The 5th International Universia Rectors' Meeting will turn Valencia into the world capital of education

  • Office of the Principal
  • March 23rd, 2023

Around 700 university rectors and leaders from 14 countries, as well as personalities from politics, business, and national and international institutions, will meet in Valencia on 8, 9 and 10 May. The event will also feature guests such as the Spanish physicist and 2006 Prince of Asturias Award winner, Ignacio Cirac, and the economist, rector and former US Secretary of the Treasury, Larry Summers.

Nearly 700 university rectors and leaders from 14 countries, personalities from politics, business, and national and international institutions, will meet in Valencia on 8, 9 and 10 May at the 5th International Universia Rectors` Meeting which, under the slogan "University and Society", will turn the city of Valencia into the world capital of higher education.

The event, which will be hosted by Ana Botín, president of Banco Santander and Universia, has been presented this morning at a press conference by Matías Rodríguez Inciarte, President of Santander Universities of Banco Santander, the organiser of the meeting, and Mavi Mestre, Rector of the University of Valencia and President of the Academic Committee of the V International Meeting of Universia Rectors. Rodríguez Inciarte and Mestre have been accompanied by the mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó and the Minister of Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society of the Valencian Generality, Josefina Bueno,which is also a representative of the City of Arts and Sciences, the space that will host the Meeting.

The President of Santander Universities, Matías Rodríguez Iniciarte, has pointed out that “society is facing global challenges and needs the support of institutions, governments and companies to face them. Valencia will become a space for debate and reflection on the role that the university, through its teaching and research activity, can play in facing current challenges, for the purpose of a more prosperous society”.

Rodríguez Inciarte has explained that “Over three days, hundreds of academic leaders from around the world, representing more than 14 million university students, will discuss how, if the university advances, society progresses”and brought back to mind that this Meeting represents Santander's commitment “ with the progress of people and companies, supporting a more inclusive, fair and sustainable society through the university”.

The rector of the University of Valencia and president of the Academic Committee of the V International Meeting of Rectors, Mavi Mestre,referred to the preparatory work for this Meeting, which included a survey of rectors and four preparatory webinars around the three axes around which the debates will revolve: lifelong learning, the promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation and networks and interconnection between universities and other social agents.

Mavi Mestre has highlighted that for three days, Valencia will be the world capital of higher education and that the objective is “reach a compromise general enough to fit all universities and to make everyone feel comfortable”with what will be the "Declaration of Valencia", a commitment to continue advancing in the university-society relationship, a society that we aspire to achieve higher levels of well-being”.

Meanwhile, the Mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó, has highlighted the Mediterranean character of Valencia, “a city open to knowledge, with its own identity and a shared history, and with an international projection in which -he stressed- public universities play a fundamental role”. Ribó recalled that the two Valencian public universities are integrated into the main networks of international excellence both at the teaching and research level, “and are the spearhead of research, innovation and knowledge generation in the city”.

In fact, the Valencia City Council has recently signed two agreements to link universities with the Valencia 2030 Urban Strategy, with the aim of achieving climate neutrality."And it is that for us, the relationship between the city and the university is fundamental"  has assured Joan Ribó, who has pointed out the vocation of the municipal government of “go hand in hand with the university to incorporate the best knowledge, the best science and cutting-edge research in all areas of urban policies”.

For the Counselor Josefina Bueno, “It is no coincidence that the Meeting, which has held its previous editions in countries such as Brazil and Mexico and in other Spanish cities such as Salamanca and Seville, is held in this fifth edition in Valencia, making us the world headquarters for higher education, a fact that shows the strength of the universities of our Valencian Community”.

Bueno remembered that the Region is the one that has grown the most in innovation and has valued that universities “are capable of uniting university research with the business world, generating a fundamental pairing for the transformation of the economic model for which the Generality is working firmly. And it is that, if something is clear to us, it is that a modern society, such as that of the Valencian Community, is built from justice and from cohesion and for that knowledge, research and innovation are essential”.

Two days of university debate

During two days, around 700 rectors and academic representatives from 14 countries will debate around three key axes: lifelong learning, the promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation, and networks and interconnection between universities, companies , governments and other institutions.

The event can be followed via streaming on the corporative web of Banco Santander and will culminate with the publication of the Declaration of Valencia, in which various areas of action will be identified where the university can develop value proposals to contribute to a more sustainable social and economic progress of society from training, research or innovation. 

The V International Meeting of Universia Rectors continues the previous meetings held in Salamanca (Spain) in 2018, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 2014, Guadalajara (Mexico) in 2010 and Seville (Spain) in 2005 and is organized by Banco Santander , which maintains a firm commitment to progress and inclusive and sustainable growth, with a pioneering and consolidated commitment to education, entrepreneurship and employability, which it has been developing for 26 years and distinguishes it from other financial institutions in the world. The bank has allocated more than 2,200 million euros and has supported more than one million students, professionals, entrepreneurial projects and SMEs through agreements with more than 1,300 universities in 25 countries.