By Marina Frangeskidou, University Officer at the University of Cyprus, Rector’s Office
Universities are catalysts of change, creators of new cultures, and disruptors of norms which prevent the positive development of our societies. Recognizing the above as one of the main objectives of academic and research institutions, the University of Cyprus focuses on positively impacting the society, and helping our world change for the better.
Being an outward looking institution entails constant communication not only with the university community, but also with the citizens of the world. After all, new generations, prospective students and researchers not only aspire to obtain a degree, gain new knowledge and have a respected employer respectively, but also to search out for a community which will inspire, mentor and provide them with competencies that will guide them through their life itinerary.
The attractiveness of a university is determined by its dedication to becoming one of the chief contributors to the social development of society, and its commitment to addressing the challenges ahead:
- Understanding and decoding future needs
- Educating the society to enhance the transitions and adapt to change
- Realising how globalisation brings us closer to creating and inventing the future
- Creating a mindset of collaboration, diversity, equity and belonging
Internationalisation and collaboration are essential in a university’s attempt to achieve the above, but also its multiple objectives. As the globe makes its first steps towards 2022, tackling the pandemic and its multifaceted consequences, universities focus on actions that will improve our society. Moreover, the importance of other challenges should not be put aside. Adopting a holistic approach through collaboration should be a priority towards achieving the sustainable developmental goals.
We must not forget that education is the means for benefiting society and, to this end, we are responsible for paving the way for future generations, for helping them understand that participation, public involvement, sensitivity and empathy will add value to their lives and their professional careers.
At the University of Cyprus, we are constantly seeking collaborations and partnerships with the society anduniversities across Europe and the globe in order to further connect, exchange and communicate ideas, search for and apply research solutions in an attempt to respond to the challenges that threaten our world. Climate crisis, gender, economic and social gaps are testing our limits. As progressive and outward looking institutions, universities should act as defenders of the environment, democracy and freedom, as well as inventors of the future, enabling each member of their community to become the best version of themselves.