New challenges for the EMUNI University: For a new year, new challenges for the education activities at EMUNI

Dr. Mitja Gerževič

EMUNI University has set several important milestones in the field of its educational activities over the past few years, which for a young, barely 10-year-old university established as an international organization or network of universities, at the beginning of the most economically turbulent and unpredictable period, represents a major step in its placement in not only the Slovenian but also the wider Euro-Mediterranean higher education area.

In 2018, marking its 10th anniversary, EMUNI University has awarded as many as 12 students for the first time in the framework of two postgraduate study programmes. Three students were awarded the Master in Intercultural Management professional titles within the Intercultural Business Communication study programme, and nine were awarded certificates of completion of the Euro-Mediterranean Innovation and Entrepreneurship Diploma.

Through the ERASMUS+ Jean Monnet Module call, with the project entitled Euro-Mediterranean Studies – Current and Future Perspectives, EMUNI University successfully completed a series of summer schools on the topic of migration and, in collaboration with the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics, also on the topic of “blue economy” or “blue growth.” In cooperation with the Science and Research Centre of Koper, two summer schools were organized with the title Healthy and Active Lifestyle, covering topics in the fields of kinesiology, sports science, prevention and rehabilitation, and Mediterranean diet and nutrition.

After more than five years of disagreement with the Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (SQAA) regarding the accreditation of two EMUNI’s study programmes, we are now at the point where SQAA (based on the decision of the SQAA Appeal Commission) has to re-consider both rejected study programmes. One of the two programmes, the Euro-Mediterranean Studies, has been updated and re-submitted for its evaluation, and the other programme, the Euro-Mediterranean and Intercultural Studies, is in the process of being updated and will be re-submitter for the evaluation by the SQAA in 2020.

In addition to these two programmes, in the following two years the EMUNI University intends to notify or accredit also the following study programmes:

  • a one-year international joint Master’s programme in North African and Middle Eastern Studies, to be implemented in collaboration with Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco,
  • a two-year international joint Master’s programme in Smart Environmental Management of Climate Change in collaboration with partner universities from Italy, Lithuania and Egypt through the ERASMUS+ Capacity Building and Higher Education project,
  • a two-year Master’s programme in Kinesiology of Human Performance and
  • a three-year PhD programme in Globalization, Migration and Cultural Pluralism, both within the framework of the newly established Euro-Mediterranean Postgraduate School and in cooperation with the Science and Research Centre of Koper.

These milestones give all of us who are involved in EMUNI University’s educational work the foundation and additional motivation as well as fresh impetus in pursuing EMUNI’s mission as: i) a reference university, conducting quality study programmes and state-of-the-art research in fields of high relevance, serving Euro-Mediterranean interests and challenges, ii) a committed and dynamic network of diverse Euro-Mediterranean higher education and research institutions and iii) an inclusive platform for intercultural dialogue and science diplomacy in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Given the rapid growth and development of new knowledge in all areas of human activity, and how slowly the entire public, and many times even private education system adapts to these changes (at least in the immediate social environment in which we are directly placed), it is necessary for the future to think and take actions about greater adaptability to changes, focus on the needs of the narrower and wider social environment, enabling greater openness and less bureaucratization of the functioning of educational institutions, of course by providing and enabling high quality, excellence of the work of all parties involved. Above all, it will be necessary, both in higher education and in other fields and at other levels of one’s as well as society’s activities, to develop an awareness of greater cohesion and interdependence, and greater aspirations for the common good and less for the good exclusively and solely for the individually.