LEAD Academic Network Roundtable Meeting on Higher Education Internationalization and International Cooperation at University of Zagreb

On February 5th 2024, the University of Zagreb became a nexus for international dialogue on higher education, hosting a distinguished roundtable event organized by the LEAD Academic Network. This gathering saw the convergence of six delegations from prominent Chinese and European institutions, marking a significant step towards enhancing global academic cooperation.

The event was graced by key figures from the University of Zagreb, including Prof. Dr. Jurica Pavičić, Vice-Rector for International and Inter-institutional Cooperation, Prof. Dr. Melita Kovačević, former Vice-Rector for Research, and distinguished representatives from the Faculty of Economics and Business—Prof. Dr. Zoran Krupka, Vice-Dean for Quality and Internationalisation, and Prof. Dr. Kosjenka Dumančić, Vice-Dean for Strategic Partnerships and Projects. The Croatian and Chinese directors of the Confucius Institute at the University of Zagreb, Krešimir Jurak and Haiyan Yang, respectively, were also pivotal in the roundtable's proceedings.

The roundtable was orchestrated by Krešimir Jurak, focusing on the pivotal theme of internationalization strategies within higher education. The discussions aimed at fostering deeper international cooperation between European and Chinese universities. Prof. Dr. Jurica Pavičić set the tone with a warm welcome and an expression of eagerness for collaborative endeavors between the University of Zagreb and its Chinese counterparts.

Prof. Dr. Chang Zhu, Director of the LEAD Academic Network and the China-EU Higher Education Research Center, provided an insightful overview of the network's objectives and its crucial role in promoting dialogue and cooperation between European and Chinese academics, especially in governance and leadership development within higher education.

Highlighting tangible outcomes of international cooperation, Prof. Dr. Zoran Krupka shared the University of Zagreb's successful partnership experiences with Shanghai Jiaotong University, emphasizing the importance of incremental steps towards lasting collaboration. Prof. Dr. Kosjenka Dumančić discussed potential opportunities under EU funding schemes that could benefit both Chinese and European universities.

The roundtable also featured presentations from representatives of the National Academy of Education Administration, Renmin University, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Chongqing Normal University. They explored interests in areas such as digital academic leadership and summer school programs, showcasing a mutual desire for enhanced international collaboration.

The event culminated with Prof. Dr. Melita Kovačević's reflective speech, underscoring the imperative of maintaining dialogue and cooperation amidst geopolitical uncertainties, thus reinforcing the spirit of academic unity across borders.

This roundtable at the University of Zagreb not only underscored the importance of international cooperation in higher education but also set the stage for future collaborative initiatives between European and Chinese universities, promising a brighter, interconnected academic future.