The Kick Off Meeting of DHIP (“Development of Higher Education Institutions' Internationalization Policies”), an international project co-funded by the Erasmus + Program, under its Key Action 2, Capacity Building in the Field of Higher Education, took place on 11-12-13 April in Mendoza. The University of Pisa as central coordinator organizes and monitors the activities to be carried out in the project, in view of the objective of developing, integrating and improving the internationalization capacities and practices of the South American Higher Education Institutions participating in the project (from Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay). In particular, DHIP aims to develop and integrate the internationalization capacities of its Latin American partners through the design and implementation of individual "Internationalization Enhancement Plans” (IEPs) as tools to improve the potential for global interaction of each institution. The IEPs are based on the personalized use of the tools and examples of good practice developed worldwide in recent years, in order to address the challenges of globalized higher education.
The DHIP Consortium comprises 12 Universities and 2 Foundations as well as the Tuscany Region as associated partner. The European partners, in addition to the University of Pisa, are the Universities of Sassari, Porto (Portugal) and Deusto (Bilbao - Spain). Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay are the three Latin American countries involved in the project: they are represented by the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo (which hosted the Kick-off meeting in Mendoza), the Universidad Nacional de Quilmes and the Universidad Nacional de Lanús (Argentina); the Universidad del Cono sur de las Américas, the Universidad Autónoma de Asunción and the Universidad Iberoamericana (Paraguay); the Universidad Pedagócica Nacional, the Universidad de Santander and the Fundación Universitaria Empresarial di Bogotà (Colombia). The Fundación Eurosur has a key role in facilitating the connection between the two geographical areas: based in Italy and in Argentina, the Foundation promotes cultural, scientific and economic cooperation between Europe and Latin America.
The UNIPI Vice-Rector for Internationalization Prof. Francesco Marcelloni and Dr. Laura Nelli, responsible for of the International Promotion Unit, coordinated the Mendoza event, where the partners developed and agreed on how to implement their new internationalization strategies, using such tools as the Erasmus Charter for higher education principles (ECHE) with regard to mobility, and the CLAR (Latin American Credit Reference System) to measure student workload. In particular, the Meeting was organized around three days of work focused on four priority themes: International Mobility; Student-centered learning; Internationalization of research and the third mission; Organization of internationalization offices and academic services.
At the beginning of March, a preliminary meeting was held in Buenos Aires for the Latin American partners, who -- coming into contact for the first time with the Erasmus + Program -- felt the need to understand the rules for managing and implementing the various project activities. The University of Pisa was represented by Prof. Ann Katherine Isaacs, one of the leading national and international experts in the field of the modernization of higher education, thanks to her decades of experience in ECTS, Tuning and the EHEA; and by Dr. Tommaso Salamone, Head of the International Programs Unit who has the task of managing DHIP project. The UNIPI representatives, assisted by EUROSUR and by Dr. Pablo Beneitone of the University of Deusto, Director of the International Tuning Academy, presented the Erasmus + Program and the specific activities that the project intends to carry out. On the second day of the meeting the principles of administrative management and reporting of the activities were explained and discussed.
«The European institutions involved in the project have a long experience in internationalization policies and practices, as they have been important actors in creating the key tools used today by Erasmus + - comments Ann Katherine Isaacs - The DHIP Consortium, including both young and old institutions, some very active and experienced, others interested in expanding their activities, will allow both the European and the Latin American institutions to adopt innovative approaches to internationalization”.