Building bridges between universities and cities for well-being: EUniWell Rectors’ Assembly and Mayors’ Meeting in Nantes

06/24/2024 | by Elodie Bernard, Eva Laurie | European Universities Nantes Press Release

The European University for Well-Being (EUniWell) is pleased to announce its upcoming Rectors’ Assembly and Mayors’ Meeting, from 26 to 28 June at Nantes Université and in the City of Nantes, France. These pivotal gatherings will unite town hall representatives, rectors, university and Alliance leadership in a collaborative effort to enhance well-being through research, education, and civic engagement.

The image shows the Great Elephant, a large mechanical structure, in Nantes, France. This walking sculpture is part of the Machines of the Isle of Nantes. It resembles a life-sized elephant with intricate, visible mechanics.
©Franck Tomps

7th EUniWell Rectors’ Assembly

The EUniWell Rectors’ Assembly, taking place from 26 to 28 June, will convene rectors, vice-rectors, and other leading representatives from EUniWell member universities to deliberate on strategic initiatives and future directions for the Alliance. The three-day event will provide a platform for strategic discussions on fundamental issues, with several sessions and workshops focused on key topics such as advancing the implementation of EUniWell 2030, encouraging grassroots innovation and collaboration, common Educational Programmes, alignment with the European higher education agenda, and implementing sustainable practices to become a Green University. Additionally, the EUniWell Mayors’ Meeting will be part of this event, highlighting the importance of collaboration between universities and local governments.

Professor Carine Bernault, President of Nantes Université, welcomes the event: “Nantes Université’s vision closely aligns with EUniWell’s mission of shaping a better future for all through research, education, innovation and societal engagement. It is an honour to host the 7th EUniWell Rectors’ Assembly and the EUniWell Mayors’ Meeting, and to welcome our peers and our friends from across the Alliance. This event is an occasion to reflect on our impact and to take long-term orientations that will enable us to confirm our position as a leading European player contributing to the well-being and active transformation of society.”

The EUniWell Rectors’ Assembly underscores the dedication of each member university’s leadership and their commitment to advancing our common agenda for education, research, and innovation, aimed at shaping a better future with more well-being for all.

Professor Beatrix Busse, EUniWell Chief Development Officer, highlights the unified purpose between the Alliance and its cities: “Our common research and education agenda is crucial to addressing the challenges of today and tomorrow, demonstrating the strength of our collaborative efforts. By leveraging the diverse expertise and resources of our cities and member institutions, we are well-positioned to drive impactful change and contribute to the well-being and sustainability of our societies. This assembly is a testament to our shared commitment and collective potential to become a strong voice for well-being in the European Education Area.”

By building bridges between civil society, local government, and the academic world, EUniWell aims to foster well-being and sustainability across Europe and beyond and strives to create a collaborative environment that supports innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time.

Instilling well-being in cities

On 27 June, municipal officials from each city represented in the EUniWell Alliance, together with the leadership of EUniWell universities, will converge in person for the second EUniWell Mayors’ Meeting to strengthen the relationship between European universities and their local communities. The event is designed to foster the exchange of best practices at the local level. It will feature moderated discussions on key topics centred around the theme of well-being: European Universities and their Distributed Communities, and Strengthening Civic Engagement and Innovation between EUniWell and Our Cities.

In the second part of the Mayors’ Meeting, attendees will participate in workshops focusing on topics such as: Well-Being and Urban Identity, Engaging Citizens, and Fighting Climate Change.

Johanna Rolland, Mayor of Nantes, emphasises the significance of global cooperation: “As Mayor of Nantes, I am proud to welcome municipal officials and university leaders from across Europe for the EUniWell Mayors’ Meeting. This event is an effort to promote international dialogue and deepen the links between the education sector, the cities and the general public. By creating a network of cities committed to integrating well-being, sustainability and citizen engagement into our public policies, we are striving to improve the quality of life of our residents and contribute to set a European standard for participative urban development.” 

Participants of the EUniWell Mayors’ Meeting and  Rectors’ Assembly:

Rectors and Vice-Rectors of the EUniWell consortium:

  • Vice-Rector Beatrix Busse from the University of Cologne, EUniWell Chief Development Officer
  • Rector Carine Bernault from Nantes Unviersité
  • Rector Alessandra Petrucci from the University of Florence
  • Rector Jean-François Huchet from Inalco University
  • Rector Katharina Holzinger from University of Konstanz
  • Rector Peter Aronsson from Linnaeus University
  • Rector José Luján Alcaraz from the University of Murcia
  • Rector Antonio López from Universidade de Santiago de Compostela
  • Rector Volodymyr Bugrov from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
  • EUniWell Chief Student Officer Maurizio Häfele
  • Professor Aleksandra Cavoski from the University of Birmingham, Director of Global Engagement
  • Vice-Rector Giorgia Giovannetti from the University of Florence
  • Vice-Rector Gilles Forlot from Inalco University
  • Vice-Rector Rima Sleiman from Inalco University
  • Vice-Rector Il-Il Yatziv-Malibert from Inalco University
  • Vice-Rector Rüdiger Wilhelmi from University of Konstanz
  • Dean Daniel Alvunger from Linnaeus University
  • Vice-Rector Pascual Cantos Gómez from the University of Murcia
  • Vice-Rector Isabelle Richard from Nantes Université
  • Vice-Rector Olivier Grasset from Nantes Université
  • Vice-Rector Julie Morère from Nantes Université
  • Vice-Rector María José López Couso from Universidade de Santiago de Compostela,
  • Dean Miklós Kellermayer from Semmelweis University,
  • Vice-Rector Kseniia Smyrnova from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
  • Vice-Rector Andrii Gozhyk from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

Town hall representatives from the cities of Budapest, Cologne, Kalmar, Kyiv, Konstanz, Nantes, Santiago de Compostela, and Växjö.

About EUniWell

EUniWell is one of 50 European University Alliances currently funded by the European Commission with the aim of achieving a European Higher Education Area in which learning, studying, and conducting research across national borders is a matter of course. Launched in 2020, EUniWell has secured ongoing  ERASMUS+ European Universities Initiative support through 2027. The Alliance embraces a holistic, knowledge-based, and action-oriented approach to well-being, in line with the European Union’s call to promote the ‘Economy of Wellbeing’, a virtuous cycle between society, economy, and the environment, leading to greater well-being across those dimensions. EUniWell’s core mission is to understand, enhance, measure, and rebalance well-being at individual, community, and societal levels, guided by shared values of democracy, inclusivity, diversity, research, and challenge-based learning. With an emphasis on inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration, entrepreneurship, and co-creation, EUniWell aims to establish itself as a leading voice for well-being.


Media contact:
Professor Dr. Beatrix Busse
Chief Development Officer

Press and Communications:
Elodie Bernard
Communications Manager, Nantes Université

Eva Laurie
Head of Communications, EUniWell


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