Prepare for a unique and engaging experience at the 4th Annual Conference of the Hanseatic League of Universities, hosted by Franklin University Switzerland.

Our vision for this conference goes beyond the ordinary, focusing on fostering meaningful interactions and engagement among HLU member institutions.

The proposed theme, "Sustainable Future in Higher Education," sets the tone for an immersive and collaborative exploration of interdisciplinary discussions, knowledge exchange, and collaborative initiatives. We believe in prioritizing peer-to-peer learning, where decision-makers and educational leaders take center stage, sharing their insights and experiences.

We aim to strengthen relations between participants and leaders, creating a more valuable and intimate experience, with quality time to discuss, listen, and socialize in a discreet and small environment.


DAY 1 – Thursday, June 6th

09:00 – 09:45 Registration
10:00 – 10:10 Opening remarks by President Martin-Barbero
10:10 – 10:40 Address from Keynote speaker | Jean Wu, Director of Green Office Sustainability Programs
10:45 – 11:00 Networking Coffee Break
11:00 – 12:30 Campus Tour
12:30 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 15:00 Roundtable discussions 
15:00 – 15:30 Networking Coffee Break
15:30 – 16:30 Roundtable discussions
18:00 – 18:30 Roundtable wrap up
18:30 – 20:00 Welcome Reception 

DAY 2 – Friday, June 7th

09:00 – 09:30 Networking Coffee
09:30 – 11:30 WURI Ranking 2024 announcement – WURI Team
11:30 – 12:00 Closing Remarks and Introduction of 2025 Host Institution – HLU and Host Institution of the 5th Annual HLU Conference (TBA)
12:00 – 14:00 Closing Lunch

Optional leisure activities around Lugano (at an extra cost):

  • Boat cruise
  • Monte San Salvatore/Monte Brè excursion



    The session will begin with brief presentations from our panelists, who will each share what their university has done regarding the discussion topic and/or what findings their research has shown.

    This will be followed by an open round-table discussion designed to foster a workshop-style environment. This interactive format aims to encourage active engagement and dynamic conversations among all participants.

    What We Expect

    Please come prepared to engage in the topics of discussion, bringing your own insights, questions, and experiences to the table.

    Your participation is crucial in creating a collaborative and enriching experience for everyone involved.

    We are confident that this format will provide a valuable platform for exchanging knowledge and innovative practices, ultimately contributing to the sustainable future of higher education.


    Round Table Discussion 1: Curriculum - Student Support and Engagement

    June 6th – 14:00-15:00 | Classroom 5

    Moderators: David Mills, Dean of Academic Affairs, Franklin University Switzerland and Caroline Wiedmer, Professor of Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies Franklin University Switzerland

    Topic: "In the context of 'Sustainable Futures in Higher Education,' what innovative approaches can educators adopt to prepare students for the environmental, social, and economic challenges of the future?"

    Round Table Discussion 2: Community Development - Culture/Values

    June 6th, 14:00-15:00 | Classroom 3

    Moderator: Nickolas Neibauer, Director of Advancement and Alumni, Franklin University Switzerland

    Topic: "In the context of community building, sustainable development, and adding value to student learning, how can universities best engage and leverage their alumni?"

    Round Table Discussion 3: Global Footprint - Student Mobility and Openness

    June 6th, 15:30-16:30 | Classroom 5

    Moderators: Samuel Martin-Barbero, President, Franklin University Switzerland and Lucila Perez Mollo, Vice President of Admissions and Enrollment Management, Franklin University Switzerland

    Topic: "What is your institution’s main focus in terms of impact: local, national, or transnational? How do you secure that position?"

    Round Table Discussion 4: Wellbeing - Crisis Management

    June 6th, 15:30-16:30 | Classroom 3

    Moderators: Fabio Ferrari, Chair of the Academic Division of Arts and Culture, Franklin University Switzerland 

    Topic: "How has your institution contributed to innovating 21st-century best practices that enhance the wellbeing of students, staff, and faculty within your university community?"

