Highlights: election new EQAR President, statutory revision and revision of membership fees
The General Assembly decides on the budget, approves the accounts, elects the President and Appeals Committee and approves the Register Committee and Board.
The Founding Members and the Social Partner Members constitute the group of Non-governmental Members.
The Founding Members are the E4 Group which founded EQAR following the mandate given by European Ministers of Education:
- European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA)
- European Students Union (ESU)
- European University Association (EUA)
- European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE)
At present, there are four permanent observers at the GA: the European Commission, the Bologna Secretariat, the Council of Europe and UNESCO-CEPES. They do not have voting rights.
An overview of past General Assemblies:
The General Assembly convenes annually, usually in conjunction with the first Bologna Follow-Up Group Meeting.
GA in Stockholm – 2023
EQAR’s 19th General Assembly (GA) was held in Stockholm on 10 May in conjunction with the BFUG meeting, held on 11-12 May. The GA was hosted by Swedish Ministry of Education and Research, in the framework of the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Stéphane Lauwick was elected as President of EQAR for a three-year mandate, starting on 1 July 2023.
The GA also adopted the revision of membership fees (indexation to account for inflation, effective as from 2024). You will find the revised fees here.
Check out the relevant news-item for more detailed information about the GA.
GA in Strasbourg - 2022
Highlights: follow-up External Evaluation of EQAR as well as the war on Ukraine and the status of Russia in the EHEA
EQAR’s 18th General Assembly (GA) was held in Strasbourg on 13 April in conjunction with the BFUG meeting, held on 11-12 April. The GA was hosted by the Council of Europe, with support of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union as well as the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.
- The GA took note of the statement published by EQAR in reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the recommendations addressed to EQAR-registered agencies and considered the consequences for EQAR of the BFUG suspension of the rights of representation of both Russia and Belarus in the EHEA.
Ukraine welcomed the steps taken and called for support to Ukrainian Higher Education Institutions.
- The GA considered various proposals originating from the External Evaluation of EQAR and (I) gave feedback to the Register Committee’s proposed amendments to the Procedures for Applications (expediting the process and clarifying Substantive Change Reports), (II) adopted the amendments to the Appeals Procedure (shortened process and deadlines) and (III) noted the upcoming reflection on the role of the Executive Board (EB) (clarifying the functions of the EB and removing the ambiguity of EB members’ role).
GA online - 2021
Highlights: the Self-Evaluation Report and a Targeted Approach to Third and Further Agency Review
EQAR members convened online on 16 April, for their 17th General Assembly (GA).
Apart from the yearly recurring agenda items such as the annual accounts, the budget, the work plan and the annual report, which were reviewed and adopted by the GA, there were four elections and two other issues under consideration; the Self-Evaluation Report and a Targeted Approach to Third and Further Agency Review.
Members commended the Self-Evaluation Report, which they considered honest, realistic and well-executed. Feedback on the targeted review was positive, with members being appreciative of the enhancement-led aspect of the exercise.
GA online - 2020
Highlights: re-election Karl Dittrich as EQAR President and planning of the External Evaluation of EQAR
EQAR members convened online on 26 June, for their 16th General Assembly (GA).
Apart from the yearly recurring agenda items such as the annual accounts, the budget, the work plan and the annual report, which were reviewed and adopted by the GA, there were two elections and the planning for the Self-Evaluation and External Evaluation of EQAR.
Karl Dittrich was re-elected as EQAR President for a second (three-year) term. He expressed his joy in being re-elected as well as his love for higher education and thanked the General Assembly for their confidence.
The General Assembly elected an Executive Board for a term until the GA of 2022. According to the agreed annual rotation, the Executive Board will assume the following functions as per 1 July2020, with Karl Dittrich as President:
- Re-elected: Tia Loukkola (EUA) – Vice-President
- Re-elected: Michal Karpisek (EURASHE) – Treasurer
- Re-elected: Gohar Hovhannisyan – (ESU) – Member
- Newly elected: Goran Daković (ENQA) – Member
Self-evaluation and External Evaluation of EQAR
The General Assembly adopted the approach and roadmap for the Self-Evaluation and External Evaluation of EQAR.
More about the 2020 General Assembly here
GA in Bucharest - 2019
Highlights: elections and DEQAR update
EQAR’s 15th General Assembly (GA) was held in Bucharest on 3 April in conjunction with the BFUG meeting, held on 4-5 April. The Minister of National Education of Romania, Ecaterina Andronescu, opened the meeting, which was held in the Rectorate of Polytechnic University of Bucharest, hosted by the Romanian Ministry of National Education in the framework of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
During a thematic session on Current Trends and Policy Developments, two presentations were given:
- Update on DEQAR State of Play by Colin Tück, EQAR.
