The 5th International Conference on Higher Education and Research of EI opened on 7 Dec in Melbourne, Australia, with heightened union resolve to meet the various challenges confronting the sector today.
The conference reflects EI’s growing strength in Higher education and Research, with 90 delegates from 46 organisations in 33 countries. Thanks in part to support from UNESCO’s participation programme, the conference has achieved a significant increase in the proportion of woman delegates, compared with its past conferences. EI Vice President, Susan Hopgood, welcomed the newly strengthened dialogue with students symbolised by the presence of student representatives at the conference. She also urged higher education affiliates to strengthen their work as human and trade union rights including academic freedom. The conference themes were well-summarised in the speech of Sharan Burrow, President of ACTU and the ICFTU on "how to get a just globalisation". One key aspect of this search for justice is the issue of "brain drain", which was put on the EI agenda at the 4th Higher Education and Research Conference in Senegal in 2003 and was the subject of a resolution at the World Congress in Porto Alegre in 2004. Brain drain has moved to a more central place at this conference. Please click on the following link to read Susan Hopgood's opening speech in English.