Emerging Economies Summit to promote alternative pathways to university excellence

In partnership with the United Arab Emirates University, THE’s three-day hybrid summit will set a progressive agenda for universities in emerging economies via digital transformation and transnational research

October 13, 2021
Dubai Marina
Source: iStock

The Times Higher Education World Summit Series is set to make an in-person comeback in Dubai on 18-20 October for the Emerging Economies Summit, co-hosted with the United Arab Emirates University.

While university excellence has been measured chiefly through a narrow set of metrics, thus clustering many of the world’s star academics in the Global North, the summit will explore how less advantaged institutions can revolutionise the sector by creating their own definition of excellence through strategic impact and mission-led approaches relative to each region. There will also be an added virtual element to accommodate remote speakers and audience members.

Phil Baty, THE’s chief knowledge officer, said: “All of us at Times Higher Education are absolutely thrilled to be hosting our first in-person gathering for more than 20 months, and it will be wonderful to see our global community face to face again and to enjoy all the great, often serendipitous, networking benefits of ‘real life’ gatherings. We are really grateful to UEAU for pulling out all the stops to work with us to allow for a safe and convenient in-person event.

“But, of course, this event is fully inclusive – we’ll be running it virtually, too, to ensure that those who can’t travel can still benefit from an outstanding programme of speakers and discussions, and multiple exclusive data-driven insight sessions.”

“The Emerging Economies Summit brings together leading universities from countries experiencing significant economic growth,” said Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, cultural adviser to the president of the UAE and chancellor of UAEU. “The diversity of these institutions manifests the different contributions they make to very varied national contexts. The summit allows us to examine those relationships and their significance. The United Arab Emirates is home to institutions of higher education with roots in all corners of the globe, and this reflects a successful national development strategy that has prioritised global integration, multilateral international networks, and openness and tolerance.”

The opening session at the summit, a bespoke THE Impact round-table event hosted by Elizabeth Shepherd, THE’s managing director of consultancy services, will be focused on strategies for the Middle East. The following day will include a range of panel discussions and workshops investigating the effects of digitisation.

Mr Nusseibeh continued: “UAEU prioritises the fourth industrial revolution and its applications to ensure that innovations in advanced and digital technologies contribute to the sustainable development of our economy, society and environment. As the ‘University of the Future’, we prepare young people to step up as leaders of this development and to continue the integration of the UAE within the global community.”

Lilian Ferrer Lagunas, vice-president of international affairs at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, and Timirkhan Alishev, vice-rector of international cooperation at Kazan Federal University, will debate the challenges associated with digital and physical borders, and whether remote partnerships can be sustained long term. Chandrika Wijeyaratne, vice-chancellor of the University of Colombo, will join Zaher Srour, director of partnerships in the Middle East at Coursera, to discuss setting reasonable expectations for recent graduates entering the job market.

Tim Sowula, THE’s head of content and engagement, will hold interactive session for delegates to offer their thoughts regarding international brain drain, and whether the digital tools at our disposal are conducive to a better rotation of the world’s talent to apply their skills to the communities that need them most. Ms Shepherd will talk to Roberta Malee Bassett, global lead for tertiary education at the World Bank, sharing best practice for university resilience in a post-Covid era.

In the final panel of the day, Ir Nizam, director general of higher education in the Ministry of Education and Culture in Indonesia, will join Haifa Jamal Al-Lail, president of Effat University, to discuss the potential for a ubiquitous model of flexible learning to widen access to higher education, followed by a keynote from Ben Nelson, founder and chief executive of the Minerva Project. The first day will conclude with the live reveal of the Emerging Economies Rankings 2022, complemented by a masterclass the next morning on the methodology behind this year’s entries.

The final day of the summit will focus on social impact. Mr Sowula will interview Getachew Engida, distinguished professor and co-president of the China-African Leadership Development Institute at Tsinghua University, on realising a shared vision for an inclusive and sustainable university model. Tércio Ambrizzi, superintendent of environmental management and a professor in the department of atmospheric sciences at the University of São Paulo, will speak on a panel exploring how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals can become a core tenet of the sector’s strategy to advance responsibly. Fulufhelo Nelwamondo, chief executive of the National Research Foundation in South Africa, will offer insights on how emerging economies can attract funding in a period of global economic uncertainty, and the following panel, including Jamal Al Kaabi, undersecretary of the Department of Health for Abu Dhabi, will explore alternative pathways for funding through research capacity.

The final session, featuring one of Brazil’s most notable physicists, Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, professor emeritus at the University of Campinas and senior vice-president of research networks at Elsevier, will delve into utilising bibliometric tools to help institutions mobilise their data and illuminate their impact, and thus facilitate impactful reforms.

“It is significant that the summit addresses questions vital to securing the vitality of universities and their relevance to national and international well-being. Sessions address student access to higher education, and the future-readiness of pedagogy and curricula. They examine diversification of funding sources, particularly for research. And crucially, they draw into focus the contribution of emerging economies, and their universities, to globally advance towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” concluded Mr Nusseibeh.

Click here to register for the Times Higher Education Emerging Economies Summit 2021.

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