3 November, 2021
Rector Prof. Žalėnienė: International University Cooperation Helps Withstand Challenges of COVID Pandemic

October 28-29th, Mykolas Romeris University (MRU) Rector Prof. Dr. Inga Žalėnienė participated in the International Association of Universities (IAU) organized Board meeting. Prof. Žalėnienė is the only representative in this organization's management not only from Lithuania, but also from the Baltic States. During the meeting, IAU expert reports were discussed regarding the impact of the pandemic on higher education and the situation in different countries. Prof. Žalenienė  was included in the working group of the IAU Board, which will prepare a strategic IAU activity plan until 2030.

At the meeting of the IAU Board held Oct. 28-29th remotely due to the pandemic, IAU Board member MRU Rector Prof. Inga Žalėnienė pointed out that different pandemic management models and restrictions as well as measures to support higher education are applied in different countries. Also,  access to the Internet, mobile communication and the application of the latest technologies also differs. This leads to significant differences in access to higher education and research.

Rector Prof. Žalėnienė invited members of the International University Association to more actively exchange good practices that help to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

„Pandemic lessons encourage the international academic community to share experiences so that we increase access to higher education and improve the research and studies process. It is obvious that in the new reality we will no longer return only to the traditional methods of knowledge transmission,“ said Prof. Žalėnienė.

During the meeting there was discussion of IAU expert reports on the impact of the pandemic on higher education and the related situation in different countries as well as strengthening values-based higher education leadership, sustainable development, digital transformation, funding and other relevant issues including preparing for the May 2022 planned UNESCO World Higher Education Conference.

Rector Žalėnienė is included in a working group of the IAU Board, which will prepare the strategic action plan of IAU up to year 2030. She proposed including ethical and value issues arising in the process of application of artificial intelligence, robotics and other latest technologies in strategic research directions.

For more than 70 years, the IAU has been an active center of expertise in higher education, contributing to UNESCO and UN higher education agendas and disseminating good practice through its partners‘ network, maintaining international dialogue globally in the higher education sphere. IAU unites more than 640 university and national university rector conferences from more than 120 countries. MRU has been participating in the activities of the Association since 2004. MRU Rector Žalėnienė was elected a member of the IAU Board in 2016.

Participation in activities of the IAU provides new opportunities to present the potential of Lithuanian higher education to the world. By actively developing partnerships with foreign universities, MRU pursues an internationalization strategy coordinated by IAU, of which the goals is to become the leading social sciences university in Lithuania and the region.