    Round Table Discussion 5: Career Readiness - Entrepreneurial Spirit

    June 6th, 15:30-16:30 | Classroom 1

    Moderators: Deborah Knaust, Dean of Student Life and Engagement, Franklin University Switzerland and Justine Salam, Admission, Franklin University Switzerland

    Topic: "What strategies can higher education institutions implement to ensure their graduates are career-ready while also promoting sustainable practices within their campuses and curricula?"

    Registration Procedures

    The conference can host up to 50 participants, and registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. We encourage you to register early to secure your spot and make the most of this collaborative experience. Registrations will close on February 29th, 2024, or upon the reach of 50 participants.

    Participants will receive an official invitation from the conference organizers, which includes a link to the registration portal.

    Conference Expenses

    Conference Fee:

    In our commitment to fostering an inclusive and collaborative environment, Franklin University Switzerland has decided not to apply any conference fee for the 4th Annual Conference.

    Travel Expenses:

    • Participants are responsible for covering their own travel expenses, including airfare, transportation to and from Lugano, and any additional travel-related costs.
    • Accommodation costs should be settled directly with the chosen hotel.


    For your convenience, we have secured preferential rates with three hotels in close proximity to our campus. Participants are encouraged to contact the hotels directly to make reservations and settle payments. Here are the details of the recommended hotels:

    Hotel Admiral 4*
    Via Geretta 15, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland (7min away from Franklin)

    Hotel De La Paix 4*
    Via Cattori 18, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland (5min away from Franklin)

    Hotel Colorado 3*
    Via Clemente Maraini 19, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland (5min away from Franklin)

    Booking Instructions:

    1. Please contact the hotels directly.
    2. When making reservations, mention the preferred rate code provided by the Franklin team to avail of the special conference rates.
    3. Settle all payments directly with the chosen hotel at the time of booking.

    Note: It is advisable to book your accommodation well in advance to secure the preferential rates and ensure room availability. Should you encounter any issues or require further assistance, feel free to reach out to the respective hotel's reservation team.


    To facilitate the seamless participation of conference attendees, transportation services will be provided between the recommended hotels and the Franklin University Switzerland campus. Specific departure times will be communicated to participants in advance, allowing for convenient and timely arrival/departure at/from the conference venue.

    Travel Recommendations to Switzerland

    We want to ensure that your journey to Switzerland for the 4th Annual Conference of the Hanseatic League of Universities is as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Here are some travel recommendations to help you plan your trip:

    1. Visa Requirements: Ensure that you check the visa requirements for Switzerland based on your nationality. Make sure to apply for your visa well in advance to avoid any last-minute complications. Should it be required, we will provide you with an invitation letter.
    2. Traveling by plane: the two closest airports to Lugano are Zurich airport and Milano Malpensa airport. From Zurich, you can easily reach Lugano by train in 3 hours. From Milano Malpensa, you can easily reach Lugano by train in 1 hour 30 minutes. Please visit the Swiss Railway website for more details on the options available. If you prefer driving, you can rent a car at the airport and enjoy a picturesque road trip to Lugano.
    3. Currency and Banking: Switzerland uses the Swiss Franc (CHF). Credit cards are widely accepted, but it's advisable to carry some local currency for small purchases.
    4. Language: Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. In Lugano, Italian is predominantly spoken, so having a basic understanding of Italian can be helpful but English is very welcomed as well.
    5. Weather and Attire: Switzerland experiences a temperate climate, but weather conditions can vary. Check the weather forecast closer to your travel date and pack accordingly. Comfortable walking shoes and a light jacket are recommended.
    6. Electrical Outlets: Switzerland uses the Type J electrical socket. Ensure you have the appropriate adapters for your electronic devices.
    7. Health and Safety: Switzerland has a high standard of healthcare. Make sure you have travel insurance that covers any medical expenses. It's also advisable to check if any vaccinations are required before traveling.
    8. Explore Lugano: Take advantage of your time in Switzerland to explore Lugano's charming streets, beautiful parks, and the stunning Lake Lugano. Consider extending your stay to experience the unique culture and hospitality of the region.

    Feel free to reach out to the conference organizers for any specific travel-related queries or assistance. We look forward to welcoming you to the picturesque city of Lugano for a memorable conference experience!


    Feel free to reach out to the conference organizers at hlu@fus.edu.