Office of the Vice-Rector for International and Interuniversity cooperation
Since its founding, the University of Banja Luka has established relations with universities and numerous other partners in the country and abroad. International cooperation has kept abreast of the general developments concerning the University's activities and its positioning in the region and Europe, as well as globally. The intensification of bilateral cooperation with partners from abroad has been particularly prominent since 2005, when the country's higher education system joined the Bologna Process, and later the European Higher Education Area and the European Research Area. The ground for intensive cooperation was first laid with partners from countries in the region, and it was not until the University was integrated in 2008 that it moved ahead to a stronger bilateral cooperation with partners from EU member countries, and since 2015 with partners from the Russian Federation, while in the last two years it has especially intensified cooperation with partners from the People's Republic of China.
International cooperation at the University, as well as at most other universities, encompasses bilateral and multilateral agreements with other higher education institutions in the country and abroad, but also agreements with international organisations, specialised agencies, non-governmental organisations, embassies, ministries and other legal entities, representation of the University, membership in international networks and associations of higher education institutions, work on international educational projects, as well as organisation of student and staff mobility.
The first document with elements of strategic planning adopted at the University was the one named Strategic Directions and Objectives for the Development of International Cooperation at the University of Banja Luka of September 2010. In recent years, international cooperation at higher education institutions around the world has grown into a trend called internationalisation, which includes the involvement of all active participants in the field of higher education, as well as all fields of work of a higher education institution. Thus, internationalisation means the involvement of all staff, students, as well as all partners, through international activities in teaching, science and support systems. The University of Banja Luka takes active part in the overall development of general trends and in the field of internationalisation, and in January 2018, the first Internationalisation Strategy of the University of Banja Luka was adopted.
As for the bilateral and multilateral cooperation, the University has over 250 active cooperation agreements with partners from the country and abroad. Up to date, most of the agreements have been concluded with partners from countries in the region (Serbia, Slovenia, Northern Macedonia, Croatia, Montenegro), followed by partners from EU member countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Denmark, Italy, Lithuania, Hungary, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Finland, France, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Spain), with partners from countries that have special relations with the European Union but are not EU member countries (Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Turkey and Albania), with partners from the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, as well as with several partners from the United States of America, Israel, Belarus, Ukraine, Japan, Thailand, Algeria and Moldova. Membership in international networks and associations is one of the more important references to the willingness to cooperate with foreign partners, as it contributes to the international reputation and position of universities at the international level. The University of Banja Luka is a member of the European University Association (EUA) and a signatory to the Magna Charta Universitatum. It is a member of the UniAdrion University Network, based in Ancona (Italy), the Francophone University Agency (AUF), the China-Central Eastern European Countries Higher Education Institutions Consortium (CCHEIC), the Association of Universities of Southeast Europe and the Western Balkans and a participant in the Berlin Process (Western Balkans process).
In the scope of international cooperation, the University of Banja Luka devotes considerable attention to the mobility of students and staff, as part of the activities of international mobility programmes, cooperation agreements, through study visits, summer schools, workshops, seminars and traineeships. The University of Banja Luka has been a member of the CEEPUS network (Central European Exchange Programme for University Studies) since the academic year 2008-09, and as of the academic year 2011-12 it has participated in the implementation of six projects in the Erasmus Mundus exchange programme. Within the Erasmus+ programme, the category of International Credit Mobility, the University has carried out the student and staff mobility with 64 partners from 26 European countries.
Some of the academic staff and students of the University were, or currently are, foreign government-sponsored scholarship grantees of different programmes. Moreover, the University is very active with partners from different countries in organising numerous international educational, scientific, cultural and sports events, such as: conferences, seminars, trainings, summer schools, student competitions etc.
Students of the University of Banja Luka have taken part in many summer schools, study visits, conferences, seminars, competitions and numerous other activities in the country and abroad. They have achieved excellent results and won numerous awards at many international competitions in the field of education, science, art and sports, as well as competitions in the domain of their profession.
The University of Applied Sciences in Essen (Germany), together with the Welt der Wunder Foundation, awarded 175 one-off scholarships to students of the first and second cycle of studies at the University of Banja Luka over a period of three years. Since 2017, the University of Applied Sciences in Essen has provided these scholarships together with the Fairnetzen Foundation, and to date, 190 scholarships have been awarded. Scholarships are awarded to socioeconomically disadvantaged students.
For eight academic years starting from 2010-11, HUAWEI Technologies Ltd Banja Luka has awarded the NOVUM prizes, scholarships, to five exceptional students of the University of Banja Luka.
Every year, when celebrating the day of the University and its members or other appropriate dates, the University and the members organise international scientific conferences, meetings, seminars, round tables and other events, which further contribute to the establishment and development of partnerships between foreign higher education institutions and the University of Banja Luka.