- Peer-Support for the EHEA Key Commitment on QA by Magalie Soenen, Flemish Community of Belgium, Co-Chair of the Thematic Peer Group on QA.
Apart from the regular agenda items such as the annual accounts, the budget, the work plan and the annual report, which were reviewed and adopted by the GA, there were also a number of elections.
The General Assembly approved the nominations to the Register Committee for a two-year mandate, starting on 1 July 2019. Three new members were nominated: Eltjo Bazen and Patricia Georgieva (by EURASHE ) and Jacques Lanares (by EUA). All other Register Committee members were re-nominated. Outgoing members Freddy Coignoul, Mindaugas Misiūnas and Ann Verreth were thanked for their hard work and overall contribution to EQAR.
The General Assembly elected Paul Zoontjes as Chair and Jiri Nantl as Deputy Chair. The other members and deputy-members were re-elected. Outgoing Chair Jürgen Kohler and Jan de Groof (Deputy Chair) were thanked for their valuable work and involvement in EQAR.
According to the agreed annual rotation, the Executive Board will assume the following functions as per 1 May 2019, with Karl Dittrich as President:
- Maria Kelo (ENQA) – Vice-President
- By elected as per 3 April 2019: Gohar Hovhannisyan – (ESU) – Treasurer
- Michal Karpisek (EURASHE) – Member
- Tia Loukkola (EUA) – Member
GA in Sofia - 2018
Highlights: adoption EQAR Strategy 2018-2022 and message to the EHEA Paris Ministerial Conference
EQAR’s 14th General Assembly (GA) was held in Sofia on 23 April, in conjunction with the BFUG meeting on 24-25 April.
Hosted by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science, representatives of EQAR Members convened to review, discuss and adopt the EQAR Strategy 2018-2022 as well as the message to the EHEA Paris Ministerial conference that will take place on 24-25 May.
Yearly recurring agenda items such as the annual accounts, the budget, the workplan and the annual report were presented by the Board and considered and approved by the General Assembly. Other topics included a progress report on the Database of External Quality Assurance results (DEQAR) as well as an Analysis of Register Committee Decisions.
During a Thematic Session, two keynote presentations were given, followed by lively discussions:
- Enhancing Quality through Innovative Policy & Practice (EQUIP) Project: Key Messages for Policy-Makers.
Tia Loukkola, Director for Institutional Development, EUA
- The European Education Area – Current EU Initiatives and their Link with Quality Assurance.
Vanessa Debiais-Sainton, Head of Unit, Higher Education Policy, DG Education and Culture, European Commission
The General Assembly elected the following Executive Board for a two-year mandate as per 1 May 2018. According to the agreed annual rotation, the Executive Board will assume the following functions, with Karl Dittrich as President:
- Re-elected: Michal Karpisek (EURASHE) – Vice-President
- Re-elected: Tia Loukkola (EUA) – Treasurer
- Newly elected: Adam Gajek – (ESU) – Member
- Re-elected: Maria Kelo (ENQA) – Member
GA in Malta - 2017
Highlights: Election of Karl Dittrich as President, approval establishment Database and revision membership fees
25 May 2017: 13th EQAR General Assembly in Gozo, Malta.
EQAR members convened for their 13th General Assembly, hosted by the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU and in conjunction with the BFUG meeting on 24-25 May.
Karl Dittrich was unanimously elected as EQAR President with a mandate from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2020. He will chair the Executive Board as well as the Register Committee, represent EQAR externally and ensure coherence in the work of the EQAR bodies.
Appointing an EQAR President was one of the recommendations in EQAR’s external evaluation of 2011 “the General Assembly should appoint a high profile, independent President capable of raising the visibility and promoting the benefits of EQAR with key stakeholders”. Following up on decisions taken at the GA in Oslo on 25 November 2016, as well as the subsequent statutory changes by the General Assembly of 12 April 2017, EQAR members were invited to elect an EQAR president based on a proposal by the Selection Committee.
The Selection Committee was composed by representatives of Governmental Members (4), Founding Members (2), Social Partner Member (1), the Executive Board (2) and the Register Committee (2).
After issuing a Call for candidates, the Selection Committee received 14 applications from high level applicants and interviewed 6 of them. Based on the motivation letters, CVs and the interview, the Selection Committee was able to find a consensus that one candidate best matched all elements mentioned in the Call for Candidates – independence, senior leadership experience, good knowledge of quality assurance and higher education policies at the European level, ability to work with different actors and stakeholders, and excellent command of English – and therefore agreed to propose one candidate, Karl Dittrich, to the General Assembly (GA).
