ACA Annual Conference 2012: Tying it all together.
Internationalisation, excellence, funding and the social dimension in higher education
Helsinki, 10-12 June 2012
Dr. Eric Beerkens is Senior Advisor for International Affairs at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He is responsible for the development and coordination of university-wide internationalisation policies, for the international and European relations of the university and for Leiden's membership in networks such as the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and the Coimbra Group. Before coming to Leiden, Eric was Head of Studies and Researcher at the Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education (NUFFIC).
Eric held a Sesqui postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Sydney in Australia from 2005-2008. He also was a research associate at the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) in the Netherlands from 1998 - 2005. At CHEPS, he earned his PhD (cum laude) with a study on globalisation and international cooperation in European and Southeast Asian higher education. Eric has published widely on international higher education in books, journal articles, blogs and online news sources. Eric's professional and research interests are in policies and politics in the fields of international higher education and science & technology, especially issues related to internationalisation, globalisation, international cooperation and regional integration.
Dr Robert John Coelen is Vice-President International at Stenden University in the Netherlands. Prior to this appointment he was Vice-President International at Leiden University. He has worked for about 15 years in the field of international education. He returned to work in Europe after an absence of 30 years. Most of these 30 years were spent in Australia. During his time in Australia he spent about 5 years altogether in South-East Asia, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Dr Coelen is a member of Club33, a global think tank on internationalisation, a member of the International Ranking Experts Group, which produced the Berlin Principles on Ranking in Higher Education. He regularly reviews papers for the Journal of Studies in International Education.
Dr Coelen is a regular speaker at international and national conferences on issues related to internationalisation of higher education. In particular ranking, international positioning, the services to international students and admission are amongst the topics he addresses. More recently he is talking about quality in internationalisation as a pressing issue. He was the organiser of the Leiden University Global Ranking Symposium Series. He is the initiator and president of Euroscholars, a new study abroad education project in collaboration with 12 continental LERU universities.
David Crosier joined Eurydice, the EU's education information network, in September 2008. He is responsible for the network's reports and other activities on higher education.
He has worked in particular on two recent reports that have examined the Social Dimension.
Most recently Eurydice, Eurostat and Eurostudent published the official progress report for the Bologna Ministerial Conference in Bucharest, 26/27 April 2012. This report, "The European Higher Education Area 2012: Bologna Process Implementation Report" offers a comprehensive picture of progress towards agreed higher education objectives across the 47 countries of the European Higher Education Area.
Eurydice also published the report "Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe: Funding and the Social Dimension" alongside the European Commission's Communication on the Higher Education Modernisation Agenda in the autumn 2011. This report examines funding and social dimension issues across the European Union and EFTA countries.
Before joining Eurydice, David worked for the European University Association where he was responsible for a variety of projects focusing on different aspects of implementation of the Bologna process. He managed EUA's Trends reports, and was co-author of the Trends V publication in 2007.
Dr Shaun Curtis was appointed Director of International Exeter in August 2009. He is responsible for implementing the University of Exeter's Internationalisation Strategy, which includes developing stronger links with leading international universities and expanding and diversifying Exeter's international student body. Previously, Shaun was the inaugural Head of the UK Higher Education International Unit at Universities UK and was Research Manager at the Economic Development Office of the City of London Corporation. Shaun has had a diverse career over the last 20 years, working in the public, private and university sectors. He received a BA in Politics and an MA in Middle East Politics from the University of Exeter, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto.
Dr Joan Dassin is the Executive Director of the International Fellowships Fund, Inc., established in 2001 to implement and oversee the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program (IFP). Since that time, Dr Dassin has led the IFP, which has supported more than 4,300 social justice leaders from Asia, Russia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America to obtain post-graduate degrees. In 2011, she received the Marita Houlihan Prize for Distinguished Contributions to the Field of International Education, awarded by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the world’s largest professional association dedicated to international education.
Dr Dassin was Representative for the Ford Foundation Office in Brazil from 1989 to 1992 and served as the Foundation’s Regional Director for Latin America from 1992 to 1996. She has also worked as an independent consultant on international education projects based in Washington, D.C., and served as Basic Education Adviser to the Latin American and Caribbean Bureau of USAID in Washington, D.C.
