Cooperation and cohesion among higher education institutions and organizations will foster knowledge development and sharing, said a top education official.
Pam Fredman, president of the International Association of Universities, said at the Global University Presidents’ Forum held in Hangzhou, capital of East China’s Zhejiang province on Wednesday that awareness and understanding of the fundamental principles upon which to develop quality higher education need to be increased in order for the sector to fulfill its unique role in research and education and in society at large.
Echoing Fredman, Wu Zhaohui, president of Zhejiang University, pointed out that for centuries, universities have been at the heart of social and cultural transformation, and innovation-driven universities in particular have unique roles to play in the following years.
Innovation-driven universities can also act as a central hub to combine strengths, link the global and the local, and promote cooperation among multiple stakeholders, Wu added.
Sponsored by Zhejiang University located in Hangzhou China, the forum was conducted via video link in line with COVID-19 controls. Presidents from 13 countries and regions made keynote speeches, sharing their experience on the theme of “Role of Universities in the 2030 Agenda”.
A Joint Statement of Global University Leaders on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was also issued during the online forum. It was initiated by Zhejiang University and was positively echoed by 56 universities from 30 countries and regions, including Harvard, Yale, University College London, the University of Sydney and the University of Toronto.
The joint statement is the first global initiative on sustainable development to be launched by a Chinese university, and is expected to promote the world’s sustainable development through cooperation and dialogue between global universities.