As of 1 July 2017, the Executive Board will assume the following functions:
- Karl Dittrich: President
- Blazhe Todorovski: Vice-President
- Maria Kelo: Treasurer
- Michal Karpíšek
- Tia Loukkola: Member
The GA approved the Work Plan 2017/2018. The most important novel item in the Work Plan is the establishment of a database of results (i.e. reports and decisions) from external quality assurance procedures in line with the ESG, by EQAR-registered agencies, in order to enhance their accessibility.
The GA also approved the revised membership fees which would cover the extra costs required for the EQAR President as well as for the Database.
GA in Amsterdam - 2016
Highlight: recommendations from the self-evaluation
7 March 2016: 10th EQAR General Assembly in Amsterdam
EQAR’s 10th General Assembly was held in Amsterdam on 7 March, hosted by the Dutch EU Presidency, in conjunction with the BFUG meeting on 7-8 March.
Representatives of 38 EQAR members convened to review and adopt, among others, the EQAR Self-Evaluation Report as well as a number of recommendations directly resulting from the self-evaluation process.
Apart from recommendations on how to further improve or expand current practices, two distinct objectives came out of the self-evaluation exercise and were directly taken forward into the Work Plan:
To study the feasibility of a database of higher education institutions and programmes that have been subject to quality assurance by registered agencies.
To establish or clarify the position of a president in order to raise the visibility of EQAR and to enhance stability and leadership internally.
EQAR will prepare concrete, operational proposals on both topics which will then be discussed at the Members Dialogue in Oslo in November 2016.
The General Assembly elected the following Executive Board for a two-year mandate as per 1 April 2016. According to the agreed annual rotation, the Executive Board will assume the following functions:
- Re-elected: Tia Loukkola (EUA) – President
- Re-elected: Fernando Galán Palomares (ESU) – Vice-President
- Re-elected: Maria Kelo (ENQA) – Vice-President
- Newly elected: Johan Cloet (EURASHE) – Treasurer
EQAR Annual Report 2015 [PDF, 3MB]
Self-Evaluation Report [PDF, 2MB]
GA in Riga - 2015
Highlight: adoption of Message to Yerevan Ministerial Conference
The General Assembly reviewed and adopted the Message to the Yerevan Ministerial Conference which highlights some of EQAR’s activities as well as the main developments in cross-border quality assurance since the last ministerial meeting in 2012 (Bucharest) and offers a number of recommendations for the Yerevan Communiqué.
Members of the GA took note of the “Use and Interpretation of the ESG”, a policy document prepared by the Register Committee, based on the current “Practices and Interpretations”. Likewise linked to the revised ESG, the General Assembly considered a number of amendments to the “Procedures for Applications” and approved to extend the current term of the Register Committee by one year to ensure a smooth and stable transition to the revised ESG. These documents will be published after the Yerevan Ministerial Conference in May.
The Annual Report 2014, including the Report of the Register Committee, was presented to the General Assembly and will be published shortly.
GA in Athens - 2014
Highlight: adoption Work Plan including the RIQAA project
EQAR members convened in Athens for the 8th General Assembly of the organisation. The Annual Report 2013, including the Report of the Register Committee, was presented at the event and will be published on the EQAR website shortly.
The General Assembly approved the Work Plan 2014/215 of which the RIQAA project (Recognising International Quality Assurance Activity in the EHEA) is one of the main activities for 2014. The final dissemination conference of the project (and Members’ Dialogue) will take place in Rome in September 2014.
EQAR is also planning to co-organise regional peer-learning events on cross-border quality assurance in cooperation with national ministries. Ministries interested in co-hosting such an event are kindly requested to contact the EQAR Secretariat.
The General Assembly elected the following Executive Board for a two-year mandate:
- Fernando Galán Palomares (ESU)
- Maria Kelo (ENQA)
- Tia Loukkola (EUA)
- Andreas Orphanides (EURASHE)
A special word of thanks was given to Lesley Wilson who served on the EQAR Board since its foundation as well as to the other two outgoing board members Stefan Delplace and Allan Päll.
Four new Register Committee members were approved by the General Assembly. Their two-year mandate will start on 1 July 2014. Incoming members Olav Øye, Freddy Coignoul, Anita Līce, and Tibor Szanto will replace outgoing members Anca Prisacariu, Henrik Toft Jensen, Christoph Anz and Mala Singh – these last three having served on the Register Committee since 2008.
