“Students’ Rights and Ombuds’ Values: Ensuring Inclusion in Higher Education” was the theme of this year‘s annual conference of the European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education ENOHE in Athens, Greece in early June.
It was the first in-person event of the association in three years.
With more than 50 participants from some 15 countries, among them Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Canada and Mexico, this was a vivid sign of life of the international ombudspersons group made possible through several supporters and helping hands, first and foremost by the National Technical University of Athens.
In their opening speeches the Secretary General for Higher Education of the Hellenic Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Apostolis Dimitropoulos, and Themis Christophidou from the Directorate-General for Education of the European Commission, both contributed to the widening of understanding of good university governance and the roles of Student Ombuds in it.
The keynoters mentioned the concept of Ombuds offices in higher education and their values from their respective points of view.
Oltion Rrumbullaku from the Secretariat of the Bologna Follow Up Group in Tirana, Albania and Martin Hammerbauer, member of the Executive Board of the European Student Union, both elaborated on students’ rights and today’s situation of student life throughout the European Higher Education Area.
The event started with a whole-day pre-conference workshop on “Investigation skills for complaint handlers and ombudspeople”, with Jean Grier as the main actor.
During the three conference days speakers from three continents dealt with and discussed about current issues and topics of interest, among them the importance of Ombuds in securing inclusive education, how to cope with COVID-19 related issues, how to safeguard one‘s professional position, and a discussion of Ombuds‘ values and principles. ENOHE confirmed that it will further support this endeavour.
A conference publication will be made available in due time.