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Signing the 2020 Magna Charta Universitatum

Author: Bielefeld University

At the invitation of the Observatory Magna Charta in Bologna, Italy, Bielefeld University participated in the virtual ceremony for the official signing of the 2020 Magna Charta Universitatum, which took place on June 16th and 17th. Rector Professor Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer served as signatory in the ceremony. In a video message, Rector Sagerer explained how the values of the Magna Charta Universitatum are put into practice at Bielefeld University. This presentation was selected as an exemplary model of “Best Practices” at the ceremony.

Rector Professor Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer’s video presentation for the signing of the 2020 Magna Charta Universitatum (in English).

A bit of context: The Magna Charta Universitatum was established in 1988 by the University of Bologna for its 900th anniversary and is founded on the ideals of enshrining academic freedom and institutional autonomy as fundamental values of academic institutions. The charter has since been signed by more than 900 universities in 88 countries around the world.

Bielefeld University’s first signing of the charter took place in 2017 by Professor Dr. Angelika Epple, Vice-Rector of International Affairs und Diversity. The updated version of the charter brings together universities’ commitment to shared principles and values – including institutional independence, freedom of knowledge and expression, tolerance, and the indivisibility of research and teaching – with the global challenges of the twenty-first century.

By signing this new version of the charter, universities affirm their responsibility for creating a sustainable future in which academic institutions will have a positive impact on the world and society. They commit to uphold the autonomy and integrity of scholarship and teaching, and to further advance these academic pillars by strengthening international networks based on ethical principles that create and disseminate knowledge, and promote critical thinking and a plurality of opinions.

The ratification of this charter also upholds diversity as a guiding principle at Bielefeld University and affirms the associated values of inclusion, social responsibility, and critical reflection.

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