GA in Dublin - 2013
Highlight: adoption of the Strategic Plan for the years 2013-2017
At EQAR’s 7th General Assembly, held at Dublin Castle on 13 March 2013, members adopted the Strategic Plan for the years 2013-2017. This is an important step to strengthen EQAR’s strategic role, as was recommended by the international expert panel that reviewed EQAR in 2011.
EQAR’s two strategic goals relate to “International Trust and Recognition of Registered QAA’s” and “Enhanced Transparency and Information Provision”.
The EQAR Annual Report 2012 (print version) was presented at the General Assembly, including a Report by the Register Committee.
The General Assembly warmly welcomed representatives of EQAR’s newest governmental members, Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic.
Following the approval of the Register Committee by the previous General Assembly, one member position had become vacant after the resignation of Gertie De Fraeye. ESU’s nomination to the Register Committee, Andrea Blättler, was approved by the General Assembly for the remaining mandate of the Register Committee’s until 30 June 2014.
As of 1 April 2013, the Executive Board will assume the following functions, according to the agreed annual rotation:
- Maria Kelo (ENQA) – President
- Lesley Wilson (EUA) – Vice-President
- Stefan Delplace (EURASHE) – Vice-President
- Allan Päll (ESU) – Treasurer
GA in Copenhagen - 2012
Highlight: agreement on the two strategic priorities
EQAR’s 6th General Assembly was held in two parts in conjunction with the two Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) meetings during the Danish EU Presidency. During the first part, on 17 January 2012, EQAR members discussed EQAR’s strategic priorities and follow-up to the External Evaluation.
EQAR members agreed on two strategic priorities for EQAR’s work and as a basis for EQAR’s future strategic plan:
- Promoting, through the Register, international trust and recognition of quality assurance agencies
- Increasing transparency and ensuring that information provided by EQAR is meaningful
Read the External Evaluation Report (August 2011)
Read the Self-Evaluation Report (March 2011)
On 20 March 2012, EQAR members convened for the second part of the General Assembly.
The General Assembly elected a new Executive Board for a two-year mandate. The following candidates were elected and will assume the following functions as of 1 April 2012, according to the agreed annual rotation:
- Lesley Wilson (EUA) – President
- Maria Kelo (ENQA) – Vice-President
- Allan Päll (ESU) – Vice-President
- Stefan Delplace (EURASHE) – Treasurer
The General Assembly also approved the nominations to the Register Committee for a two-year mandate. The current Register Committee’s mandate ends by 30 June 2012. ESU nominated one new member, Anca Prisacariu and will nominate a second new member later this year. All other Register Committee members were re-nominated.
Following the election of the Appeals Committee by the previous General Assembly, one deputy member position remained vacant. The General Assembly elected Gemma Rauret Dalmau for this position. Her mandate will end at the GA in 2015, together with the remaining Appeals Committee.
The Vice-Chair of the Register Committee reported on the Register Committees’s work since the last General Assembly. The Report of the Register Committee will be integrated into the Annual Report 2011, which will be published before the Bucharest Ministerial Conference on 26/27 April 2012.
Representatives of Turkey, who joined EQAR as Governmental Member right before the General Assembly, as well as Croatia, Latvia and Montenegro, who had signed up for governmental membership already last year, were warmly welcomed at their first General Assembly.
GA in Hungary - 2011
Highlight: discussion on draft Self-Evaluation Report
EQAR members convened for their fifth General Assembly in Gödöllő on 18 March 2011. The main item on the agenda was the draft Self-Evaluation Report for the External Evaluation of EQAR. Members shared their comments and reflections on the report in a very engaging discussion. The GA was also informed about the composition of the Evaluation Panel that will carry out the review.
The Vice-Chair of the Register Committee provided an update on the Committee’s work since the last General Assembly and presented the Register Committee’s summary report, published in October 2010.
Helka Kekäläinen (ENQA) was elected to the Executive Board as replacement member for Emmi Helle, who had resigned from her position on the Executive Board. The President of the EB thanked Emmi Helle for her contribution and work in EQAR.
As of 1 April 2011, the Executive Board will assume the following functions, according to the agreed annual rotation:
- Andrea Blättler – President
- Andreas Orphanides – Vice-President
- Lesley Wilson – Vice-President
- Helka Kekäläinen – Treasurer
Croatia, Montenegro and Turkey were present at the GA as observers and announced that their governments were considering Governmental Membership of EQAR.
GA in Madrid - 2010
Highlight: election new Chair of the RC - Kjell Frønsdal
4th General Assembly, Madrid EQAR members convened in Madrid on 19 February 2010 for the fourth General Assembly of the association. A new Executive Board was elected for a 2-year mandate commencing as of 1 March 2010.
