2022 Westlake Forum on Higher Education Held at Westlake University

19, 2022

Email: zhangchi@westlake.edu.cn
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The 2022 Westlake Forum on Higher Education was held at Westlake University’s Yungu Campus on Nov. 19. Presidents and representatives from 23 universities, spanning seven countries and regions across four continents, gathered virtually and in person for a 10-hour dialogue on how universities can cultivate future leaders.

The United Nations recently announced that the world's population reached 8 billion. As humanity continues to expand, we still face many global threats, such as the pandemic, climate change, energy crisis, and food security. In a recent article, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pointed out the problems of worsening inequality and an increasingly divided humanity.

In a world of uncertainties and challenges, humankind should choose solidarity. So, as key drivers of human progress, what should universities do?

Yigong Shi, president of Westlake University, said in his opening remarks for the Westlake Forum on Higher Education that since its founding, Westlake University has always been actively building a bridge for scientific and technological exchanges between the East and the West, and developing unique programs to train future leaders. He expressed hope that students will enhance their cross-cultural communication and interdisciplinary thinking skills, master the ability to analyze and solve novel problems, and become well-rounded leaders and innovators with a commitment to society.

According to Shi, universities should be part of a community embracing a shared future for humanity, make the world a better place, and shape the next generation to respond to rapid global challenges.

The daylong forum witnessed the participation of leaders from Cornell University; George Washington University; University of Queensland; University of Hong Kong; Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Guangzhou); University of California, San Diego; University of Macau; Princeton University; Rice University; Fudan University; National University of Singapore; Peking University; New York University; University of Warwick; University of Nottingham Ningbo; Tsinghua University; Duke Kunshan University; and other universities. Discussions centered on innovative research, talent development, and international communication and cooperation, with these brilliant leaders and thinkers expressing their insights and sharing diverse ideas.

GONG Qihuang, president of Peking University, proposed that higher education should grasp the new opportunities brought by the era of digital intelligence. Nancy IP, president of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, expressed her views on how to shape the unique culture of research universities, and to promote high-level scientific research and talent development. Gary S. May, chancellor of the University of California, Davis, and Deborah Terry, president of the University of Queensland, put forward many constructive suggestions on how to strengthen international dialogue among universities in the current global environment. Andrew Hamilton, president of New York University, shared his perspectives on student leadership.

The participants agreed that universities should shoulder their unique responsibilities and missions, and that only through in-depth collaboration could we meet the current global challenges.

The conclusion of the forum saw the official release of the Joint Statement of the 2022 Westlake Forum on Higher Education: