THE events in 2021 to focus on recovery from year of disruption

Nine senior leadership summits, plus range of regional and thematic forums and seminars, planned

December 21, 2020
Source: iStock

Times Higher Education has announced its global programme of events for 2021 in response to the most disruptive year for the sector in living memory.

THE’s 2021 itinerary will feature nine senior leadership summits, and a range of regional and thematic forums and seminars, encompassing both online and in-person meetings, all with remote access, across five continents. The programme includes the dynamic THE Live event, to be held in the US for the first time, as well as in Australia and New Zealand and, with the prestigious THE Awards, in Asia and the UK.

Tim Sowula, THE’s head of content and engagement for the World Summit Series, said: “2020 will be defined by the enormous loss of life and catastrophic economic impact caused by Covid-19 around the world. But it may also be remembered as a pivotal year for global higher education. From the unprecedented development and subsequent delivery of multiple vaccines, to the cultivation of a more inclusive dialogue surrounding digitisation within teaching and learning, and acceleration of debates about universities’ responsibilities in their civic engagement, researchers across higher education and industry have demonstrated remarkable tenacity in circumventing the challenges posed by the pandemic.

“Next year, our conversations will be focused on looking forward; how universities can respond to the incredible disruption of this year and act positively towards transforming their own operations, their impact, and their international networks, as well as how they may enhance their reputations and protect their funding at a period of economic downturn.”

From regionally focused forums that employ the expertise of university and industry leaders to combat local issues and enrich their communities, including the virtual India Universities Forum and Southern Africa Impact Forum, to global summits with leading policymakers at the helm, such as the virtual Innovation and Impact Summit and THE’s flagship World Academic Summit, THE’s World Summit Series will continue to champion the voices of higher education’s most ambitious drivers of impact and change. Additionally, the Leadership and Management Summit, which is to be held in Glasgow next autumn, will directly precede the United Nations’ COP26 Summit in the same city, thus enabling university leaders to share their actions in responding to the climate emergency.

The World Summit Series will be supported by exclusive THE data that provides detailed insight into key areas, such as the University Impact Rankings, the World Reputation Rankings, and the World University Rankings, which have been adopted as a geopolitical indicator, and will be published at THE’s 2021 World Academic Summit in Toronto at the end of next summer.

Mr Sowula added: “2020 demonstrated to the world the value of science and the global research community, and in 2021, we want to support universities in how they can identify and take advantage of new opportunities and become essential components of how we rebuild from the current pandemic, and mitigate and adapt to future existential challenges.”

Phil Baty, THE’s chief knowledge officer, said: “It was truly humbling to have been able to reach close to 25,000 people from 147 countries, to share more than 126 hours of expert content, featuring more than 600 speakers, across our 2020 events series. The series exhibited the extraordinary diversity of excellence across global higher education and research, the inspirational breadth of innovation, and the exceptional resilience and strength of the global university community.

“So it is a great privilege to be able to share our extensive plans for 2021, to provide some key moments in the annual calendar where this great global community can gather – both remotely and indeed face to face, when the global health situation allows us – to compare notes, exchange ideas, and most importantly to work in collaboration, to focus on not just the sector’s recovery and readjustment, but indeed the world’s recovery, from this extraordinary health, economic and social crisis.”

Find out more about our programmes and register by visiting our Events page.

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