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Higher education cooperates towards a fair and just society

22 mei 2024 - 09:00 — 18:00
Thomas More - Campus Sanderus
Organisator: Global Minds - Vlaamse Hogescholenraad

During keynotes and break out session, local and Flemish institutions are showcasing the added value in cooperation with other local and Belgian academic partners and the private sector. Our link with globally engaged research, sustainable partnerships and the recommendations of the past of the Global Minds follow-up visit will also be shared.


In 2022 all 13 Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts (UASA) got involved in a second five year program 'Global Minds'. The development of this second program incorporated lessons learned from the previous program as the added value of staff mobility and (online) trainings for (local) students and staff.

In this new program, the UASA are working together on a common impact statement: 'An international community of globalized and engaged citizens enabling a transition to sustainable development in a fair and just society'. This program is obviously inspired by the 2030 agenda, which makes it clear that we face global challenges we can only tackle through shared knowledge and practice, and through local and global cooperation. The aim of the 17 sustainable development goals is to ensure this fair and just society, taking into account planetary boundaries.

UASA know their strength in the use of their applied methodologies in co-creation with local partners. During keynotes and break out session, local and Flemish institutions are showcasing the added value in cooperation with other local and Belgian academic partners and the private sector. Our link with globally engaged research, sustainable partnerships and the recommendations of the past of the Global Minds follow-up visit will also be shared.

Thomas More - Campus Sanderus - © 2021 Google Maps


09:30 Introduction — Charlotte Christiaens, Global Minds Project Coordinator

Keynote - 'Global Engagement in Higher Education: a governmental perspective' Minister of Development Cooperation

Keynote - 'Holding Space – keynote for UASA' — Aminata Cairo

Keynote - 'Involving UASA in academic cooperation for global sustainable development: expectations and commitment from VLIR-UOS' - Kristien Verbrugghen, Director, VLIR-UOS

11:10 Break out sessions
12:00 Lunch

13:00 Keynote - 'International cooperation and its impact on the internationalization of research. A Global Minds Project as a case of study' — Daniellys Alejo Sanchez - Academic researcher, Universidad Central 'Marta Abreu' de Las Villas (UCLV)

13:30 Keynote - 'Global Citizenship in Higher Education' — Herco Fonteijn, professor, Maastricht University, Department of Work and Organizational Psychology

Break out sessions
15:05 Break out sessions

16:00 '
Future plans for Global Engagement at the Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts' + Global Minds Award — Stijn Coenen, President Thomas More & President working group Global Engagement at the Council of Flemish Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts

16:25 Reception/networking

Break out sessies - Workshops - 11:10

Workshop 1

Funding opportunities for academic cooperation in global engagement, and how to get started

Services, funding opportunities, showcases Associative project, support

Francoise De Cupere, Caroline Deneweth


Workshop 2

Harmonizing Horizons: embracing cultural diversity and promote intercultural learning through inspiring Ecuadorian good practices

During this breakout session, our aim is to showcase a successful approach originating from diverse good practices in Ecuador.

Anniek Orye
PXL University of Applied Sciences and Arts

Work Field: Education

Workshop 3

COIL on 'Global Interprofessional Collaboration in Health Care

Join us for a dynamic session in which we share the success story of a COIL program on 'Global Interprofessional Collaboration in Health Care'.

Kirsten Schraeyen, Karel Matthys
Thomas More University of Applied Sciences

Work Field: Health Care

Break out sessies - Workshops - 14:00

Workshop 4

Added value of and enabling environment for involving UASA in academic cooperation for global sustainable development

Needs UASA employees in global engagement, what's in it for me? Need for matchmaking, but how to organize it? Possible project proposals / adjustments to current cooperation.

Steven Schoofs, Leen Lambrechts, Truyken Ossenblok


Workshop 5

Entrepreneurial skills of students as a driver for sustainable development

MSMEs, with their global presence, play a pivotal role in advancing the SDGs and are therefore essential stakeholders in our ICP Programme = our approach. In most DAC countries, entrepreneurial education remains predominantly theoretical, leaving graduates ill-equipped to start their businesses.

Lieve Van Der Schueren, Zacky Madilo
Vives University of Applied Sciences

Work Field: Entrepreneurship

Workshop 6

My beautiful catastrophe.

A collaborative and expansive cultural initiative has been developed, fostering a meaningful partnership between Art, Design and Architecture colleges situated in both Belgium and Indonesia.

Caro Van den hole, Ronny Smedts, Esther Venrooij
LUCA University of Applied Sciences and Arts

Work Field: Arts

Break out sessies - Workshops - 15:05

Workshop 7

BIP - 'Globalization & Migration'- A perspective from Uganda, US and Belgium.

The Blended Intensive Programme (BIP) on Globalisation and Migration, organised by Howest University of Applied Sciences in Belgium in partnership with the Makerere University from Uganda and Chestnut Hill College, USA addresses the pressing issues surrounding globalisation and migration that confront nations worldwide.

Pat Vanhecke, Joni Verstraete
Howest University of Applied Sciences

Work Field: Social agogic work

Workshop 8

World citizenship education by young people engagement and impact education

Enabel recently developed a vision and approach on global citizenship education, which is grounded in education and activities outside school walls focused on youth engagement. During the session, they will also elaborate on future project cooperation with Higher Education Institutions.

Esra Nurja, Arne Carpentier, Latifah Abdou
Enabel – Development Agency of Belgium’s Federal Government

Workshop 9

Tips and tricks on the organization of a COIL at the UASA

Many of you have interest in organizing a COIL, but how to start? During this workshop we will elaborate on the practicalities of the organization of a COIL at a Higher Education Institution and local partner institution. Come and join us, learn and exchange about: Do’s and don’ts, budget proposals, timing, topic, methodology, evaluation, credits, curricula, selection of the students and so on.

