The first CHARM-EU Days conference

The first CHARM-EU Days conference
On the 23-24 of November 2020, with the help of ELTE, the very first CHARM-EU Days Conference was organised and conducted, which tackled the question "How can the European Universities Initiative contribute to supporting the European Green Deal?". Participants gained an insight to this crucial topic through a series of panel discussions and presentations from CHARM-EU members and other experts in the field.

On the first day, Adrienn Király, Head of Cabinet of Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth of the European Commission, opened the conference with an inspiring speech emphasizing the important role European Universities can play in the European Commission’s upcoming Climate Pact. She also highlighted that “We need to make sure that this transition leaves no one behind or else there will be no transition.”

Following the Opening Session, a panel discussion was conducted in order to discuss the ways in which European Universities can actively contribute to the achievement of the European Green Deal. Amongst the insightful speeches of the panel’s participants, one speaker’s vision stood out. Monika Skadborg, representing the European Student’s Union, emphasized that in order to achieve sustainability in the higher education sector, students need to be a central part of the discussions surrounding the topic.

In the afternoon, participants had the chance to attend three Green Cluster Sessions, that discussed the ways in which transdiciplinarity, mobility and inclusivity can contribute towards achieving greater sustainability. The clusters tackling the topics of mobility and inclusivity were organised by Eötvös Loránd University’s experts in the fields, Katalin Anna Németh and Ágnes Sarolta Fazekas.

The second day of the conference held a panel discussion to explore the role of business and society as a part of European Universities in addressing the European Green Deal. Furthermore, participants gained an insight into the research and innovation activities towards achieving a greener future, amongst the relationship between Horizon 2020 and European Universities.

In order to conduct the first ever CHARM-EU Days, rapporteurs from the Green Cluster Sessions highlighted the discussions main points and conclusions. Finally, Senior Advisor of CHARM-EU, Tim Savage, and Head of the Higher Education Unit of the European Commission, Vanessa Debiais-Sainton, concluded the conference with their closing speeches in which they both reflected on the critical role of European Universities and their students in shaping the future’s sustainability.

Michele Catanzaro, presenter of the conference, reflected on the important lessons learned during the conference by saying “Climate change, the biodiversity crisis, and the pandemic crisis are really anguishing problems and it’s comforting to hear that universities are really committed to tackle these issues.”