I am looking forward to 2015 for many reasons, one of which is the opening of the Rome Centre of The Catholic University of America (CUA) and Australian Catholic University.
This exciting joint endeavour will see the Centre open its doors in September 2015 following the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between both universities.
Discussions began between myself and CUA’s Provost in early 2014 and at the heart of the agreement is a shared commitment to the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, the pursuit of academic excellence and a commitment to internationalisation experiences for our respective staff and students. I thank the various ACU staff who have assisted with this excellent result which will enable us to consolidate and grow our relationship with CUA, building on CUA’s presence in Rome for many years.
The establishment of ACU’s first offshore centre in 2015, is also firmly linked to ACU’s International Strategy work, led by the International Directorate and my office. At the core, this collaboration provides ACU with the opportunity to deliver academic programs and research partnerships which builds on ACU’s European and American connections, as well as offering new joint academic offerings with CUA. I look forward to working with the Executive Deans to shape Centre programs. The Centre will also offer short programs, offer a forum for respective alumni, visiting scholars and Church officials.
The Ceremonial Signing of the MoU will take place at CUA’s headquarters in Washington D. C. in January 2015, with ACU’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Craven when he and I are at the ACCU conference. We will participate in a program of meetings with key CUA staff, and begin discussions about our collaborative Rome operations. Whilst in Washington, we will also promote ACU’s hosting of the 25th General Assembly of the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) in Melbourne, July 2015.
Renovation works are underway for the Centre’s site on Janiculum Hill, close to the Vatican, which will see the centre offer residential facilities, as well as teaching spaces, a library and chapel.
Joint governance arrangements are also being implemented to facilitate quality academic offerings, opportunities for spiritual and intercultural scholarship as well as robust operations.
This joint centre marks a three-continent endeavour which will further the footprint of Catholic Higher Education and help ACU to achieve one of its strategic objectives of building an international classroom.
Rooftop courtyard at the Rome Centre
I wish you and your families the very best for 2015, as I continue to update you on the work of my academic portfolio.