World University Service Austria (WUS Austria)
World University Service (WUS) Austria is a politically independent, non-governmental organization committed to the promotion of the human right to education on the basis of academic freedom and university autonomy. Since its establishment in Graz in 1983, WUS Austria has been working on the promotion of this aim in various countries all over the world (thus, for example, in the 1980s in Africa, and Southern and Central America). Today the organization has a regional focus on the countries of South-Eastern and Eastern Europe and employs a branch office in Prishtina. While this area remains at the center of WUS Austria’s work, the organization additionally focuses on other regions such as Central Asia and the Caucasus and is further interested in cooperation with other countries in the world.
During its 30 years of existence WUS Austria has positioned itself as one of the most important operative partners for enhancing knowledge transfer and comparability in Higher Education between EU and non EU countries. WUS Austria provides operative and technical support and consultancy for a faster, more efficient implementation of the Bologna system and global trends in the Higher Education (HE) sector.
The VISION of WUS Austria is to be the preferential partner for the development of HE, which is a key factor in the socio-economic and political advancement of every society.
WUS Austria’s MISSION therefore aims at increasing the quality of HE in accordance with European and international standards in order to establish solid and sustainable structures for a strong role of universities in society. Against this background, WUS Austria has implemented change management in accordance with the Bologna principles and UNESCO standards since 2001.
Sustainable development of Higher Education goes beyond the university level. Responding to this, WUS Austria works together with the public sector, economy and society as a whole.
WUS Austria’s work is based on the following principles: top-down and bottom-up approach from the policy level to the individual level, local capacity building, sustainability, and local ownership. They provide experts, used to work in complex and intercultural environments, and cooperate with many different partners such as Higher Education institutions, public bodies (e.g. ministries, accreditation agencies), NGOs and companies on a national, regional, European and international level. We further collaborate with donors at national (e.g. Austrian Development Cooperation) and international (e.g. European Union) level, as well as foundations.
Austria supports higher education institutions in shaping change processes through capacity building and trainings. They help to develop solutions for higher education institutions in an international context and provide knowledge and tools to manage the challenges.
WUS Austria focuses on individual capacities as well as on the structures, processes and regulatory frameworks of the institutions and involves all relevant stakeholders. This way higher education institutions can react in a flexible, effective and efficient way and put an emphasis on their innovation capacity, knowledge management, internationalization and competitiveness.
The countries in which WUS Austria implements its projects in Higher Education are characterized by a diversity of political systems, higher education systems, educational traditions, as well as aspirations and expectations. WUS Austria therefore undertakes a diversified and tailor-made approach for each region, country and institution. They furthermore foster a holistic approach where all stakeholders at all levels are part of the process and where the interests of staff (academic and non-academic) and students are equally taken seriously as are the views and opinions of university management and political stakeholders.
In all their projects they also promote equal opportunities and the participation of persons from vulnerable groups in higher education.