A recipient of three Fulbright fellowships as well as other academic grants and awards, Dr Dassin has a long-standing professional and personal commitment to Brazil and the Latin America region. Before joining the Ford Foundation and the International Fellowships Fund, she taught English and Latin American Studies at Amherst College and at Fordham and Columbia universities, and also worked as the Staff Associate for Latin America at the Social Science Research Council. Dr. Dassin served on the Boards of Directors of LASPAU: Academic and Professional Programs for the Americas, the Washington Office on Latin America and the Center for International Policy.
Dr Dassin has a PhD and an MA in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University and a BA magna cum laude in English and American Literature from Brandeis University. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1969.
Among her publications are: Origins, Journeys and Returns: Social Justice in Higher Education (contributor); Training a New Generation of Leaders (co-editor); Press Control Around the World (co-editor); Torture in Brazil (editor); and Poesia e Política em Mário de Andrade, as well as other books and articles on international education, human rights, and culture and politics in Brazil and Latin America.
Ian R Dobson has been with the University of Helsinki’s Network for Higher Education and Innovation Research for about 18 months. A career in university administration at three universities in Melbourne, Australia from 1971 until 2005 was followed by several years as a freelance consultant, data analyst and reviser of written English, splitting his time between Australia and Finland. His previous formal career involved strategic planning, statistical analysis, institutional research, writing and providing policy advice.
He holds a PhD, has authored or co-authored about 90 scholarly papers, chapters and published reports, and is editor of the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management (Routledge) and the Australian Universities’ Review (NTEU). Recent scholarly effort has included producing a report on university science commissioned by Australia’s Chief Scientist, involvement in the Changing Academic Profession (CAP) project for Finland and Australia, and involvement in a project to examine the nexus between academic and non-academic work in Finnish universities. He continues to revise written English for clients from institutions in Australia, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Portugal.
Dr. iur. Dietmar Ertmann graduated in law from the University of Freiburg in 1974 after having pursued his studies at the universities of Geneva, Würzburg and Freiburg. From 1975 until 1978 he was a researcher at the Max-Planck Institute for international and comparative criminal law in Freiburg and until 1980 lecturer-in-law at the University of Warwick, Great Britain. In 1979 he was awarded his doctoral degree from the University of Freiburg and continued to work as a legal advisor at the University of Karlsruhe. In 1984/85 he graduated from the prestigious French Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA) in Paris. From 1987 – 1990, he was Deputy Registrar at the University of Karlsruhe, before becoming the Registrar (Head of Administration) of the University of Mannheim (1990). In 2000 Dr. Ertmann became Registrar of the University of Karlsruhe (TH). He has played a decisive role in realizing the merger of the Karlsruhe research centre in the Helmholtz Society with the University of Karlsruhe following the university’s brilliant positioning in the German Excellence Initiative. This newly established Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is an internationally leading institution in science and engineering fostering teaching, research and innovation. Dr. Ertmann published extensively on legal aspects of German higher education, higher education reform, e-learning and open access and lectures at German University for Administrative Sciences in Speyer. After his eight-year term of office in Karlsruhe, Dr. Ertmann has been appointed Vice-Chairman of the Consortium to establish a Vietnamese-German University in Vietnam.
Irina Ferencz is Policy Officer at the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA). Since her start at ACA, in 2008, she has been mainly involved in projects and activities related to the use of indicators for measuring internationalisation at university level and has authored several publications and articles on international student mobility, on both statistical and policy trends. Examples of recent publications she co-authored are the studies “Mapping mobility in European higher education” (previously referred to as EURODATA II) of 2011 and the 2012 “European and national policies for academic mobility. Linking rhetoric, practice and mobility trends”. Currently, Irina coordinates the MOWIN Project at ACA - which aims to generate a typology of “mobility windows” and practical examples in the European context. Over time, Irina has also been in charge of the development of several ACA European Policy Seminars, and constantly represents the association externally, at various international conferences and other events.
