Annual Conference 2012: Tying it all together. Excellence, mobility, funding and the social dimension in higher education  Helsinki, 10-12 June 2012. ACA’s Annual Conferences have become a synonym for high-quality information, analysis and discussion on current policy and practice-related issues in the area of European and international higher education. They bring together central actors and decision-makers in higher education, such as rectors, vice-rectors, faculty and international relations staff, as well as policy-makers and practitioners from government departments, international institutions, non-governmental organisations and think tanks. And they offer opportunities for learning, exchange and networking at a high level.  
The 2012 Annual Conference, organised in collaboration with ACA's Finnish member CIMO, brings together a select group of leading thinkers to address, from a multiplicity of perspectives, the synergies between four hotly debated issues in higher education world-wide: internationalisation and mobility, excellence, funding and social inclusion. The two-day conference will take place in wonderful Helsinki on June 11 and 12, preceded by a welcome reception and a social programme on 10 June. This event should  draw over 300 participants from Europe and other parts of the world.

There are conferences galore focused on the internationalisation of higher education and on international mobility. There is no shortage of events dedicated to world-class universities or “excellence”, to use a trendy expression. Gatherings to address questions of funding for higher education and on social issues at the tertiary level are likewise not in short supply. But these issues are usually only addressed separately and with little to no reference to one another. Rarely are the various relevant higher education themes discussed together. This leads to a reduction of perspectives, to a “single issue view” of higher education.
The 2012 ACA Annual Conference tries to avoid this mistake. It attempts to take a “holistic” view, by tying all these themes together and thus exploring their relevance to one another. For example, what is the relationship between social commitment and “excellence”? Or, to put it differently, can a university both cater to disadvantaged groups in society and be world-class? Does it perhaps even boost academic performance to provide wide access and be socially inclusive? What is the link between internationalisation (and mobility) and funding? Are the best-performing institutions strong in both respects, as Jamil Salmi claims? Is a lack of funds always a disadvantage, or could it also be an incentive for radical reform?
These are just a few of the many questions (and “synergies”) which the ACA Annual Conference will explore. Leading specialist from Europe and beyond will analyse the interrelations between the issues of internationalisation, funding, social commitment and “world class”, and guide participants through the channels linking these issues.