The following candidates have been nominated and elected: Andrea Blättler (nominated by ESU) Emmi Helle (re-nominated by ENQA) Andreas Orphanides (re-nominated by EURASHE) Lesly Wilson (re-nominated by EUA).
Apart from the election of the Executive Board, a new Chair of the Register Committee as well as two new Register Committee members were approved by the General Assembly. Their two-year mandate will start on 1 July 2010. The new Chair, Kjell Frønsdal – Judge of the Gulating Court of Appeal in Bergen, Norway – was by-elected by the Register Committee on 6 January 2010 after the current Chair, Mr. Justice Bryan McMahon had indicated he was not available for a second mandate. The two new Register Committee members are Gertie de Fraeye and Mindaugas Misiunas.
Another important milestone was the approval of the Initial Plans for the External Evaluation of EQAR. Initial discussions on this subject had already started in September 2009 at the third General Assembly.
GA in Stockholm - 2009
Highlight: presentation first Report by the RC
3rd General Assembly, Stockholm EQAR’s third General Assembly was held in Stockholm on 29 September 2009. The meeting took place immediately after the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG). The Chair of the Register Committee, Bryan McMahon, presented the report by the Register Committee on the first two rounds of applications.
Bryan McMahon expressed that the RC was pleased with the keen interest shown at the last GA for its work. While emphasising the utmost importance of transparency and accountability, he recalled two other important principles, namely confidentiality granted to applicants and the independence of the Register Committee. He explained that the Register Committee worked on the basis of the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG) as well as the Procedures for Applications, which were adopted in consultation with the GA. The Committee was committed to ensure that all applications are considered fairly and the available evidence is weighed carefully and rigorously.
Colin Tück, acting director of EQAR, presented the Interim Report on the Plan of Work summarising the goals and activities concerned with the management of the register, as well as the communication and external relations.
The General Assembly discussed the initial plans for the External Evaluation of EQAR. As foreseen by the London Communiqué (2007) and endorsed in the Leuven/Louvain-La-Neuve Communiqué (2009), EQAR should be evaluated externally after two years of operation.
Due to the resignation of Eric Froment from the Register Committee, the General Assembly approved the nomination of Julio Pedrosa as replacement for the remainder of the Register Committee’s mandate.
The European Commission presented the key points of their progress report on Quality Assurance and invited everyone, including other stakeholders, to consult the report and reflect on the ideas presented.
GA in Prague - 2008
Highlight: discussion EQAR's first Annual Report
EQAR members convened for their 2nd General Assembly on 25 March 2009 in Praha, Czech Republic. The meeting was held on the day before the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) met, also in Praha, to prepare the next Bologna Process ministerial meeting, which will be held this April in Leuven and Louvain-La-Neuve.
Representatives of Slovenia, which has joined EQAR as Governmental Member right before the General Assembly, and Ireland, which had signed up for governmental membership already last summer, were warmly welcomed at their first General Assembly.
The General Assembly discussed EQAR’s first annual report. The report, covering EQAR’s activities in 2008 from its founding to the inclusion of the first agencies on the register, will be published when Europe’s ministers of higher education meet in April to take stock of progress in the Bologna Process.
Following the end of her mandate in the European Students’ Union (ESU) last year, Anne Mikkola, who had served as Vice-President of the Executive Board since EQAR’s founding, had resigned from her post to allow a new representative of ESU to take over. The General Assembly by-elected Bruno Carapinha, a member of the ESU Executive Committee.
Bruno will also take over as President of the Executive Board from 1 April 2009, following an agreement to rotate functions annually amongst the representatives of EQAR’s four Founding Members. The General Assembly thanked Anne for her work and wished Bruno a successful mandate. Lesley Wilson, who has been its President since March 2008, will continue to serve on the Board as the Treasurer. Emmi Helle and Andreas Orphanides will serve as Vice-Presidents for the coming year.
Founding Assembly in Brussels - 4 March 2008
Highlights: founding of EQAR, approval of nominations Register Committee, election of Appeals Committee, endorsement Executive Board
Following the signing of EQAR’s statutes by the representatives of the E4 Group, the members of the new association held a Founding Assembly in the Royal Academy of Science and Arts (Brussels, Belgium).
Apart from the four Founding Members, two Social Partner Members (BUSINESSEUROPE, Education International) and 19 Governmental Members joined the EQAR Association on 4 March and participated in the Founding Assembly.
The Founding Assembly elected an Appeals Committee, approved the nominations to the Register Committee and endorsed the Executive Board appointed by the founders. A preliminary budget for 2008 and a membership fee scale were approved.