This is the last time I have the honour to write the foreword for EQAR’s annual report, as president. My term of two times three years is over. And what a term it has been! Barely had we overcome the COVID-crisis when Russia invaded Ukraine and the whole world realised that even in Europe wars were still possible. As a consequence, the Geo-political relations have drastically changed. Europe has become more of an entity, both in economic and in defensive perspectives.

For me these terrible and frightful events are proof of the necessity for stronger European cooperation. Both through research and social cohesion, European cooperation should become an example for peaceful and effective coexistence. No European nation will in itself be strong enough to play a major role in world politics, but a united Europe can!

Cooperation has been the spirit of EQAR during the 15 years of its existence. The Register of agencies that comply substantially with the ESG should be (and is!) a strong tool for mobility of staff and students, and for international cooperation between countries and HEI’s. The agreements on recognition of degrees between the Baltic states, between the Benelux countries and between the Nordic countries are strong examples of ever-growing cooperation. These are based on robust, ESG-aligned quality assurance in the signatory countries and could serve as a role model for automatic recognition based on the EHEA key commitments.  The new European Universities Alliances are potentially brilliant expressions of a new European spirit. The Register and cross-border quality assurance are facilitating these important developments.

Many teachers, researchers, students, politicians, staff members in HEI’s, rectors, QA-agencies and organisations in HE are committed to the improvement of quality of teaching and learning, and to international cooperation. In my six years as president of EQAR I have met numerous enthusiastic and dedicated people. It was a privilege to listen to them, to enjoy their enthusiasm, to share their ideals and to try and realise them.

EQAR has earned a stable position in the European Higher Education Area, as is shown in this annual report over the year 2022. The staff under the direction of Colin Tück has done a remarkable job. I am proud to have been part of the EQAR-community. I wish EQAR thus all the best, not only for the organisation itself, but for the goals for which it stands: the quality of teaching and learning and a growing international cooperation!

Karl Dittrich (President)