International Conference on Strategy and Policy in Higher Education

An official event of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union

21-22 November 2022

O2 universum

CZEDUCON 2022 main thematic areas

Strengthening European values

Enhancing European dimension

Building future-proof skills

Managing digital and green transition

Keynote speakers

Vladimír BALAŠ

Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Czech Republic

Vladimír BALAŠ was born in Prostějov. He graduated from the Faculty of Law of the Charles University. During his studies and practice, he attended a number of international training courses and was awarded prestigious scholarships from foreign universities. His work experience includes management positions at many major scientific institutions. He was Director of the Institute of State and Law of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and the Czech Academy of Sciences, member of the Scientific Council of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and President of the Czech Society of International Law. He has also served as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague and as a representative of the Czech Republic in UN organisations. He teaches at Czech and foreign universities. He has co-authored several important publications on international law. In 1994-1998 he was a councillor of the city of Pilsen. In 2021, he was elected to the Parliament of the Czech Republic.


Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Czech Republic

Radka WILDOVÁ graduated from the Faculty of Education, Charles University in Prague. Before joining the Educational Faculty administrative staff in 1993, she taught at several primary schools and thus has a practical experience. Between 2009 and 2016, she was Dean of the Faculty of Education, Charles University. From 2016 to 2022, she held the position of Vice Rector for the Conception and Quality of Education at the Charles University. Since February 2022 she has been the Deputy Minister for Higher Education, Science and Research at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic. She is author and co-author of numerous publications and member of several national and international expert teams.


Director-General of DG EAC, European Commission

Themis CHRISTOPHIDOU is the Director-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission, since March 2018. She is a civil engineer with 35 years of experience in private and public sector management. After having worked in the private sector for 15 years, she joined the European Commission in 2001. During the last 20 years she has held various positions, including in the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, as Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and as Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management. Themis Christophidou is an alumna of the civil engineering faculty of the Metsovio Polytechnic University of Athens. Born in Famagusta, Cyprus, she is trilingual, fluent in Greek, French, English.

Michal UHL

Director of DZS – Czech National Agency for International Education and Research, Czech Republic

Michal UHL has been working at the Czech National Agency for International Education and Research (DZS) since 2016. He participated in the strategic development of the organization from the position of Deputy Director, from 2022 he continues as Director of the institution. Prior to his work at DZS he had already dealt with issues of education and social policy through analytical and consulting positions at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, where he focused mainly on the fields of civic education and gender equality.


Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Czech Republic

Václav VELČOVSKÝ combines both academic and policy-making assets in his career. Since 2015, he has been the Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic in charge of international cooperation, the European Union affairs and the European Structural and Investment Funds. In former times, he worked at the Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic, where he was responsible for international affairs in the public administration, and at the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic with focus on the civil service reform. He studied Czech Language, Literature and History at the Charles University in Prague (Master), Slavonic Studies at the University Leipzig and Pedagogy at the Charles University in Prague (Ph.D.). He is an author of four monographs and dozens scientific articles on the Czech-German relations history, language policy and pedagogy. He is fluent in English and German.


Director for Youth, Education and Erasmus+, DG EAC, European Commission

Sophia ERIKSSON WATERSCHOOT is Director for Youth, Education and Erasmus+ at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture. She is in charge of European cooperation on higher education, schools and youth policy, including Europe’s flagship programmes Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps. She has previously held various positions within the European Commission in the field of strategy and investment in education, labour market policy, European Semester and European cohesion funds. She studied economics, business, political science and EU affairs in Sweden, France and Belgium, including an Erasmus student exchange. She is an Eisenhower Fellow.


Czech Rectors‘ Conference, Rector of Charles University, Czech Republic

Milena KRÁLÍČKOVÁ is the rector of Charles University. She graduated from the Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen at Charles University in Prague in 1996, after which she worked at the Department of Histology and Embryology and at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the University hospital and Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen. In 1997 she was awarded by The Fulbright Commission Scholarship for the academic year 1998/1999 and she has worked at The Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard in Boston, U.S.A. in the team of Reproductive Endocrine Unit. In 2016, Mrs. Králíčková became a professor of medical histology and embryology. She was the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen between 2010 and 2014 and the Vice Rector for Education of Charles University between 2014 and 2022. She is the rector of Charles University since February 1st, 2022.

Matteo VESPA

President of European Students‘ Union

Matteo VESPA, a Sardinian, has been active in the organised student movement at the local, national, and European levels since 2016. From 2018 to 2020, he served as International Officer for UDU – Unione degli Universitari, Italy’s main student union. As a member of the ESU Executive Committee, he worked extensively on academic freedom, Belarus, Next Generation EU, the Conference on the Future of Europe, global outreach and solidarity, the European Education Area and European Universities, brain drain, Erasmus+, Swiss-EU student mobility, Internationalisation at Home, and the proposal for a European level Students At Risk scholarship scheme. His current areas of responsibility are: European Education Area and European Universities; Public Responsibility, Governance and Financing of Higher Education; BFUG Working Group on Fundamental Values of the EHEA; Students At Risk scholarship scheme; Ukraine.


Judge of the European Court of Human Rights, Czech Republic

Kateřina ŠIMÁČKOVÁ is a judge of the European Court of Human Rights. She served as a judge of the Czech Constitutional Court and the Czech Supreme Administrative Court. She also worked as an attorney, a member of the Government Legislative Council of the Czech Republic, a member of the Committee on the selection of judges of the Civil Service Tribunal (CJEU) and a substitute member of the Venice Commission (The European Commission for Democracy through Law). She is also an assistant professor (Department of Constitutional Law and Political Science, Faculty of Law, Masaryk University in Brno) and a member of the Scientific Board of the Faculty of Law, Charles University in Prague and of the Academy Assembly of the Czech Academy of Sciences. She has published on human rights and co-authored several academic books.



Daniel CASTEN is an international higher education consultant with over 16 years of experience. He serves on the expert advisory group for the Czech Ministry of Education and the Czech National Agency for International Education and Research monitoring Czech universities’ participation in the European Universities Initiative, and served on the Ministry’s expert advisory group monitoring of internationalization of Czech universities. He has worked on various initiatives related to university Internationalisation for the National Agency, as well as advised on the drafting of the Ministry’s Strategic Plan for 2022-2030. He formerly was Director of the Office of International Affairs at the Technical University of Ostrava. He has extensive experience in international marketing, and leading targeted, impactful, strategic partnership development initiatives in higher ed as well as for companies in the private sector. He draws on long experience in client development and partnership relations for the investment banking firm IAI, a subsidiary of Lloyds Bank, and before with Citibank.

Past conferences


The third CZEDUCON conference took place a year later than planned due to the pandemic. The theme of the conference was (Un)prepared for change. Both Czech and international experts explored new challenges that higher education faced, whether caused by the pandemic or other reasons. The conference was held online, with over 700 participants.


The second annual CZEDUCON conference with a focus on internationalisation of higher education hosted over 500 participants who could choose from 42 speeches, panel discussions and workshops by 70 speakers. Among the main speakers were EAIE President Sabine Pendl, global higher education strategist Rahul Choudaha or ACA President Ulrich Grothus.

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