The Alps-Adriatic Rectors’ Conference (AARC) is a union of 40 universities from the Alps-Adriatic area and has included the Western Balkans since 2011. The objective of the AARC is to promote co-operation between universities and colleges across the region, as well as co-operation in business, arts and future-oriented projects. The AARC was founded in 1979 by the University of Klagenfurt and a number of other academic institutions. The University of Klagenfurt chaired the conference in 2007/8 and 2015/16.
The AARC works to facilitate efficient, forward-looking partnerships between universities and states in different regions, taking into account the varied contributions and characteristics of each. The Alps-Adriatic region makes a significant contribution to consolidating the European idea, and the universities that are a part of the AARC strengthen this bond through working together, exchanging knowledge and academic activities.
From 20 to 22 September 2018 the University of Klagenfurt held the third AARC Graduate Forum, which was dedicated to the topic “1918-2018. (Un)doing Nationalism and Resistance”. The event was officially opened by Dr. Valentin Inzko, the United Nations High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The first and second AARC Graduate Fora were held by the universities of Maribor (“Environment and Sustainable Energy”, 24-25 November 2016) and Trieste (“From Food to Health”, 28-30 August 2017).
AARC at the University of Klagenfurt
The University of Klagenfurt took over the presidency of the AARC in 2015 with the aim of inspiring fresh momentum and initiating activities that would strengthen the Alps-Adriatic region. The continuous development of academic co-operation projects within the region is a key aspect of the University of Klagenfurt’s internationalisation strategy.
The unique location of the University of Klagenfurt at the intersection of three cultures means that the university is well-placed to deliver research and teaching informed by internationalisation. Research, development and cultural projects run with regional partners and teaching and training can also be used to promote the economic and social development of the area. The AARC therefore makes a major contribution to tackling the brain drain from the region.
In May 2016, AARC presidency passed from the University of Klagenfurt to the University of Koper (2016/2017), followed by the University of Györ (2017/2018). In 2019, the University of Trento (2019/2020) took over the presidency from the University of Rijeka (2018/19).
The Alps-Adriatic internationalisation and co-operation strategy
The University of Klagenfurt aims to significantly increase the visibility and competitiveness of its research within the international research community. Partnerships in the Alps-Adriatic area (South Tirol, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Slovenia, Serbia and Hungary) are a key focus. These strategic partnerships are the result of the unique geographic location of the University of Klagenfurt at the intersection of three cultures and already play a crucial part in the strategy of the University of Klagenfurt.
Establishment of a Permanent Secretariat
At the most recent meeting of the Alps-Adriatic Rectors’ Conference (AARC) it was unanimously decided to establish a Permanent Secretariat at the University of Klagenfurt.
Under the leadership of Assistant Professor Dr. Cristina Beretta (Department of Slavonic Studies, member of the Scientific Committee for the AAU since 2013), the Permanent Secretariat, which is currently in the process of being set up, will work closely with the current, past and future presidents of the AARC and the Scientific Committee. The tasks of the Permanent Secretariat, which is part of the International Office at the University of Klagenfurt, include networking with external partners, the external representation of AARC and the planning of future co-operation projects in the Alps-Adriatic region.