From principle to practice: Magna Charta proves its worth

By Nic Mitchell

It would be hard to find a better illustration of what the new Magna Charta Universitatum means in practice than the ‘exemplary’ way Wroclaw Medical University and other Polish universities responded to the crisis in neighbouring Ukraine after the russian invasion.

A year after the official signing of the updated Magna Charta Universitatum (MCU) saw several hundred university leaders commit to notions of responsiveness and responsibility to society, alongside academic freedom and institutional autonomy, vice-chancellors and rectors are preparing to meet again to see how the principles turned into positive action across Poland during Ukraine’s hour of need.

University leaders and representatives from around the world will be gathering at the University of Lodz, Poland, from 23 to 25 October for the 2023 Magna Charta Observatory anniversary conference under the theme of “Universities and Re-Construction of Cities: the Role of Research and Education”. University World News is the official media partner of the event.

Poland was deliberately chosen as the venue to allow international delegates to learn first-hand how Polish universities and society responded to the humanitarian and migration crisis. It should also make it easier for a large representation from Ukraine to attend and meet international partner universities, which have shown outstanding solidarity and support.

David J Lock, secretary general of the Magna Charta Observatory, told University World News that the in-person signing of the new Magna Charta Universitatum 2020, was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic until last year’s conference in Bologna, Italy, and it had already proved its relevance in the way universities in Poland, and others around the world, rallied after the russian federation invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

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