Brussels, 3 February 2006
Ján Figel’, European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture, and Multilingualism, will be visiting the USA from 6 to 8 February. He will meet the US Secretary for Education and other senior government officials, as well as the President of MIT, to reinforce and renew European-US cooperation in higher education and vocational training, which since it began in 1995 has involved over 600 institutions and 3000 students.
“Globalisation of higher education is a reality and the USA and the EU are the two main actors on the world stage in this field. My meetings with the American authorities will focus on the possibilities for reinforcing our educational cooperation which plays an important role in EU-US relations.” said Commissioner Figel’ ahead of his departure for Washington DC.
The Commissioner’s programme will include meetings with Margaret Spellings, the US Secretary for Education, Karen Hughes, the State Department Undersecretary for Public diplomacy and Public Affairs, as well as various education experts and representatives from the World Bank.
The EU and the USA have been running a joint cooperation programme in higher education and vocational training since 1995. The programme’s core activities are joint curriculum development and student exchanges in a wide range of disciplines such as International Education Development, Environment and Agriculture, Engineering, Health Science and International Business. More than 600 institutions have participated by drawing on their best resources to build transatlantic study programmes and over 3000 students have benefited from the resulting exchanges. The programme is now up for renewal.
Commissioner Figel’ said “Our education cooperation programme with the US has been very effective at creating long-term links between our institutions and at equipping the participating students with the international knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the global market place. In my view, cooperation in education is a win-win situation from an educational, public diplomacy and economic point of view.”
Mr. Figel’ will also be meeting Josette Shiner, the State Department Undersecretary for Economic, Business and Agricultural affairs to discuss the preparation of the upcoming G8 Ministerial Meeting on Education that will be held in Russia.
In Boston, Mr. Figel’ will exchange views with Susan Hockfield, the President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on the new EU initiative to create a European Institute of Technology.
In his speech at Georgetown University, Commissioner Figel’ will focus on European cultural and language issues, in particular the evolving European identity. Commissioner will also deliver a speech at Harvard University focusing on the role of the knowledge society as a response to the challenge of globalisation.
The Commissioner’s visit will also be the occasion to review education policy developments in the US and in the EU and discuss the opportunities arising from the Bologna Process.