World Higher Education Conference, 7-9 October 2021 in Barcelona, Spain

World Higher Education Conference, 7-9 October 2021 in Barcelona, Spain

The World Higher Education Conference (WHEC2021) hosted in Barcelona aims at reshaping ideas and practices in higher education to ensure sustainable development for the planet and humanity.

Along with the purpose of creating an innovative and visionary conference, the WHEC2021 will be the culmination of a dynamical process, towards the achievement of a HED Roadmap 2030. This process will start earlier in the year, though the creation of an interactive platform that will call for the participation of the entire Higher Education Community (i.e. youth, private stakeholders, academics, Higher Education institutions and the UNESCO network), fomenting different activities such as:

  • research,
  • surveys,
  • consultations,
  • panels,
  • networking,
  • webinars
  • etc.

This will result in the production of content geared towards the success of the conference, while allowing a wider audience to learn and become informed about innovative practices in Higher Education.

Conference focus

There is a need for a new vision, a reinvention of what higher education will mean in the future. If higher education and the university were to be invented today – what would they look like? Who would participate and complete his/her higher education? How would participants learn? Where would they learn? What knowledge, skills, competencies, and values would they need to develop to work, become global citizens, and live with dignity? Who would guide these changes: institutional leaders, policy makers, researchers, students, professors, employers, community leaders, civil society groups?

The 3rd World Higher Education Conference(WHEC2021) will bring together all relevant stakeholders to define and prepare their roadmap for a new era of higher education systems (norms, policies, structures, stakeholders) and institutions (universities, specialized entities, networks). This roadmap will be responsive to the challenges faced by humanity and the planet, as a result of diverse forms of crises, with special attention to the global disruption created by the COVID-19. The 2030 Agenda, by definition, will be the main framework to highlight higher education opportunities and priorities in the upcoming decade. Furthermore, higher education must anticipate and prepare for its role in societies that go beyond the next decade, under guidelines like those provided by The Futures of Education Initiative.

The WHEC2021 aims at breaking away from the traditional models of higher learning and opening the door to new, innovative, creative and visionary conceptions that not only serve the current global agendas for sustainable development, but also pave the way for a future learning community that speaks to all, is inclusive of all lifelong learners.

As the leading UN Agency for the Sustainable Development Goal 4, UNESCO works for the right to education from a human rights approach , based on respect for life and human dignity, equal rights, social justice, cultural diversity, international solidarity, and shared responsibility for a sustainable future. Within this framework, UNESCO will organize the WHEC2021 to offer new knowledge, innovative ideas, creative alliances, and produce an enlarged and reinvigorated coalition of the higher education international community in favour of 2030 Agenda for Development.