Re-elected as Aurora President: A new phase for Aurora with enhanced opportunities in education and research

15 February 2023

Professor Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland, has been re-elected as President of Aurora.  On the occasion of his re-election, he shared a statement in which he expressed his confidence in the growth of the collaboration and the opportunities it creates for students, faculty, and the wider Aurora community. You can read the full statement below:

We are now entering a new phase with the new bid for the Aurora European University Alliance’s continued funding. After seeing the hard work and dedication of the staff and students at our universities, I am confident that the Aurora collaboration will grow and create more opportunities for our students, faculty, and the greater community.
I am honoured to lead this partnership of committed universities and I look forward to working closely with our newest member, Université Paris-Est Créteil. The work ahead creates opportunities for increased research collaboration as well as further development of joint courses and degrees, effective teaching methods and student engagement.

We have learned many things since the founding of the Aurora network in 2016, and even more so with being selected as one of the European University Alliances.  We can use that knowledge to streamline our work, apply lessons learned, identify the major challenges ahead of us, and proactively address them by improving and aligning our strategies across the Aurora universities.

We are now looking ahead. Initially, we were only awarded three years of EU funding, and now we hope for four more years of funding, but our work will undoubtedly extend beyond that. However, it is difficult to address fundamental changes in higher education and the ways our universities operate without the certainty of long-term funding. We will approach this by looking at multiple ways to secure the sustainability of our collaboration.

We will also look into ways to work closely with more partners, both within Europe and globally. There are exciting opportunities for collaboration with universities in the Global South as well as universities in North America, such as the University of Minnesota. At the same time, there are devastating times for our associate member university in Ukraine, V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, which we continue our collaboration by any means possible.

With both challenges and opportunities ahead of us, we will stay focused on our mission to enable our students with the skills and mindset needed to drive societal change and address global challenges.