In cooperation with partner institutions and embassies, the Austrian Library was established in 2008 at the University of Banja Luka. The Confucius Institute was established in 2017.
Intensive cooperation with foreign embassies has enabled the engagement of foreign language lecturers at the Faculty of Philology (these are the embassies of Italy, France, USA, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Spain, Russian Federation, Slovenia).
The largest number of completed international educational projects at the University refers to Tempus projects (Trans-European Mobility Scheme for University Studies). From 1996 to the completion of the programme in 2015, the University of Banja Luka has participated in 89 Tempus projects, funded by the European Commission. In this regard, cooperation has been established with all state universities from Bosnia and Herzegovina and numerous universities from the European Union. Cooperation with foreign partners has continued or has been established through the European Commission's new educational programme called Erasmus+, in the Capacity Building category. Within this programme, the University has successfully participated in the implementation of eight projects, while seven more projects are in the process of being implemented. In 2019, the first registered coordinating project of the University of Banja Luka was approved, titled "Vitalizing ICT Relevance in Agricultural Learning - VIRAL", implementation of which the Faculty of Agriculture is in charge.
Numerous contacts were made and various types of activities and projects were undertaken with international organisations operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These are: European Commission, Council of Europe, EU Delegation to BH, Office of the EU Special Representative in BH, National Erasmus + Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), UN Women (United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), British Council in BH, French Cultural Center in Banja Luka, American Corner in Banja Luka, ADA (Austrian Development Agency), DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), WUS Austria and others.
The University provides support and cooperates with international and domestic non-governmental organisations that bring together current and former students of the University, with the aim of organising student mobility so as to facilitate their study and practical training, increase different student skills, as well as exchange good practice and establish partnerships with related student associations around the world. Among these organisations are: IAESTE BH (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience), EESTEC-LC Banja Luka (Electrical Engineering Students’ European Association - Local Committee of Banja Luka), SaMSIC (Republic of Srpska Medical Students’ International Committee), AEGEE (European Students’ Forum), Society of Serbian-Russian Friendship "Brotherhood", WBAA (Western Balkan Alumni Association) etc.
In recent years, the University of Banja Luka has worked intensively on system solutions to ensure the quality as well as efficiency and effectiveness of international cooperation, especially the student and staff mobility. With a view to carrying out the international cooperation as best as possible, the existing staff was engaged, different regulations and procedures were adopted and promotional material was prepared.
The vice-rector for international and interuniversity cooperation, the Office for International and Interuniversity Cooperation at the Rectorate, the vice-deans for international cooperation and the vice-deans for scientific research/arts and international cooperation, the network of coordinators for international cooperation at all University members, established in 2008, and the network of academic coordinators for international student and staff mobility, established in 2011, are in charge of implementing activities and coordinating the international cooperation.
In 2016, the first Rulebook on International Student and Staff Mobility was adopted at the University of Banja Luka, as well as a number of other acts and procedures aimed at regulating international student and staff mobility, the most important of which was the Outgoing and Incoming Student and Staff Mobility Guide.
The International Cooperation module of the Integrated Information System of the University of Banja Luka started to be used in 2019. The module was created with modern Java technologies, integrated with other modules of the University Information System, and available online to employees and students through the web applications eZaposleni (eng. eEmployees) and eStudent. The main goal is to formulate registers on international cooperation at all levels of the University’s organisational structure and all types of international cooperation. The module was made in accordance with laws and regulations, especially the Rulebook on International Mobility of Students and Staff , the Rulebook on the Procedure for Concluding Agreements on Academic, Business, Technical and Professional Cooperation and the Rulebook on the Recognition of Foreign Educational Qualifications for Continuing Education at the University of Banja Luka and on the Process of Equalisation of Academic Degrees Previously Awarded by the University of Banja Luka. In the forthcoming period, the University of Banja Luka will proceed with the international cooperation and continue working on a systemic, plan and organisational staff, material and financial capacity strenghtening, so as to contribute to greater internationalisation of the University in collaboration with foreign partners and build a recognisable reputation abroad, i.e., present the University as a higher education institution oriented towards quality and development, while preserving its specificities and traditional values on which it is based. The Office for International and Interuniversity Cooperation falls within the competence of the vice-rector for international and interuniversity cooperation. In addition to the vice-rector, the Office consists of two senior associates, who are in charge of international and interuniversity cooperation and the mobility of staff and students.
Jelena Rožić, MA
Senior Associate for International and Interuniversity Cooperation
Phone: +387 51 266 170
Đorđe Kenjalo, MA
Phone: +387 51 266 170