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EUt+ rise 2022 conference hosted by technical university of sofia

Published on September 23, 2022 Updated on September 23, 2022

on the September 23, 2022

The Technical University of Sofia (TUS) hosted the second international conference on equality, diversity and inclusion at their Sozopol facility between 1st to 3rd September 2022. The theme of this year’s conference was Re-imagining Higher Education through Equity, Inclusion and Sustainability. This conference provided an opportunity for academic staff and PhD students to reflect on the contexts in which a positive re-imagining of higher education occurs, the relevance of sustainability, equity and inclusion for this transformative change, and the opportunities and challenges for higher education institutions as they grow into the 21st century.

A full programme of papers was presented within seven different panels looking at the impact of cultural contexts shaping higher education, inclusive leadership in the modern higher education landscape, commitment to the 2030 sustainable development goals, issues of justice and institutional responses on intersectionality and innovative and inclusive teaching approaches and pedagogies. Overall, 29 academic papers were presented involving 63 different authors, many from within EUt+ partner institutions.

Four keynotes were held, including Prof. Victoria Showunmi from London City University on Interrupting Whiteness, identity, gender, intersectionality and leadership. Prof. Tom Cooney from TU Dublin also gave a keynote on the role universities play in new hybrid ways of creating inclusive entrepreneurship. He shared, in particular, his experience of creating a business start-up course for people with disabilities. Bringing the Bulgarian perspective, government representative Georgi Stoev shared his ideas on the challenges of uncertain environments for politics, society and social inclusion. The fourth keynote was given by Dr Yoanna Pavlova of TUS on Bulgarian aspects of equality and feminism. Each keynote contributed new and considered reflections on the conference theme.

was marvellous to see such a range of papers and also the participation of both staff and PhD students in the presentation of their work. Speaking after the conference, participants shared their appreciation of the opportunity to be part of this rich network of expertise on equality and diversity issues and their enthusiasm to become more involved in this work with the European University of Technology going forward.

Reflecting on the event, Prof. Yvonne Galligan, who leads the task on equity and gender in EUt+, suggested that “the papers and discussions at this conference made it clear that equity, inclusion and sustainability are core features of a re-imagined higher education environment fit for the 21st century. We must now embed these features in the everyday practices of teaching, research and services and become leaders for the societies to which our universities belong. In this way, we can begin to address the Sustainable Development Goals in a meaningful manner and deliver a Quality Education (SDG 4) to our students.”

Date of update 23 septembre 2022