In the last week of September, the DHIP Project (Development of Higher Education Institutions’ Internationalization Policies) got to the to the heart with its study visit. Nineteen representatives from nine universities of Paraguay, Argentina and Colombia and the University of Sassari came to Pisa from 23 to 28 September. The DHIP project, co-financed by the European Union under the Erasmus + program, has its overall objective in the innovation through the internationalization in the universities of Latin America.
Following a preparatory phase that analysed the state of the art in the internationalization strategies carried out by the nine overseas universities, DHIP main purpose is to design and implement the Internationalization Enhancement Plans. These aim at strengthening the capacity of universities in becoming active subjects in an international network. The improvement of the related transversal skills, both administrative and scientific, goes through several training activities. To this end, the project, coordinated by our university and managed by the International Programs for Cooperation on Training and Mobility Unit, includes a set of tools and methodologies, as seminars and laboratories, webinars, design and implementation of multicultural social events and study visits. The first two study visits took place at the same time in Pisa and Bilbao and a third will be hosted in November in Porto, as the Universidade do Porto and the Spanish Universidad de Deusto are European partners of DHIP.
The public engagement has been the common thread under the agenda of the week in Pisa as well as the main topic of the workshop that took place in the Sapienza Building on Friday 27, chaired by the Rector Prof. Paolo Mancarella. Among the panellists Monica Barni - Vice-President of the Regional Council of Tuscany and Councillor for Culture, University and Research - , the Vice-Rector of the University of Sassari (also partner of the DHIP Project) Silvia Serreli and a diplomatic delegation composed of Sonia Biederman, attaché of the Embassy of Paraguay, and Sol Carolina Parra from the Embassy of Argentina. The workshop was also attended by Prof. Francesco Marcelloni (Vice-Rector for international cooperation and relations) and Prof. Marco Gesi (Vice- Rector for relations with local authorities). Thus, the cornerstone of all internationalization activities, namely the opening towards the whole world, and the opening towards the territory and the community joined together. Thanks to the conjunction with Bright- The European Researchers’ Night , the University showed its joyful feature to the guests.
During a meeting in the CiRAA (Centro di Ricerche Agro-Ambientali "Enrico Avanzi"), the Director Marcello Mele informed about the ongoing international projects on sustainable systems in agriculture. The day after the guests went to the GATE (Galileo Aggregator for Technology & Enterprises) an aggregator of innovative enterprises developing digital technologies. GATE was born from the collaboration between ER Erre Quadro (Spin-off of University of Pisa) and Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini.
A visit to the University Museum System facilities, through the passionate guidance of Professor Flora Silvano (Egyptological Collections) and of Professor Gianfranco Natale (Museum of Human Anatomy), allowed our guest discovering the progress of knowledge in the long history of the University of Pisa. On the same day, professors and administrators from the partner universities could admire the vast heritage of the Natural History Museum of Calci and the magnificent Certosa.
In addition to the technical meetings between the project partners and consistently with the thematic focus of the week, the agenda included two meetings with the Technology Transfer Services and the European and International Research Section, two of the University of Pisa Units.
From the very first day the study visit participants had the chance to meet the students of Inclinados hacia América Latina. This project is managed by the International Promotion Unit, which also helped in the welcoming activities throughout the week, and awards Latin American students with a scholarship to attend Master's Degree Programmes at the University of Pisa.
At the conclusion of the week the guest attended the evening event “La Sapienza Night Experience” together with the Rector, who cordially greeted them mentioning the relevance of the DHIP Project. An occasion that surely left in our guests an excellent souvenir of Pisa and its "widespread" university. Finally, a magnificent and concrete example of internationalization: a visit to the interferometric gravitational-wave detector Virgo resulting by the collaboration between physicists and engineers belonging to 20 different research groups from six European countries.