Attendees of the event discussing with the promotional image of the event screening behind them
Attendees of the event discussing with the promotional image of the event screening behind them
The Branding Event closes the 4th Unite!’s Dialogue at UPC
Attendees of the event discussing with the promotional image of the event screening behind them
The 4th Unite! Dialogue in Barcelona 2021 closed yesterday with Unite!'s 1st Branding Event, aimed at promoting the alliance's visibility and enhancing its engagement with the various stakeholders.

Throughout the day, the UPC Auditorium hosted the reflextions of different speakers from the world of business, industry, politics and civil society who debated, together with the members of the alliance, around the impacts of universities in regional innovation ecosystems, leadership in smart technologies and the global impact on society, through the universities' social responsibility in order to face together the current challenges for a new future.

In the first session, different speakers from the industrial field shared their vision on the new paradigms that must be addressed in terms of knowledge and technology transfer if the great economic and technological challenges in Europe are to be assimilated. 

The day also included the vision of policy makers. During the session, the rector of the UPC, Daniel Crespo stated that "Europe is a wonderful project in itself. Its main objective is to create European citizens and Higher Education is the most useful tool we have to achieve it". During the debate, the speakers discussed the necessary complicity of the governments to promote the joint projects prepared by the alliances through legislation. In this sense, Juan Rayón, President of the Erasmus Student Network, stated that "the European University Initiative is a soft policy plan, so for Unite! to become a reality, we need the ambition of the heads of state because it is really about European cooperation". José Manuel Pingarrón, Secretary General of State of the Spanish Ministry of Universities, encouraged universities "to believe in this alliance and to go ahead with it." Pingarrón said that "you have the support of the Spanish government and our role is to remove the barriers to make it a reality". In this sense, Gerard Vives, director general of European Affairs and Institutional Representation Abroad of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Generalitat of Catalonia, said that Unite! "is really the right initiative at the right time. I'm excited about it because we need it, so I encourage all members of the alliance to push us."

For the University Social Responsibility session of the 1st Unite! Branding Event, speakers discussed how community engagement refers to how universities address societal needs in collaboration with their external communities. Finally, in the last session representatives of the 4 European University Initiative alliances of the city of Barcelona (ECIU, EUTOPIA, CHARM-EU and UNITE) discussed the future relationships between universities, cities and society. Lourdes Puig, Vice Rector for International Policy at the UPC, said that universities "have to capitalize on partnerships as a great opportunity to show that we are involved in the development of cities and also of Europe".

In the closing ceremony, Juan Jesús Pérez, Key Liason Officer of the UPC, thanked all the participants for their presence in the sessions and meetings that have been held during these three days at the UPC. For her part, Lourdes Reig said that "we have many quantitative indicators of #UNITEDialogueBarcelona, but perhaps it is more important to highlight the social capital that we have been able to produce in this meeting and that translates into commitment ".

In this sense, the Dialogue and Branding Event have had more than 200 face-to-face participants and 350 participants in total (including virtual participants), 20 presidents, 35 speakers, 40 official Task Force and Work Package meetings. It has hosted regular meetings of the Unite! Students for Representation and Empowerment (SURE!), the Unite! Steering Committee and the Unite! Governance Platform as well as regular meetings of different task forces and work packages. It has also hosted the constitutional meeting of the Unite! Academic Forum and the initial meeting of the Unite! Innovation community.