Rector Martin Procházka elected President of the Aurora university network

Photo: Michal Zych
Wednesday 29 May 2024, 8:00 – Text: Michal Zych

Martin Procházka, Rector of Palacký University Olomouc, will lead the European university network Aurora as of the new academic year. He was elected its president by the Aurora General Council during the Aurora Spring Biannual 2024, which is currently underway in Naples, Italy. More than 170 representatives from 15 participating institutions are attending the meeting to discuss the development of international education, stakeholder engagement, and technology transfer.

The four-day meeting where members of the Aurora European university network are meeting together right now is called Aurora Spring Biannual 2024. Palacký University Olomouc joined the network as an associate member in 2020 and became a full member of the Aurora Network global university consortium in May 2022. After another term of intensive cooperation, UP Rector Martin Procházka was nominated for the position of President-Elect at the beginning of this year.

In yesterday’s election, he received full support from the members of the Aurora General Council, and thus will replace the current president, University of Iceland Rector Jón Atli Benediktsson, in September. During the ceremony, Rector Procházka presented him with a vase made of Bohemian glass to thank him for his service. “Jón Atli, this gift is not only a token of our friendship, but also a symbol of your excellent work for Aurora. Bohemian crystal, renowned for its exquisite craftsmanship, shines with the combination of tradition and innovation that we strive for at Aurora and reflects our commitment to excellence in education and research,” said Procházka.

In his acceptance speech, he emphasised that in his role as President, he wants to give the universities and all members of the community space for expression and the opportunity to shape the future of both Aurora and European higher education together. "My mission is to build bridges – between cultures, institutions, and even the whole of the world. Our commitment is to grow together within this connection, to develop Aurora, and to expand our ambitions with other global partners."

A key element of Aurora are students. One of its executive bodies is the Student Council, whose president is Hanuš Patera who studies psychology at the UP Faculty of Arts. “The students’ enthusiasm and their ideas are a great inspiration to us all. As President, I will aim to continue working to create a student-oriented and inclusive environment,” underlined Procházka.

The Aurora Spring Biannual 2024 was commenced Monday evening with a welcome reception in the historic premises of the University of Naples Federico II, which celebrates 800 years of its existence this year. In addition to the election of a new president, Tuesday’s programme included a roundtable discussion on the development of joint international study programmes, and lectures on participatory democracy and citizen science. UP Vice-Rector for Strategy and Regional Affairs Michal Malacka was a guest speaker at the Stakeholder Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship in European Alliances roundtable.

In addition to the handover of the presidency, another festive moment of yesterday’s programme was the signing of the Aurora Sustainable Development Plan, which was designed thanks to the work of the Sustainable Campus team led by Palacký University.

The programme of today and tomorrow will be dedicated to a plenary session led by students. This will be followed by breakout sessions of the vice-rectors, executive committees, and individual working groups. These will focus on education, science, and research, as well as other shared themes such as IT development, health and wellbeing, sustainability, and communication. In addition to the members of the Aurora Student Council, there are other student ambassadors at each university who will be able to get to know each other during a special workshop.


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