Transatlantic collaboration expands horizons for well-being and education

02/21/2024 | by Tobias Endler

EUniWell and Teachers College, Columbia University forge deeper ties as new initiatives set the stage for a shared vision in a global context.

 This is a photo of a group of professionals gathered in a conference room at the University of Murcia, Spain, for the EUniWell Showcase Conference held in November 2023. They are positioned in front of a presentation screen that displays the title "Moving Beyond Europe" with a logo of EUniWell, the European University Alliance for Well-Being. The mood appears collaborative and positive, indicative of a productive event focused on enhancing well-being across European universities.

The European University for Well-Being (EUniWell) and Teachers College (TC) at Columbia University (USA) are celebrating their ongoing collaboration, evolving into a formidable force for positive change. Rooted in a shared commitment to well-being and education, the partnership emerges as a model of transatlantic cooperation amidst global challenges.

Showcasing success

In November 2023, the European University for Well-Being and Teachers College at Columbia University reached a significant milestone in their high-profile partnership at the EUniWell Showcase Conference held at the University of Murcia, Spain. Both sides took the opportunity of this celebratory event and strategic meeting to present the highlights of their collaboration so far and to unveil new initiatives for the upcoming year and beyond, building on the widespread enthusiasm for the partnership shared by all members of the Alliance and TC. The occasion was marked by a Memorandum of Understanding signed by EUniWell Chief Development Officer Professor Beatrix Busse and  Amine Mechaal, Director of Global Engagement at TC, on behalf of the Teachers College delegation, which also included Vice President for Planning and Strategy Katie Embree and Vice Dean for Research Carol Scheffner Hammer. Beatrix Busse emphasises: “The MoU puts on paper what started as an ambitious idea and has long grown into an inspiring vision with real-life impact. What we have been creating together is here to stay.”

On a formal level, the document represents another substantial step towards even more comprehensive cooperation, and global impact. On a symbolic level, the MoU ensures that the core mission of EUniWell, “to understand, improve, measure, and rebalance the well-being of individuals, our own community, our environment and society as a whole on a regional, European and global level”, is deeply anchored in the transatlantic realm. 

Facing global challenges

In a time of global tensions and transatlantic turmoil, an innovative and bold transatlantic partnership such as that between EUniWell and TC is indispensable: Western democracies face pressures both from the outside and within, especially during the paramount election year of 2024, which will see elections in the US and the European Parliament as well as in other populous nations. 

Built around the core concept of ‘well-being’ in modern-day society and its implications for education and all involved in the educational profession, “our transatlantic partnership is based on the values we hold dear”, says Busse, “namely being democratic, inclusive, diverse, research-based, inter- and transdisciplinary, and co-creational in everything we do, and as researchers and (teacher) educators.” Specifically, the partnership aims to take a close look at well-being through the lens of teacher education, which forms one of the core thematic arenas in EUniWell. In accordance with the thematic arena proclamation, researchers from the US and across Europe “aim to provide our researchers, educators, and staff with the skills and motivation to create research- and challenge-based educational programmes that deliver critical thinking, intercultural competence, entrepreneurial mindsets, and civic responsibility.”

According to the architects of EUniWell’s transatlantic collaboration, Western democracies such as Germany, France, and other central-European nations, and the United States of America, are ‘similar enough, and yet just different enough’ to understand each other, and learn from each other. TC Director of Global Engagement Mechaal full-heartedly agrees, praising the significant steps taken in the transatlantic partnership in 2023, and the hard work on all sides, which, in his words, was “all that we hoped for and more than we could have expected”. Mechaal points out the significant interest in two online workshops conducted last year and attended by researchers and staff members from both sides of the Atlantic. Plans for 2024, based on the successful cooperation so far, include more workshops, a joint third-party funding application, a joint online platform, and a talk series on research related to well-being in a transatlantic context. 

Aligning with EUniWell’s 2030 Strategy: Empowering future generations

EUniWell’s transatlantic initiative ties in directly with the “EUniWell 2030: Strategy Framework and Strategy Questions”, which evolves the long-term ambitions of the Alliance, to quote from the Executive Summary published in November 2023, “into three strategic focus areas, for becoming: 1)a/the Voice for Well-being; 2)a fully-fledged European university; and 3)communities for Well-being.” The use of the plural ‘communities’ signifies the Alliance’s commitment to strengthen sustained cooperation beyond classic diplomatic relations and established channels of communication (such as between state departments, at the level of supranational institutions, etc.). One community EUniWell considers crucial to building connections in the 21st-century world is composed of generations Z and Alpha. As today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders, Gens Z and Alpha are a constant reference point for anyone involved in the teaching professions, Busse and Mechaal agree.


Stay in touch & up-to-date!

Follow us on our social media channels:


And subscribe to our EUniWell newsletter for regular highlights and save-the-dates to upcoming EUniWell events delivered straight to your inbox: