Universities as global actors

16 July 2019 | General News
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Prof Tan at a discussion during the summit

NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye represented the University and Singapore in the first U7+ Alliance Summit that took place on 9 and 10 July. The U7+ Alliance, the first international grouping of university leaders aimed at structuring and advancing the universities’ roles as global actors across the multilateral agenda, convened 47 university leaders from 18 countries at the event. Over the two days, they engaged in discussion and voted on concrete actions and commitments to address pressing global challenges.

The U7+ Summit identified and addressed five major global challenges — universities as key actors in a global world; climate and energy transition; inequality and polarised societies; technological transformation; and community engagement and impact.

Said Prof Tan, “NUS is honoured to be part of the U7+ Alliance of leading international universities and the inaugural U7+ summit in Paris. Through our combined efforts, the 47 member universities from 18 countries have the collective ability to influence action on the pressing global issues confronting our communities. We look forward to working with our higher education colleagues from around the world to take this alliance forward.”

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Prof Tan (1st row, fifth from right) with the other university leaders

Through discussions based on recommendations from international working groups led by representatives of various universities, the Alliance pledged commitment to act on six principles.

First, to commit to pursuing joint action through the U7+ Alliance, including meeting every year to weigh in on discussions and contribute to change. Second, to train and nurture responsible and active citizens to contribute to society. Third, to address environmental issues and challenges to sustainability, which include climate change, biodiversity and energy transition. Fourth, to widen access to education, promote inclusion and opportunity, and foster respectful and evidence-based public debate. Fifth, to promote interdisciplinary research and learning that would allow engagement with stakeholders and solve complex issues of global relevance. Finally, to consolidate best practices among the U7+ Alliance and share these with universities and similar institutions on a global level. Each principle is associated with tangible actions, and will be championed by several universities. In total, 247 individual commitments to action were made by the members of the alliance.

The full declaration will be presented to President of France Mr Emmanuel Macron at the end of August during the G7 Biarritz Summit.