Thirty presidents, chancellors and rectors from some of the world’s most prestigious universities will gather at New York University February 24-25 for a two-day conference, during which they will examine how the many political, economic and social changes taking place in the world are changing the nature of universities and how people view them.

In an extraordinary round-table discussion to be held with the American and international press, the university leaders will address issues that are of public concern in major urban areas around the world, including:

  • What has been the impact on higher education of the new immigrations from Asia and Latin America, and of the major population movements caused by recent wars and famines and by the breakup of the former Soviet Block?
  • Should a university education be for the many or the few, and should universities attend to education for education’s sake or provide citizenship and work force training?
  • What role do and should universities play in economic development?
  • Should universities be held to the same general economic norms as corporations?

The round-table discussion will be held from 12:30 to 2 p.m., Friday, February 24, 1995 in the Snow Dining Room of NYU’s Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South (at LaGuardia Place).

The question of a university’s role and obligation to its community has never been more urgent than it is today, especially for those universities in the world’s great cities that are at the epicenter of cultural, social and political challenges.

On November 22, 1991, the day following the inaugural of New York University President L. Jay Oliva, more than twenty leaders of the most renowned urban universities in the world met at NYU in an extraordinary symposium. These university presidents, rectors and chancellors found that all of their institutions were contending with similar tensions and challenges, and they discussed a range of common issues, including:

  • their responsibility to assist primary- and secondary-education systems, historically the source of each university’s student body;
  • the importance of addressing the many social ills that plague their urban environments; and
  • the need to provide additional medical services to their communities.

A second international conference was held at NYU on April 19 and 20, 1993, during which the university leaders considered:

  • the issues faced by public education at the primary and secondary levels around the world;
  • the role of schooling in the changing global economy;
  • the impact of technology on education;
  • the question of science and mathematics education; and
  • the status of the teaching profession.

To plan for the February 24-25, 1995 conference at NYU, a smaller group of presidents and rectors convened in January, 1994, at Villa La Pietra, NYU’s magnificent facility in Florence.

The conference of world university leaders has grown into a major initiative uniting great universities around the world, which, though separated by thousands of miles, are bound together by a common vision and purpose: the redefining of the role of a modern university in the life of a modern city.

Press Contact

John Beckman
John Beckman
(212) 998-6848