Irina, who is a Romanian national, studied International Relations and European Studies at the Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca and obtained a Master’s degree in European Politics and Policies at the Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Kassel, Germany.
The responsibilities of First Vice-Rector Ulla-Maija Forsberg include matters pertaining to internationalisation, education export, academic quality assurance, bilingual affairs and equality at the University as well as the operations of the University Library. She holds a full-time position as Vice-Rector and serves as a deputy for the Rector.
Forsberg is Professor of Finno-Ugrian Language Studies at the University of Helsinki. Before being appointed First Vice-Rector she was the Dean of the Faculty of Arts. Forsberg is an active teacher and researcher of etymology as well as the Ob-Ugrian and Hungarian languages. The Ministry of Education and Culture granted Forsberg the State Award for Public Information in 2006 for her efforts in popularising science. Forsberg is the chair of the Finno-Ugrian Society, founded in 1883.
Forsberg graduated as Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Helsinki in 1989.
Antoine Godbert has been Director of the 2e2F Agency (Europe-Education-Formation France) which is in charge of implementing and deploying the Education and Lifelong Learning European Community program in France since november 2010. Previously, he was Diplomatic Advisor to the staff of the Ministry of National Education. At the same time, he is an Affiliated Professor at l’Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP Europe) where he is in charge of the European Geopolitical Studies department. He is also a member of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) team.
A former student at the Ecole nationale de l’administration (ENA) and of the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Fontenay-St-Cloud (ENS Fontenay-St-Cloud), he worked as a journalist from 1990 to 1992, then as the manager of a company that produced educational videos until 1994. Antoine Godbert is the holder of an Agrégation in Geography and was a teacher-researcher in geopolitics at ESCP-EAP European School of Management from 1991-1998.
In 2001-2002, he worked in the Secrétariat général de la Défense et de la Sécurité nationale (SGDN, General Secretariat for Defence and National Security) where he managed the “crisis management” and “European Defence” portfolios. In 2002 he joined the Direction générale de l’Administration et de la Fonction publique (DGAFP, General Office for Adminstration and the Civil Service). There he created and led the “Senior-Level Management and Careers” mission until 2005.
After being Acting Director of Anthenor Public Affairs, in 2007 he became Managing Director at AGMA Consulting, a consultancy in institutional relations. In 2008, Antoine Godbert joined the team of the Secretary of State for the Development of the Capital Region as an advisor on the “capital region mission”. He held this post until he was appointed diplomatic advisor to the Ministry of National Education.
Ulrich Grothus, who was born in 1952, is the Deputy Secretary-General and Director for Strategy and Projects of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). He obtained a Master’s degree in Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin in 1976. He then worked as a journalist before joining the International Division of the former West German Rectors Conference in 1982. He has been working for DAAD since 1988, first as spokesman and head of the president’s office. Starting in 1991, he has been consecutively director of all three DAAD program directorates. In between, he served as director of the Paris office from 1998 to 2000 and of the New York office from 2004 to 2008. Since 2010 he has been member of ACA’s Administrative Council, in December 2011 he was elected Vice-President.
Stephen P. Heyneman received his PhD in comparative education from the University of Chicago in 1976. He served the World Bank for 22 years. Between 1976 and 1984 he helped research education quality and design policies to support educational effectiveness. Between 1984 and 1989 he was in charge of external training for senior officials world wide in education policy. And between 1989 and 1998, he was responsible for education policy and lending strategy, first for the Middle East and North Africa and later for the 27 countries of Europe and Central Asia. In July, 2000 he was appointed professor of International Education Policy at Vanderbilt University. Current interests include the effect of higher education on social cohesion, the international trade in education services and the economic and social cost to higher education corruption.
Dr. Hoffmann, since 2004 Executive Director of the German-American Fulbright Commission in Berlin, studied biological sciences at Duke University (N.C., USA) and the University of Tübingen and received his doctoral degree in 1983. He worked as assistant professor of zoology at the University of Karlsruhe and later joined the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn as policy and program officer and later as deputy head of the Selection Department. Since 1991, he has gained extensive experience in higher education policy and management in different senior positions mainly with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Space Agency (DARA) and as Director of the German-American Academic Council in Bonn and Washington, D.C.
