Universitas 21 was founded in 1997 in Melbourne, Australia and it grew to become today’s leading network of research universities across the globe, made up of 27 member universities with more than 1.3 million students enrolled worldwide and several billion US dollars annual research income. The member universities come from 17 countries and the main offices of Universitas 21 are in the UK at the University of Birmingham and in the USA, in Charlottesville.
The network is led by presidents, a secretariat and local managers who are based at each member’s location and their responsibilities vary from setting strategies to daily operational issues and activities taking place at each member’s locations. Each of the three leading organizations has a specific purpose and therefore duty, so that the managers meet every year to exchange ideas, share best practices and advise the presidents on operational matters. At the same time, the secretariat is divided into areas of Student Experience, Educational Innovation, Researcher Engagement and Leadership & Management, so it is the best support for the management of the network.
U21 organizes annual events for its member universities all over the world and besides topics on research and innovation, they also address students on leadership aspects, health sciences and human rights.
Student Exchange provides students with the opportunity to study abroad, learn new languages, travel to new places and meet new cultures. More importantly, this student exchange experience enriches students by leading to personal growth, international perspective and maturity.
Since May 2013, University of Maryland is a member of Universitas 21 together with other 2 institutions, one from South Africa and the other from the USA.