Universities need to "reinvent" higher education to adapt to the changes of globalization

20/10/2011 - ie university, higher education,

During the last two days, Madrid became the most important on higher education forum to bring together various thematic panels, deans, presidents of universities, thought leaders, policy makers, entrepreneurs, academics, students and media experts from all over the world in order to discuss the current state of the 21stcentury university and its evolution in the coming years. 

Speakers included Lisa Anderson, president of the American University in Cairo, Salim Al Malik, CEO of International Relations, Ministry of Education of Saudi Arabia, Nigel Thrift, vice chancellor of the University of Warwick, Martha Mackenzie, president of the Students Union at the University of Oxford; Vérillaud Francis, vice president of Sciences Po, Matthew Gutmann, vice president of Brown University, and David Van Zandt, President of The New School (New York), and Santiago Iñiguez, President of IE University and Dean of IE Business School. 

The participants, who lead the most innovative educational institutions in different continents, called for greater collaboration between institutions, both in research and exchange and dissemination of knowledge. All of them agreed it is crucial to have cooperation around the world and creation of international networks and that encourage the mobility of students and teachers. The conference presented the conviction that in order to overcome the financial crisis, universities have to join forces. In a changing world, the deans do not rule out the need of mergers of universities as an important option to leverage resources and be competitive. Innovation, academic collaboration and commitment to technology are key elements the overall image of the universities. Furthermore, the deans and presidents of institutions are convinced that "we need more differentiation of our universities" to meet the expectations of a new student profile. 

The inaugural speech was given by Lisa Anderson, president of the American University in Cairo, who analyzed the role of universities in Arab revolutions. In this sense, Anderson said that we can speak of a movement that is agitated by social networks and starring young people, but it is not a revolution of students. "The movements of May 68 were led by academics, while the Arab spring and the M 15 were directed by a multitude of actors." 

One of the most prominent panels, composed of the presidents and leaders of Latin American institutions such as Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico) or the University Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), analyzed the situation of Latin American universities as a destination for higher education. They indicated that the leading nations in higher education in Latin America are Brazil, Chile and Mexico, as ranked by QS (UK). Highlighting the strategic priorities of these institutions, the most important of these is the need to increase its international reputation. 

Latin American representatives discussed the international rankings, their impact on educational policies and the market, and discussed whether they really show the difference between institutions. Priority actions for the Latin American universities who want to increase their visibility are to internationalize global studies and promote entrepreneurship among students. It was stressed that regional rankings are necessary for Latin American institutions to become more globally recognized, as happened recently in China.


About IE University
IE University is the extension of the educational model of IE for undergraduate and offers, on its campus in Segovia, a novel approach to undergraduate degrees and graduate levels. It has 1,100 students from 75 countries and a faculty composed of about 400 national and international experts. IE University provides recognized grades in English and Spanish in: Business Administration, Law, Communication, Psychology, Architecture, Biology, Art History, Tourism, Engineering Building. The university has a strong international focus and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, with a greater emphasis on the latter, like universities in the US.


1: From left to right: Nigel Thrift, Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick (UK); Thomas Estermann, Head of the Unit Governance, Autonomy and Funding, European University Association; David E. Van Zandt, President, The New School (US); Vladimir Mau, Rector, Russian Presidential Academy.


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