A successful online kick-off for the European University, ENLIGHT

The ENLIGHT alliance was officially launched during the online Kick-off Week from the 1st until the 5th March. Here we look back on some of the highlights from the conferences and round tables that focused on the major societal challenges that this European University is confronting: quality of life, sustainability and citizen engagement.

  • 17/03/2021

A multidisciplinary alliance

ENLIGHT (European university Network to promote equitable quality of LIfe, sustainability and Global engagement through Higher education Transformation) is one of 41 European University alliances that will test different models, applied to the concept of European Universities and will evaluate its capacity to transform higher education (download the ENLIGHT factsheet). This alliance brings together the universities of Ghent (Belgium), Bordeaux (France), Gottingen (Germany), Tartu (Estonia), the Basque Country (Spain), Galway (Ireland), Groningen (the Netherlands), Uppsala (Sweden) and Comenius Bratislava (Slovakia) and is coordinated by the Universities of Ghent and Bordeaux.


The online “ENLIGHT Kick-off Week” registered 1, 285 participants and has totaled more than 4,000 viewings to date.

The ENLIGHT Kick-off week brought together academics, experts and students from all of the ENLIGHT universities as well as renowned external speakers representing different domains and the different cities of ENLIGHT:

  • Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth​
  • Herman Van Rompuy, President Emeritus European Council, Minister of State, member of the ENLIGHT External Advisory Board
  • Elisabeth Dahlin, Ombudsman for Children in Sweden
  • Irina Bokova, former Director General of UNESCO
  • David Donoghue, former Irish Ambassador to the UN
  • Monika Froehler, CEO Ban-Ki-Moon Centre​ for Global Citizens
  • Veronica Manfredi, Director Quality of Life, DG Environment, European Commission
  • Céline Papin, Deputy Mayor of Bordeaux in charge of territorial cohesion, international and European relations and Vice President of Bordeaux Métropole.
  • Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO Ireland's Western Development Commission
  • Christian Dahlmann, Head of external relations at the City of Uppsala
  • Alo Lilles, Head of Business Development at the City of Tartu

Highlights from the week’s exchanges

Each session covered two topics, leading to constructive debates and discussions

Health & well-being / Digital revolution and Impact of digitalization 
This session on health and well-being discussed the impact Covid-19 will have on research in public health over the next five years. Estonia was used as an example to study practices within the domain of digital innovation.

Climate action / Circular economy
During this session on climate action and circular economy, Veronica Mendfredi, director of quality of life at the European Commission declared “Business as usual is no longer an option. Change in society will be the rule for the generations to come and we must train our students for this future”

Equity / Global citizenship
The discussions on equity and global citizenship provoked a collective brainstorming session on the values of such a “global” citizenship, encouraging students to take on the question of inclusion.

Imagine the fantastic impact if just one third of ENLIGHT students act concretely in favor of our sustainable development objectives!

Monika Froehler — Director of the Ban Ki-moon Center for Global Citizens

How can the University help cities and communities to shape the future?

Universities play an essential role in helping societies achieve their sustainable development objectives: knowledge and research, social inclusion, etc. They must collaborate closely with cities and communities to shape the future.

The objective is to build an efficient collaboration and ecosystem in order to find together local and European solutions that may confront the current and future global challenges of the 21st century. This is the ultimate ambition of the ENLIGHT alliance in the years to come.

See the Closing session again 


For more information

Discover all the Kick-off Week videos here with ENLIGHT's YouTube


University of Bordeaux