Under the high patronage of the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, the first annual U7+ Alliance Summit took place at Sciences Po on July 9 & 10, 2019, with 47 university leaders from 18 countries. The purpose of the summit was to formalise and vote on a series of founding principles for the U7+ Alliance, and for universities to commit to associated concrete actions to tackle global issues, within their own communities, in the context of the upcoming G7 Summit in Biarritz in August 2019.
Weigh in on the Multilateral Agenda
The U7+ Alliance is an international alliance of university leaders, from G7 countries and beyond, who are committed to academic freedom and scholarly values and convinced of the key role of universities as global actors, to engage in discussions leading to concrete action to address pressing global challenges. It is the very first alliance of university leaders aimed at structuring and advancing their role as global actors across the multilateral agenda.
French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique Vidal, opened the inaugural summit with a powerful message: "The U7+ summit that is about to open will be a unique space for debate on the global roles of universities beyond academia." Frédéric Mion, President of Sciences Po, addressed the conference room stating, "This meeting is not yet another academic symposium, nor is it a place for us to advocate for increased support. This summit is a circle for group reflection and action on the future and development of higher education in the world, and our role as global players."
At the July 9 & 10 Summit, the U7+ Alliance members voted and adopted 6 principles to address 5 major challenges of the multilateral agenda:
- Universities as key actors in a global world
- Climate and energy transition
- Inequality and polarized societies
- Technological transformation
- Community engagement and impact
Six Principles Voted; 247 Individual Commitments to Action Made
Associated with the 6 adopted principles, 247 individual commitments to action were made by U7+ Alliance universities.
- Principle 1. We recognize that the U7+ embodies our common will to identify and address the global challenges our contemporary societies face in order to accelerate the development of solutions. We commit to pursuing joint action through the U7+, including meeting each year in the context of the G7 process, so that our actions can weigh in the discussions and contribute to making positive change a reality.
- Principle 2. We recognize that our universities have a distinctive responsibility to train and nurture responsible and active citizens who will contribute to society, from the local to the global level.
- Principle 3. We recognize that our universities have a major role to play in addressing the environmental issues and challenges to sustainability such as climate change, biodiversity and energy transition. This should include leading by example on our own campuses.
- Principle 4. We recognize that universities have a distinctive and major responsibility in widening access to education and promoting inclusion and opportunity. We will also foster respectful and evidence-based public debate, in order to combat polarization in our society.
- Principle 5. To engage with stakeholders and solve complex issues of global relevance we recognize that universities must promote interdisciplinary research and learning, in particular bridging in our research and teaching between social sciences, humanities, the life sciences and STEM disciplines.
- Principle 6. We recognize that the U7+ has the power to serve as a lab to consolidate best practices that can be shared both within our network and more broadly with universities and similar institutions worldwide for inspiration.