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Klaipėda University to Hold a Festival of EU-CONEXUS Partners’ Acquaintanceship and Friendship

On August 24-26, Klaipėda City and University will become a meeting place for the heads and communities of European higher education institutions, members of the European University EU-CONEXUS (European University for the Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability). The first EU-CONEXUS Festival is to be held in Klaipėda.

The event, which will take place in a pandemic-constrained European area, will not boast a surprising number of participants (the Festival is expected to attract up to 100 guests), its greatest value being the first live meeting of EU-CONEXUS University communities (the heads, researchers, staff, students, and art groups). Representatives of the University of La Rochelle (France), Agricultural University of Athens (Greece), Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest (Romania), Valencia Catholic University (Spain), and University of Zadar (Croatia) as well as delegates of one of the associated partners, Frederic University of Cyprus, are to visit Klaipėda.

“The first meeting of the EU-CONEXUS partner communities, the Festival, was supposed to be organised in Zadar last year, however, like many other events, it failed to take place due to a global pandemic. We are glad that, after a year, the situation in the world has become more predictable, and we can invite important guests to Lithuania, to show them its beauty and hospitality, and to introduce Klaipėda University, our works and research potential,” says KU Rector prof. dr. Artūras Razbadauskas.

In 2019, KU became one of the 17 universities of the future established by the European Commission. 54 universities in Europe have been invited to this project, which combines academic experience with scientific knowledge and potential. EU-CONEXUS, an alliance brought together by KU and five other partners, specialises in the sustainable development of contemporary coastal cities. The statistical picture of EU-CONEXUS is quite impressive: over 67 thousand students, nearly 5,500 staff (academics, researchers, and auxiliaries), 34 faculties, and 65 research teams.

“The first year of EU-CONEXUS existence was marked by intensive distance communication due to the constraints of the pandemic; we got to know one another and undertook the development of common structures, goals, plans, and even new traditions. During such a short history of EU-CONEXUS, we have done a lot: we have permanent joint working groups implementing the ambitious goals of the new University; an elected Scientific Council monitors the activities of joint research institutes; study programs at all levels are being developed; undergraduate students are offered virtual mobility; schoolchildren are organised competitions; and the role of EU-CONEXUS in meeting the challenges of green growth, climate change, and digitalisation is being discussed with business partners. Our further plans include strengthening of the research potential and establishment of a joint scientific institution. This festival is a new event in the history of the international community we are building, which we hope will grow and strengthen,” says dr. Rima Mickevičienė, head of the EU-CONEXUS project in Klaipėda.

The programme of the 1st live EU-CONEXUS Festival includes exhibitions, business meetings, tours of KU campus with its faculties and laboratories and of the cities of Klaipėda and Neringa, various sports competitions and concerts. A student ensemble from Zadar performing traditional Romanian songs is expected at the Festival. The cultural program of the event will be enriched by the projects of the troupes of the XXII International University Theatre Forum taking place in Klaipėda at that time _ performances, artistic events, and discussions. For guests from other countries, an evening presenting Lithuanian traditions and culture will be held in the KU Botanical Garden.

The beginning of the Festival will be marked by the EU-CONEXUS flag raising ceremony and the opening of an exhibition in KU campus at 1 p.m. on August 24. The lowering of the flag and the closing of the Festival are scheduled to be held on John’s Hill on August 26, at the end of the Interuniversity Dragon Boat Race. The delegation of the University of La Rochelle will take over the flag of the event and the responsibility to organise the 2nd festival.