ICHESD2024 has commenced at Western Balkans University | Western Balkans University

ICHESD2024 has commenced at Western Balkans University

Home >Latest News >ICHESD2024 has commenced at Western Balkans University

The International Conference on Higher Education and Sustainable Development, themed "University of the Fourth Generation and Regional Development," has commenced today at Western Balkans University. The conference has brought together esteemed academics, researchers, and experts from Albania and across the globe. 

The opening address was delivered by distinguished speakers, including the President of Western Balkans University, Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Gjana, Prof. Skënder Gjinushi, President of the Academy of Sciences in Albania, em. O. Univ. Dr. Rainer Reinmuller, head of the International Board at the Western Balkans University, Prof. John Austin, head of the Economic Center of Michigan, and Prof. Myqerem Tafai, former Minister of Education and Science in Albania, alongside various deans and academics from diverse disciplines.

Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Gjana emphasized the pivotal role of higher education in sustainable development and social progress in his address. He described the transformation of the university from a traditional model to a fourth model known as the "University of the Fourth Generation." This generation of the university is tailored to address contemporary environmental and economic challenges with a strategic approach that actively shapes its environment. 

Em. O. Univ. Dr. Rainer Reinmuller underscored the central concepts of education, research, and innovation associated with fourth-generation universities, which prioritize social impact and regional development.

The keynote speaker of the conference, Prof. John Austin, Director of the Michigan Economic Center and former President of the Michigan State Board of Education, emphasized in his speech that: “Universities like WBU should care deeply, contribute to learning and contribute to individual and family health, happiness, economic opportunity and security. As well as, these are the places, and you are the people who are going to solve the world's problems around living sustainably, around the crisis of how we alleviate climate change, and how we deal and treat positively with different challenges that today's world presents us.”

The conference explored the opportunities and challenges of fourth-generation universities in higher education, scientific research, innovation, AI revolution, regional development, and entrepreneurship. It also examined the potential contributions of universities in actively promoting sustainable development and enhancing regional competitiveness. The conference placed special emphasis on defining and modeling "Fourth Generation" Universities and scrutinizing their roles and connections with regional development.