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History of UEG

The beginning of 1980s was agitated in La Safor. The end of the dictatorship meant the beginning of the democratic process. This is the moment of recovering rights and freedoms. And also, it was the moment to recover the culture. At this period young people went back to Valencia, after having studied at the University, to continue their social and working life with a complete different vision of the one that their fathers had. They want to escape from the topics of a society that had already awakened from Francoism. This was the moment of implementing all the ideas and projects that had been conceived far from the decision-making centres and to create a cultural movement that would be essential to develop the city. Barely two years later, in 1982, the City Council of Gandia had set in motion the Department of Culture, the Cine Pot and the Universitat Popular. Additionally, Alfons el Vell was remodelled and the Awards Ausiàs March were normalised.

In this context, the Summer University of Gandia was born in 1984. It was created by the City Council of Gandia. The initial project intended to support a cultural market for the Summer. The first edition was a pilot experiment in which the Summer University of Gandia had to stand out as a unique project. It had to be a space for debate and reflection, but also a place for expressing different cultural manifestations. This was the moment of proving that culture was not only in the classrooms and books and that culture and entertainment were not opposed, but actually needed each other.

The success of the first edition enlarged the project. The following year, the young councillor of culture Pepa Frau knocked on the door of the Universitat de València. Then Principal Ramón Lapiedra, after having a few doubts, decided to make the institution involved in the project. Then, in its third edition, the tandem City Council-Universitat was born. Time passed, and with the full support of the Universitat, the activity had improved from being an experience that took place in the last few days of the month to its current shape. It was no longer a local issue, as many described it, but it became a Summer University opened to the world. Since then, there was only scope for improving. In the 4th edition, a motto for the Summer University was first discussed: since then all the editions have been organised regarding an important subject that gives meaning to all the activities. In this way, the Summer University has gained critical capacity and social incidence. During these 31 years we have spoken about the future: the beginning of a new millennium, the territory, the Mediterranean, the identity and the fight for the control of Europe. The meetings have always counted on the participation of important lecturers, intellectually and morally speaking. Since then, there have been more than 100 prestigious professors of all the field of knowledge.

In addition, UEG highlights the open and cultural nature that Gandia has always had. Since the beginning, it was also necessary that the proposal was adapted to the city, linked to the territory where it was going to be developed. This is the reason why we opted for open activities. Apart from the students’ participation, it was necessary to make the inhabitants involved in the project. UEG organises debates and conferences in the afternoons. At night, they organise different types of performances. With UEG, the University gets in contact with the society and the city notices the impact of its presence during the summer.

After four decades of existence, there is a long story to tell. Many people have been involved and thousands of students have studied in the rooms of UEG, which has never forgotten its original premises: being close to the society and to the last news.