in which they call on the G7 to get involved and work with the universities in four key areas:

1. Continuing to develop high-quality and inclusive education systems from primary through to higher education
2. Supporting investment in higher education in low- and middle-income countries
3. Providing funding to support students from marginalized communities locally and globally
4. Supporting and prioritizing visas for students and researchers fleeing oppressive regimes, armed conflict or threats of conflict

“It’s a great honor for us as a University of Excellence to be invited to join this extremely prestigious global alliance,” says Rector Michael Hoch. “The network and the opportunity it brings for dialogue with partners from all over the world are of immense strategic importance to us. If we, as leading international universities, all speak with one voice, we’ll be able to do some valuable work together helping to overcome major challenges across the globe.”

University of Bonn among five German members

The University of Bonn is now the fifth German university in the alliance alongside Freie Universität Berlin, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, the Technical University of Munich and the University of Mannheim. “We hope to gain a lot from the University of Bonn joining the exclusive circle of the U7+,” explains its Vice Rector for International Affairs Birgit Ulrike Münch. “As a member, we’ll now be able to campaign even more fiercely for the alliance’s common aims, such as giving students and researchers forced to flee violence and persecution a place at a German university.”

In particular, the support provided to refugee and exiled researchers has been stepped up at the University of Bonn since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. With the Cologne/Bonn Academy in Exile, the University of Bonn and University of Cologne give exiled researchers from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus the opportunity to continue their work in either of the two cities.

About the U7+
A global network of over fifty universities from twenty countries on all five continents, the U7+ Alliance was formed as a complement to the G7. The presidents of the universities in the U7+ Alliance meet annually in the run-up to the G7 summit to explore ways in which universities might work together to help resolve global challenges.

Meeting partners from Japan at the U7+ summit:
Meeting partners from Japan at the U7+ summit: - Professor Satoshi Nakano (Hitotsubashi University), Professor Beverley Anne Yamamoto (Osaka University), Professor Birgit Ulrike Münch (University of Bonn) and Professor Michael Hoch (University of Bonn). © University of Bonn

Professor Birgit Ulrike Münch
Vice Rector for International Affairs
+49 228 73 68774

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