In 2001 Dr. Hoffmann was appointed Director of Germany’s new International Marketing Initiative, a joint effort of the Federal Government, the universities and DAAD for the international promotion of study and research in Germany. Until 2004 he also headed the German university marketing consortium GATE Germany with more than 100 member institutions. Rolf Hoffmann has been serving as a higher education and marketing expert for many national and international agencies in Europe and in the U.S.
Neil Kemp has contributed to a range of education and training projects in over twenty countries and has lived and worked for long periods in South and East Asia, including eight years each in Indonesia and India. His career has involved several posts with the British Council: Country Director in Indonesia and Sri Lanka and in the UK as, Director of Science and Technology and Director of Education UK Marketing.
He now manages his own international education consultancy and his many clients include UK and international universities, governments and other organisations. Neil is also a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Education, University of London, and his research interests include national and institutional policies relating to the internationalisation of higher education; transnational education (TNE); and international student mobility. He is a visiting lecturer on the MA programme for the management of international higher education at Edge Hill University, UK.
He is a board member of the Council for Education in the Commonwealth; the Advisory Board, London School of Commerce; and Board Director of Open University Worldwide. Over recent years he has been a member of the UK government's Education and Training Export Group, the Higher Level Steering Group for the PMI, the Education UK Board and was a Trustee of the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.
Esko Koponen is International Education Adviser at the Rector’s Office of the University of Helsinki. His responsibilities include strategic planning of international academic affairs, the development of programs in English and international joint and double degree programs. Previously, he has worked in the Centre for International Mobility (CIMO) with European and other educational cooperation programs and in the University of Kuopio with study-abroad and international student advising. He is the author of two wiki guides: one on the design of programs in English and the other on joint program agreements. He has chaired and facilitated numerous workshops and sessions on internationalization in general, and teaching and programs in English both nationally and abroad. Esko is a former SAFSA (Study-Abroad and Foreign Student Advisors) board member of the EAIE. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Translation Studies from the University of Joensuu (now University of Eastern Finland), Finland.
Kwan Heung (Queenie) Lam joined ACA as a Project Officer in October 2010. Her immediate past position is that of research assistant at the International Center for Higher Education Research (INCHER) and the International Study Center (ISC) of the University of Kassel, where she was involved in research activities, partnership development and student services for international study programmes. Queenie holds a Master in Communication from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and is due to complete an International Master’s degree in INCHER, Kassel in 2011 with a thesis looking at the “web-presentation” of universities. She also studied at Georgetown University in the United States as an exchange student. For four years, Queenie was Executive Officer within the Personnel Office of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she assisted with the international recruitment of academic staff, and later the Office of Academic Links where she supported the development of international academic partnerships and became interested in the growing ties between Chinese and European higher education institutions.
Anita Lehikoinen has served the Finnish Ministry of Education since 1989. At the moment, she is responsible for higher education and science policy development at the Ministry. Prior to her current position she worked in the field of higher education and was responsible, for example, for the implementation of the Bologna process in Finland and internationalisation strategy for higher education. She has also worked for the reform of the steering system of Finnish universities. She has served in many national and European committees in the field of higher education, research and internationalisation.
Professor Dr. Liqiu Meng is a chair professor for cartography at Technische Universität München, Germany, since 1998. Since 2008 she has been also serving as senior vice president of the university, responsible for international alliances and alumni. Her management commitments range from student and staff exchange programs, double degree programs, multilateral research clusters to overseas campus.
She finished her M.Sc (1985) at the Institute of Surveying & Mapping, People’s Liberation Army, China, PhD (1993) in geodetic engineering at University of Hanover, Germany, and qualification for professorship (1998) in geographic information sciences at the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. Her research interests are pattern recognition, geo-data integration, visualization, geospatial data integration and mobile navigation services. She is member of German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and senate of Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, responsible for strategic research in the field “Earth and Environment”.
