The idea of a new forum first took emerged in the follow-up to the meetings held at the Université de Montréal in 2004 to mark the 125th anniversary of its foundation. Twelve rectors met to discuss new university management practices in the context of globalization. At the request of the rectors, a second meeting was held at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in 2005. The discussions at this meeting focused on the responsibilities of universities with regard to values, change and governance. A third smaller and more technical meeting to discuss the creation of the new International Forum of Public Universities was held in Paris on March 16, 2006.
While the meeting in Montréal in 2004 was an opportunity for the rectors to clearly identify the challenges facing public universities in the context of globalization, the Brussels seminar in 2005 served to define the responsibilities of public universities with respect to values, change and governance.
In their conclusions, the participants at the Brussels meeting prioritized three measures: