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Cooperation and the digital transformation of education in the spotlight of the II Academic and Knowledge Summit UE-CELAC

Cooperation and the digital transformation of education in the spotlight of the II Academic and Knowledge Summit UE-CELAC

The II EU-CELAC Academic and Knowledge Summit was held on May 4 and 5 in Santiago de Compostela (Galicia, Spain) aiming to promote the construction of a common euro-Latin American and Caribbean space for higher education, science, technology, and innovation.

The Summit provided continuity to the open dialogue process promoting the generation of knowledge, the design of common lines of action, and the bi-regional strategic cooperation, all in the context of transforming higher education.

The event gathered participants from UELAC universities, as well as institutional and political authorities from both regions and representatives of civil society, and was structured in keynote speeches and round tables that will revolve around three thematic axes: (1) the digital transformation of higher education, (2) knowledge for development and sustainability, and (3) academic cooperation.

“We must build collaboration networks between multiple actors to achieve ecosystems according to the world's challenges,” said Mark Urban, director of International Cooperation, Academic Relations, and Communications of RedCLARA, in the plenary session of the first round table.

RedCLARA representatives participated in the Summit. The organisation interconnected National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in Latin America and the Caribbean and enablers of digital transformation processes, science, technology, and innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Mark Urban explained that RedCLARA also connects NRENs to advanced academic networks in the rest of the world to benefit the development of science and academia, "generating intraregional and transcontinental research capabilities in all areas of knowledge. It is a transversal tool, promoting the development of applications without borders".

“RedCLARA is part of advanced networks in the world and works with other regional networks such as GEANT in Europe, Internet 2 in the USA, and Canarie in Canada. A global network is growing in the academic world,” he said.

He also explained that RedCLARA is implementing the BELLA II project, which aims to reduce the digital divide and develop the necessary infrastructure to consolidate and expand a digital ecosystem, enabling relationships and exchanges between companies, research centers, educational institutions, and national research and education networks, which are aligned with the strategic objectives in education, science, technology and innovation of both regions.  This project is part of the EU-LAC Digital Alliance.

“We expect to build a secure and resilient optical backbone, extending the achievements but, over all this, an articulation service to identify and connect the different players. One of the outcomes would be a testing service to leverage existing infrastructure to promote the creation of new solutions and innovations,” he said.

For two days, the Summit was a meeting point for critical reflection on fundamental aspects of bi-regional integration and strengthening of scientific and higher education institutions in the Euro-Latin American and Caribbean space.

In the closing declaration, participants agreed to boost the digital transformation of higher education, promote cooperation between scientific research systems, contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), promote academic mobility, and promote agreements for the recognition of studies, degrees, and diplomas, among others.

“These commitments are aligned with the objectives and work of RedCLARA, which will continue to be a key partner to achieve these,” said Laura Castellana, coordinator of academic projects, who also participated in the meeting.


BELLA II receives funding from the European Union through the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), under agreement number 438-964 with DG-INTPA, signed in December 2022. The implementation period of BELLA II is 48 months.


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