Sijbolt Noorda is currently president of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands and President of the Academic Cooperation Association, Brussels. Until 2006 he was president of the University of Amsterdam. He is a graduate of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Universiteit Utrecht and Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University New York.
He served and serves on various boards of institutions for health care, public broadcasting, fine arts and culture, information technology and publishing, university quality assessment and war memorials.
In Germany he is a member of the Akkreditierungsrat. He is an advisor to universities in Austria, Catalonia and Germany, and lectures on university strategies, international cooperation and educational policy.
Dr. Dominic Orr is a senior researcher at the HIS-Institute for Research on Higher Education in Hannover (DE). He graduated from Southbank University London in the field of applied business studies and holds a PhD in the field of comparative education from Dresden University.
Since 2005, he has been the head of the international coordination team of the EUROSTUDENT project, a large-scale project collating comparable data from 25 countries on the social and economic conditions of students in European higher education. He has been a member of three expert circles of the Bologna Follow-Up Group since 2008, on reporting, mobility and the social dimension. His range of publications cover the fields of governance in higher education, student life and the social dimension, and international mobility of students.
Recent publications include Orr/Gwosc/Netz (2011): Social and economic conditions of student life in Europe, Teichler/Ferencz/Wächter (eds, 2011) Mapping mobility in European higher education and Eurydice/Eurostat/EUROSTUDENT (forthcoming): Bologna Implementation Report.
Pasi Sahlberg is Director General of CIMO (in the Ministry of Education) in Helsinki, Finland. He has experience in classroom teaching, training teachers and leaders, coaching schools to change and advising education policy-makers around the world. Dr. Sahlberg has lived and worked in the United States (World Bank in Washington DC) and Italy (European Commission). He is an international keynote speaker and has published over 100 articles, chapters and books, among them "The Fourth Way of Finland" (2011), “Rethinking accountability in a knowledge society” (2010), “Creativity and innovation through lifelong learning” (2009), and "Education Reform for Raising Economic Competitiveness" (2006). He earned PhD from the University of Jyväskylä (Finland) in 1996. Dr. Sahlberg is a member of the Board of Directors of ASCD and Adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki and the University of Oulu. His latest book is "Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland?"
Jamil Salmi, a Moroccan education economist, is a global tertiary education expert. Until January 2012, he was the World Bank’s tertiary education coordinator. He wrote the first World Bank policy paper on higher education in 1994 and was the principal author of the Bank’s 2002 Tertiary Education Strategy entitled “Constructing Knowledge Societies: New Challenges for Tertiary Education”. In the past twenty years, Mr. Salmi has provided policy advice on tertiary education reform and strategic planning to governments and university leaders in more than 70 countries all over the world.
Mr. Salmi is a member of the international advisory board of several universities in Europe, Asia and Latin America. He is also a member of the International Advisory Network of the UK Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, and the Editorial Committee of OECD’s Journal of Higher Education Management and Policy. Between 2008 and 2011, he represented the World Bank on the Governing Board of the International Institute for Educational Planning.
Mr. Salmi’s 2009 book addresses the “Challenge of Establishing World-Class Universities”. His latest book, co-edited with Professor Phil Altbach, entitled “The Road to Academic Excellence: the Making of World-Class Research Universities”, was published in September 2011.
Peter Scott is Professor of Higher Education Studies at the Institute of Education University of London and also Chair of the Council of the University of Gloucestershire. From 1998 to 2010 he was Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University in London. Before that he was Pro-Vice-Chancellor responsible for external affairs at the University of Leeds. He was also Editor of ‘The Times Higher Education Supplement’ (now ‘The Times Higher Education’) for 16 years.
Prof Scott was President of ACA from 2002 until 2008. He was general rapporteur of the Bologna Researchers’ Conference held in October 2011 as a preliminary to the recent bi-annual Bologna ministerial meeting. He was also a member of an expert group established by the European University Association to advise the Romanian Minister of Education on the restructuring of Romanian universities. He has written extensively about the internationalisation of higher education.
Ulrich Teichler has been a Professor at the International Centre for Higher Education Research (INCHER-Kassel), University of Kassel (Germany), since 1978. He also served as director of the Centre for 16 years.
Born in 1942, Prof Teichler has a diploma and doctoral degree in sociology. He was a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Educational Research in Berlin, and has done extensive research in Japan, The Netherlands, and the US. Prof Teichler has been a part-time or visiting professor at Northwestern University, the College of Europe, Hiroshima University, and the Open University (UK). His research focuses on higher education and the world of work, comparison of higher education systems, and international mobility. He has authored or co-authored more than 1,000 publications.
Prof Teichler is a member of the International Academy of Education and the Academia Europea. He has been the president or chair of many international research networks, including the Consortium of Higher Education Researchers and EAIR (where he is also a distinguished member). Prof Teichler has received the Comenius Prize of UNESCO and Dr. h.c. of the University of Turku.
Matti Tujula is a 28 year old educational officer working for the National Union of University Students in Finland. His responsibilities include the financing and governing of universities and international higher education policy. Matti has studied history at the University of Helsinki and has been an active student representative in the university's administration.
Bernd Wächter is the Director of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA), a consortium of European and global agencies which support international cooperation in higher education. ACA is a think-tank which promotes innovation and internationalisation in higher education. Bernd was born in Giessen (Germany) and studied at the universities of Hull (UK), Giessen and Marburg (Germany). He lives in Brussels (Belgium) and is married to Thora Magnusdottir, a delightful lady from Iceland.
Bernd’s career has been focused on international higher education. In his first post, at the University of Kassel (Germany), he devised international degree programmes in cooperation with universities abroad. He later joined the British Council, before becoming the Director of the international office of the Fachhochschule Darmstadt. Moving on to Germany’s internationalisation agency DAAD, he became the head of this organisation’s European section. He subsequently became Director of Higher Education in the Brussels Socrates Office, with overall responsibility for the Erasmus Programme in Europe. In 1998, he took up his present post as the director of ACA. Bernd has published widely on international matters in higher education, and he is a frequent speaker at European and international education conferences. He is the editor of the ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Higher Education. He also works, as an expert advisor, for many international organisations.
Thomas Wilhelmsson is the Rector of the University of Helsinki. Before his appointment as Rector, Wilhelmsson held the post of Vice-Rector in charge of international and bilingual affairs for ten years.
Wilhelmsson has held the post of Professor of Civil and Commercial Law in the Faculty of Law since 1981. Earlier, he was Director of Legislative Affairs at the Ministry of Justice from 1979 to 1981. Wilhelmsson has also held the post of Deputy Director of the Centre of Excellence “Foundations of European Law and Polity” and has led the doctoral programme of the Faculty of Law.
In his research, Wilhelmsson has focused on contract law, tort law and EU law. He has chaired various Finnish committees preparing new legislation and has worked as a member of committees preparing EU legislation.
Wilhelmsson graduated from the University of Helsinki as a Master of Laws in 1971, a Licentiate of Laws in 1973 and a Doctor of Laws in 1980.
Wilhelmsson has introduced the paradigm of social civil law, which stresses the close relationship between law and morality, in Finnish legal discourse and has been one of the key figures associated with this paradigm in European legal discourse. Wilhelmsson devotes his free time to his family, jogging and his summer cabin.
Critical Studies in Private Law discusses the prerequisites and possibilities for an alternative or critical legal dogmatics. The starting point of the analysis is the recognition of contradictions within the legal order. In this respect the theory may use the experience of both American Critical Legal Studies and the German attempts to formulate a legal theory for the social state. The key for understanding how the contradictory concrete legal material may produce varying results on the level of legal decisions is the systematization, the general principles of the law.
The analysis does not, however, stop at this theoretical level. The methodology is tested through a discussion of some features of modern private law. Some key elements of contract law, including consumer law, of the Welfare State are singled out. The work focuses on the person-orientation of modern law as a challenge to the traditional abstract legal form. The aim is to explore the limits for a contract law radically oriented towards the personal social and economic needs of the parties. This endeavour involves the creation of new legal concepts such as social force majeure.