Heads of leading international universities share future challenges and opportunities
Vice-Chancellors and Presidents spoke about the moral purpose of universities and the many pressures facing higher education during a wide-ranging discussion in Oxford. They emphasised the long-term benefits of universities, warned against political short-termism, and referred to the effects of globalisation and social media during the frank and open debate at the Sheldonian Theatre.
Six Vice-Chancellors and Presidents from Oxford, Beijing, Singapore, Canberra, Cape Town, and Copenhagen addressed a 200-strong audience of alumni and staff from all of their universities. Held to mark the 10th anniversary of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), the event on 24 April also witnessed the admission of the University of Cape Town to IARU – a distinguished group of 11 international research-intensive universities.
Professor Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford, moderated the discussion at the IARU Presidents’ Panel. She began the debate by highlighting how universities are confronted by a ‘hostile environment’ because of ongoing financial instability caused by the 2008 crash, and the ‘febrile’ climate of ‘populism’ in many countries.