Elke Van de Moortel, Goitom Tegegn, Eveline Leroy, Nele De Witte, Tony Claeys

Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts

Keynote speakers

Aminata Cairo

Aminata Cairo is an anthropologist, psychologist, educator, storyteller, 'love-worker'. She is an independent consultant “who works with people”. She is the former lector of Inclusive Education at The Hague University of Applied Sciences and the former lector of Social Justice and Diversity in the Arts at the Amsterdam University of the Arts.

Born and raised in the Netherlands to Surinamese parents, she left for the US to pursue her college education. She obtained Master’s Degrees in Clinical Psychology and Medical Anthropology and a Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology. As an international woman of color she experienced firsthand the challenges of diversity and inclusion. In her applied anthropological work with students, education and community organizations she has continually strived to promote inclusion at both the academic and the community level. She received the International Education Faculty Achievement Award and the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian award at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2013 for her efforts. In 2016 she received the Honorary Order of the Palm, a state decoration by the Government of Suriname for her contribution to culture. She is particularly interested in using her academic, artistic and community skills to support, honor and celebrate the voices and stories unheard, overlooked, silenced and marginalized.

Her work is exemplified in her book: Holding Space: A Storytelling Approach to Trampling Diversity and Inclusion (2021).

Kristien Verbrugghen

Kristien Verbrugghen (°1969), MSc in communication & political sciences (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) (1991) and MSc in development studies (Ghent University) (1992), has been VLIR-UOS director since 1 March 2005.

She was VLIR-UOS deputy director between 2001-2005. Before, she was staff member of science policy and international relations at VLIR. She also worked as staff member for the Liaison Committee of Rectors’ Conferences (now European University Association) and for the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP), seconded by VLIR, respectively from 1992-1994 and in 1995.

Today, the VLIR-UOS office is headed by Kristien Verbrugghen, based in Brussels Belgium, and consists of 23 staff members. VLIR-UOS connects the higher education and development cooperation worlds, both in Belgium/Flanders and internationally. She has a large network in both worlds, both in Belgium/Flanders and in Europe.

Kristien Verbrugghen was member of the Board of Kauri (now the Shift), of the Board of Flamenco / Flanders Knowledge Area (2008-2018) (now VLUHR Internationalisation), the Board of VVOB ( between 2005-2019 and is still member of the General Assembly of VVOB, she co-created FIABEL (Federation of Institutional Actors of Belgium) and is member of the Board of FIABEL. She is member of the Board of IPIS since 2019 and of the Board of APOPO since 2019.

Daniellys Alejo-Sanchez

Daniellys Alejo-Sanchez is a Professor of Chemical Sciences at the Universidad Central 'Marta Abreu' de Las Villas (UCLV), Villa Clara in Cuba. Her research specializes in the impact of pollutants in air on human health. She manages the research group of Chemistry at UCLV, focusing on sensor calibration, performance, reliability, and related PhD student supervision.

Graduated in Chemistry from UCLV in 2000 and she has a PhD in Chemical Sciences from the University of Antwerp in 2012.

Current and Recent Research Projects:

  1. Global Minds Project: A low-cost, multi-purpose data logger system for maritime contexts: Design, development, validation (2023-2024).
  2. Territorial Environment and Climate Change Program: Early warning system for the degradation of air quality due to smoke in the city of Santa Clara (2024-2026).
  3. Territorial Project: Diversification of low-cost monitoring devices for air quality estimation in agricultural and environmental applications.AQ4ALL (ongoing).
  4. National Project TINAIR: Strengthening national capacities for the monitoring, evaluation and management of air quality (particulate matter and gases), as well as the evaluation of its impact on human health and ecosystems using nuclear and isotopic techniques (2023-2024).
  5. Global Minds Project: A low-cost measuring device to directly monitor exhaust gases generated by fuel engines: Design, development, validation. Antwerp Maritime Academy-UCLV (2022-2023).
  6. South initiative VLIR project: AIR@PORT: Low-cost decision support system to evaluate the impact of ships on the air quality in the port city Cienfuegos. Antwerp Maritime Academy-UCLV (2019-2022).
  7. RIP VLIR Project. Characterization and analysis of particulate compounds in multiple workplace atmospheres” (2014-2018).
  8. VLIR Program, Project Environmental Education and Development of Clean Technologies (2004-2014).

Herco Fonteijn

Herco Fonteijn is associate professor at the Department of Work and Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University. He has extensive experience in designing and implementing education with active learning forms, especially problem-based learning. Special areas of interest are educational innovation and internationalization.

At Maastricht University, teachers from all faculties were invited to contextualize global citizenship, resulting in a dynamic global citizenship education framework for the university. The framework and supporting activities helped faculties to make explicit where aspects of global citizenship competencies are already (implicitly) addressed in educational programs. The framework also helped identify opportunities for diversification of educational offerings. In this presentation you will hear how teachers (and students) were challenged to shape global citizenship within their education and what obstacles need to be cleared in the process.

Stijn Coenen

Stijn Coenen is a pedagogue by training. After his studies, he led the internationalization department at the Katholieke Hogeschool Mechelen, predecessor of Thomas More, for a long time. After an interlude at the city of Lier, he returned to Thomas More in 2013, first as head of training in Business Management, then as driving force of projects on innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship in the Kempen region. In 2020, he became general director of Thomas More. Stijn stands for innovative leadership and innovation. He is therefore chairman of the working groups Global Engagement, internationalization and represents the UASA in the Office for University Development Cooperation.